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"CRAZY HAT" Writing Lesson Day
Old 07-06-2011, 07:57 PM
 
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Here's another neat idea I got from Melissa Forney. She asked each teacher to purchase a hat to make into their crazy hat. She told us to buy a sturdy hat that we can put crazy things on with a hot glue gun. Things like: jewels, sequins, mini dolls, toys, etc.

The purpose of this hat is to ultimately motivate students during writing lessons, but not just any or every writing lesson. She asks teachers to wear the crazy hat on the first day of school and let students know that you (the teacher) will only wear the hat 9 other times during the school year (or however number of times you decide but not too many). It's important to let students know that whenever the teacher wears the Crazy Hat, they need to pay extra attention to the writing lesson because it will be something really really important that they need to know.

You can even make a countdown on the board of every time you wear the hat or the days until you wear the hat next. It's up to you to tell the students in advance the days you will wear the hat or just wear it as a surprise with them already knowing why you are wearing it.

I happen to have found two different designs of crazy hats at my local Target in the dollar section. Each hat was $1.00. I thought it was a great find and purchased them. I just haven't decided which one to wear. The only downside is that they are not very sturdy so if I do decide to add something to them (like jewels or other embelishments) it will have to be lightweight so it doesn't weigh down the hat. I've attached a picture of these two hats that I found at Target.

Hope you enjoyed the idea!


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Old 07-06-2011, 08:08 PM
 
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What a neat idea! Thanks for sharing.
You could probably find a sturdy hat at goodwill or a yardsale...keep an eye out.
Could you line the inside with a piece of poster board to hold it up. Some rolled up posterboard and a hot glue gun make anything possible!
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Good ideas
Old 07-06-2011, 09:00 PM
 
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Thanks for sharing your ideas steelcitymom! I was thinking about maybe just using the hat how it is. I think it looks interesting enough. I might add some little jewels though. Can't think of other crazy things to add to it.
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Old 07-07-2011, 03:59 AM
 
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Mariely...either of the hats in their current state would surely capture the attention of your young writers.

I had a crazy hat when I taught Kindergarten that was actually just a fairly sturdy beach hat from years ago...the brim was much stiffer than hats I've seen lately. Anyway, I hot glued all sorts of oddities on the part that fit my head such as twisted pipe cleaners (corkscrew shapes), feathers, spangles, glitter...it looked like a party was going on in my head...which I capitalized on as what my brain must look like when I think. Then I cut pictures out of ideas I might want to write about, mounted them on stockboard, and edged them in glitter...I mounted them on with Velcro which gave me leverage to change the collections as needed. I cut more a free form shape rather than rectangles...I would say they were my thought bubbles. Gave the kids a visual of how their thinking could be all over the map until I could jot down my ideas...intro to graphic organizers. Worked quite well.

When I went to sixth grade, the kids asked about the thinking cap...I surprised them one day...but dazzled it with more current topics for them. I also allowed them to bring in old hats to wear during times they really needed to think and organize...some even decorated them similarly to mine. Oh...and I bought cheap caps from Oriental Trading in case someone didn't have a hat but wanted to have one to wear.
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Fringe
Old 07-07-2011, 05:35 AM
 
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I've seen the hats at Target and I think that you could easily add some fringe around the bottom of your crazy hats


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Melissa Forney
Old 07-07-2011, 06:20 AM
 
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Mariely, from previous posts and maybe your blog (about a year ago) I know that you like Melissa Forney. I bought three of her books for intermediate and then moved down to second grade. Question...Are there any primary books or materials of hers that you would recommend? I wish that she would do workshops in other states. I keep looking but she seems firmly situated in Florida.

Love the hat idea...running out to Target in a few minutes...so will check for some...thanks for the idea.
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Old 07-07-2011, 07:26 AM
 
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What an awesome idea about how you used your crazy hat! I love it and really liked how you tied it to a party going on in your brain while you were thinking and the thought bubbles. Super creative and I can see how motivated your students were. Wonderful!
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Old 07-07-2011, 07:27 AM
 
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Thanks for your idea on adding the fringe. I might just do that.
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Old 07-07-2011, 07:32 AM
 
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Thank you for your post! I absolutely love Melissa Forney and throughout the years we've become great friends. I must say that I have attended all of her conferences since 2007 and every time I attend I learn something new, creative, and innovative. It's really hard for her to travel and it takes a lot of work and preparation. I think this is why she doesn't go around the country doing her workshops.

Her books are awesome! Now that you are in 2nd grade you can check out one of her books titled Primary Pizzazz Writing. This book is packed with tons of writing ideas and writing hands-on creations you can have your little one do for writing. The book contains poems, reader's theatre plays on writing, and it comes with a CD with music to use during writing too. I have the book even though I teach 4th grade because I can still adapt a lot of the ideas in it. I would check it out if I were you and see what you think.

Best of luck to you and I'm glad you liked the crazy hat idea. I hope you find yours at Target.
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Neat idea!
Old 07-07-2011, 05:34 PM
 
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I love the hat idea. I definitely want to do that!


