Sunday, November 7, 2010

Writing Workshop Mini-Lessons

I had been using a lot of Patricia Polacco's personal narrative books as mini-lessons for writing workshop.  They are (mostly) beautiful, poignant, and sentimental (preview first).  I thought it was a good time for a change.  Last week we read Tom by Tomie dePaola.  It's a disgustingly funny (true?) book about Tomie's Sunday visits with Tom - his namesake Grandfather who is the butcher at his grandparents' store.  You just need to read it to see what happens.  It's a very simple quick-read picture book but it packed a lot of punch for our middle school writing class.  After reading the story we did a quick write (5-7 minutes) about someone special to us.  A few students needed me to staple pages together after just that short of a writing time!  This was a mini-lesson to generate writing.  Here is the book:

This next week I will go back to Polacco for her Thundercake book.  I was going to bake one but still don't have an oven.  I'll just hand out the recipe instead.

We've also been going through the writing process up to the teacher conference step [rough draft, reading response groups, revision and editing].  We're doing that with several stories and they can choose from those which they want to conference/publish.

What's Cookin'?

I went to a healing Mass at my Mom's church Friday evening (Anointing of the Sick) and stayed overnight. [I hesitated receiving the sacrament because I could be so much worse... but as it happened I had a flare-up Friday so it encouraged me to go and made me face the fact that I have a ways to go in healing, so... I'm glad I went]  Since I would be at her house Saturday I took some things to bake.  I baked Saturday from 8:00am - 3:00pm.  I underestimated how long it takes to bake cookies because one batch of the recipe made many, many cookies.  After that I made myself go to Sprouts because organic apples are 99 cents/pound - yes, you read that correctly!  Needless to say, I had to stay over another night to recuperate!

I baked:  4 spaghetti squash, 1 butternut squash, 1 recipe of pumpkin bars (more like a pumpkin cake), and tons of pumpkin cookies (mostly without but some with chocolate chips).  The pumpkin bars are on p.43 here and the pumpkin cookies are on p.44 here.  Next time I may make 1/2 the cookie recipe; or plan on freezing 1/2 the cookie recipe.  Right now they are all baked and I will freeze some cookies.  We ate lots of the pumpkin cookies over the weekend  - I even let them have one for breakfast today!

[I also plan on making the creamy pumpkin pie dip and the whole-wheat buttermilk rolls with rosemary in the same link pp. 14 and 17 ]

My plan was to get some pie pumpkins on the way to her house and bake those but didn't find any in the store - Grrr.  I ended up getting canned pumpkin (Ugh! We don't eat canned food as a general rule).

Next I'll need to process the 20, yes 20, pounds of apples that I got yesterday.  I think I'll mainly dehydrate them and make some apple sauce as well.  I was going to freeze some for pies, etc.; however, after my trauma of losing all of that frozen fruit for the year I think I'll just dehydrate and vacuum seal a bunch.  I was watching some videos on and was inspired.  She rehydrated apples for an apple pie.  Cool!

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