Our project is complete! See the final product on the Wiki page entitled OFF TO THE COSMOS. The students of 5A should be very proud of their work. This journey into the writing of non-fiction was similar to a space probe and its journey of exploration. We lifted off by studying the writing of Alexandra Siy in her book Cars on Mars. Using the book as our mentor text, we read like writers, learning all we could from the text, just as the space probe sifts for information in the universe. Through our Skype sessions with Alex, we asked questions and received feedback as we researched and wrote about our space probes. Students made important decisions as they drafted, revised, edited and used computer skills to import pictures and lay out their final piece of informational writing. Throughout this inquiry, questions from students guided our work and learning. As we think about implementing the ELA common core standards, this project required students to closely read complex literary and informational text. Through this interdisciplinary approach to literacy, students truly experienced the reading-writing connection.
Above: Book Title with student drawings.Students changed their title when they looked at the finished cover of their book. It seems they just were not quite satisfied. They wanted their product to be just right!


Table of Contents




We have finally voted on a title for our book Off to the Cosmos; A Journey of Space Probes was the winner! The details written on the white board above, have taken a great deal of time! Students have taken such ownership of this product, we must discuss all aspects of the final form in great detail. We now have acknowledgements, picture book plates, articles, glossary, and bibliography in final form. We are finalizing the cover to incorporate our title. I believe we will incorporate the student drawings in the cover and back cover of our book. We also would like to have a table of contents included. The students of 5A have certainly not stopped learning. Only 4 days of school left - they are just as engaged as if it were the first day of school!

Today we worked on our glossary. We used Alexandra's idea to find a definition of glossary words by looking in dictionaries, online dictionaries, and making our own workable definition that best helps our audience understand the terms we used in our space probe pieces. Several students alphabetized the glossary words. We have 4 pages of glossary words and are wondering if we should decrease the amount by re-reading and determine the most important words to include.

As we finalize our space probe pieces, we discussed the next steps for our space probe book. We were amazed at all the decisions before us. The above list shows the parts of the class book we will need to make decisions about as we compile our individual pieces and join them together in our space probe book. Many ideas were shared and possibilities were discussed. We look forward to our next Skype session with Alexandra. Hopefully she can answer some questions we have about all the items we thought we would like to include in our space probe book.

Students were so excited to receive comments from Alexandra. They really take these comments to heart and try to use the suggestions to make their writing more successful. From catchy sub-headings to describing a complicated probe in "kid language", students have truly lived the life of a writer as they worked through the writing process.

Students have moved from notebook draft to word processor.
Aisley writing on HEAO-2

5/2/2103 Hans writing on the International Space Station

5A Enjoying our study of Cars on Mars!

Lin Xiao and Kiara studied the unique features of a feature article. Reading the printed text and listing the features included in a feature article. Titles, sub-headings, photographs, captions, cites for the photos, correct spelling and punctuation, adjectives, topic, introduction, conclusion, and facts.

Reese and Peyton discussed a feature article.

David continued his research after following a lead from Alexandra. Devin is intent on locating more information on his probe. 5A students practice using digital and print resources to find information. (Common Core 5.WR.8)

Kade beginning his draft. A feature article and a newspaper article prove helpful for text features and images as he thinks about the topic he wants to share with an audience. 5A students use several sources to find information needed to understand a topic. (Common Core 5.WR.7)

Reese - Draft Pioneer 10
Rehondo Beach was very confident as he watched the Pioneer 10 lift into the sky. From the very beginning he knew it would be a success.

Next Stop Space
Peyton - Used catchy titles (like Alexandra uses in Cars on Mars)

Christi used a close read of the text to see how Alexandra might phrase an idea. Repeated readings of the text, help us understand how an author's point of view influences how events are described. (Common Core 5.RL.6)

" I need your help on this section." Izzy and Kiara confer. 5A writer's are conferring about their drafts, simulating the writer's group Alexandra spoke of during our Skype session. 5A writers also find the benefit of talking about their ideas during their drafting phase of writing. 5A students, with guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach. (Common Core 5.WR.5 and 5. WR.6 )






Drafts and revisions.