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Wonderful!
Old 07-07-2011, 06:52 PM
 
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I'm glad you like the idea and will find some use for it. Super exciting!
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Thanks
Old 07-07-2011, 07:43 PM
 
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for such a wonderful idea!
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Old 07-07-2011, 07:51 PM
 
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You are most welcome! I'm glad you like it.
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Thanks!!
Old 07-13-2011, 08:25 AM
 
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Just add the crazy hat to Day One writing lesson plan!..........Mine will be my wizard hat from DisneyWorld!........I really think the students will love the crazy twist of me wearing it only a set number of times. I would have never thought of that.
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Old 07-13-2011, 08:31 AM
 
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Awesome! Love the wizard hat from Disney idea. I know what you mean about the students loving the twist of only having you wear it for a set number of times only. I can't wait to try it out too. It will be exciting. Wishing you the best for the upcoming school year!
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Crazy Hat
Old 07-16-2011, 10:35 AM
 
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What a cool idea! I'm definitely going to give this a shot next year. A few years ago I was taking a reading prof. development class, and the teacher (a man!) came in wearing a "crazy" hat and read a picture book to us. He said he used the hat sometimes with his 7th graders to liven things up a bit and get their attention. It works!
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Old 07-19-2011, 06:12 AM
 
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Do you remember the book that he read to you? I love the idea. I need to get the brain waves flowing!!!!
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Which lessons?
Old 07-24-2011, 04:44 AM
 
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Mariely,

I have enjoyed reading all of the information you have shared about writing throughout these boards--I have really learned a lot from you and gotten a lot of great ideas.

I am also a Dade 4th grade teacher and was wondering if you had already planned which writing lessons were going to be your crazy hat lessons? This is something that I want to try but was just trying to plan out which lessons were the most important. I'm thinking my first one would be how to read a prompt. But what about the others? Planning? Not sure yet.

Thanks for all of your help as always!
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Old 07-24-2011, 08:42 PM
 
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Very cool idea, thanks for sharing.
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Old 07-25-2011, 04:40 AM
 
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Hello there fellow Miami-Dade 4th grade teacher! It's so great to see you around these boards and I'm glad my writing tips have helped you in some ways.

I'm glad you liked the Crazy Hat Writing Lesson idea. It was a great idea shared by Melissa Forney. I haven't really sat down to decide which lessons I would wear the hat on but off the top of my head it would be the most important things I can think (not that everything in writing is not important). Here's what I'm probably going to do:
  • Planning for Writing
  • Writing a Topic Sentence
  • Focusing on the Topic
  • Narrative Middle
  • Expository Middle
  • Elaboration
  • Writing Creativity Skills
  • Writing an Ending
  • The Easy Way to Score
These are just the few that came to my head. I might tweak some here and there. I hope this helps you out.
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Thanks!!
Old 07-26-2011, 03:34 PM
 
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That really helped! You have been a tremendous resource, wish we had someone like you in our school!
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Thanks for sharing...I'm SO jealous ;)
Old 07-29-2011, 06:56 PM
 
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Mariely,
I'm SO jealous that you got to go to a Melissa Forney workshop!!! I've taught 4th grade for the last 3 years in FL and have literally dreamed about going to one of her workshops. She came up to our area last year, but as luck would have it- I was out of town. (Thankfully, I did get to see and meet Dr. Harry Wong & Rosemary Wong last year, so I was able to mark that off of my teacher-hero- to see list. If I had known they were going to let us come up and talk to them, I probably would have taken my camera to get a picture taken with them and probably would have been "gently redirected" by security )

Thanks SO much for sharing this idea- I'm definitely going to "borrow" (okay, flat out steal) this one! I already have crazy glasses for Reading- star, heart, flamingo, owl, frog, over sized, etc. shaped sunglasses worn for our BRIGHT IDEA Reading lessons, so this will fit right into my teaching style.

Love it
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Old 07-29-2011, 08:43 PM
 
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Aw! That's was so nice of you to say. I'm so happy to have been able to help.
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Old 07-29-2011, 08:48 PM
 
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Yes...I have been really blessed to have been able to attend many of Melissa Forney's workshops. She is truly an inspiration and every time I attend one of her workshops I always learn something new. It is truly remarkable. You should check out her various conferences during the summer. She does the same 2-day conference in many cities in Florida. This year she was able to host one of the conferences in Miami. The previous years I went to Palm Beach Gardens to attend since it was the next closest city to Miami. It really has been a wonderful experience and she is such an inspiring speaker and person overall.

I hope you'll one day get to meet her in person and even take a picture with her. I'm sure it will be a wonderful experience. Take care and I wish you the best! I'm glad you liked the crazy hat idea.
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Old 08-04-2011, 09:06 PM
 
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What a great idea!

My principal shared an idea with me this year...when she taught she used sorta the same concept. She had this crazy hat in her classroom that when she wore - students could not interrupt. SHe'd wear this hat while conferring with students...so the others had to follow a "ask three before me" rule.

I tried it in Kindergarten but with a feather boa and it really worked well!

)
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