I hope you enjoyed (or are enjoying) the List activities. Since I’m learning and changing things as I go, I saw a need to modify the writing pages. Instead of Sentence 1, Sentence 2 and Sentence 3, I modified the page to say Who sentence, What sentence, Where sentence, When sentence, Why sentence. For three days, I chose a List, students picked an item on that list, and we wrote sentences using the method I’ll tell you about here. Unfortunately, all their work went home at conferences so I don’t have anything to show for that bit of writing.
Let me know if you need a copy of the redesigned writing page. It was a fabulous success and using it will really help you do Lessons 1-5 in Book 2.
Please read the whole post even if you’re not to Book 2 yet. It will help you know how to prepare your kids.
Now, I’m going to tell you to ignore some of the directions I wrote for the 2017-18 Pilot. Instead of beginning Lessons 1-5 with the conventions page (as the directions say), you are going to start with everyone opening their writing books to the creative side, which begins “My topic today is ____”.
In Lessons 1-5, you will continue to pick the list each day that students will choose an item from. For example, you might choose the list of Animals. Students may choose an animal from the list for their topic. Everyone will be writing about a different animal, but nobody can choose from a different list. The reason for this is that you will be guiding sentences 1,2, and 3. It is easier to guide everyone along similar lines if they are on similar topics.
I had some students who did not get to every list, so if, for example, the Animal list is blank, just have that kid pick any animal to write about.
It is important to keep this lesson moving along at a brisk pace. Kids who often dawdle will need to keep up. Do one section at a time – My topic, Sentence 1, Sentence 2, and Sentence 3.
The pacing might sound like this: “Everyone, now that you have your lists and your writing books ready, find your Animal list. [give about 30 seconds and comment aloud about who is finding their list quickly] Choose one animal from your list and write it on the line at the very top of your page [as you show this on the document camera]. You have about one minute to get this done.”
Don’t go on to the next part until every single student has finished the first line. I’m not at all shy about pointing out who is dawdling “We’re waiting for Alex and Cody.” I really don’t mind if all eyes are on these two. The message underneath my message is “I expect everyone to be on task today.” I’m going to make sure the peer pressure is working to my advantage.
Now, for the next three sections (Questions 1,2, and 3) the writing time will vary but stick with the rule. Nobody moves to the next question until everyone is finished with the current one. However, students may begin on their pictures in between questions.
You will decide what Question 1 will focus on. If you’re starting with a Why question, students could think about why they like this animal. Give everyone about 5-6 minutes to write their sentences. (This is approximate, I really didn’t time it) Model a whole sentence so students don’t begin with “Because…” Walk around and help kids who need it. Hopefully the dawdlers will not want All Eyes and they will not want to stop the whole class from moving on.
Do the same with sentences 2 and 3. You won’t tell them which type of sentence it will be (who what, where, when , why) until you get there. This will deter anyone from getting ahead, and it adds a bit of suspense. When it is time for the next sentence, students who have been drawing pictures will need to stop and pay attention again.
If you choose Where, give students some ideas to help them get started, for example “Where does this animal live?” or “Where have you seen this animal?” (it could be that you saw it on TV or in a book).
Use the peer pressure, All Eyes, The Whole Class is Counting on You, to finish in a timely manner. Walk around and if you have kids who have rushed and been sloppy, they can use the extra few minutes to do the sentence over. Some students will have a good head start on a picture – in pencil only, no crayons.
Now, gather the group and begin the lesson as outlined in the teacher directions. The only difference is, everyone will have a huge start on the creative side, needing only to add more words if desired and more to the picture.
These lessons are rather long and you probably won’t have time to share, but that’s OK because after Lesson 5 there is a plan for students to edit and share their favorite writing from 1-5. More on that next time.
Here are some pictures, which will probably be worth more than the 857 words I just wrote.