Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Creating Our Own Mini Lesson and Finding Ideas to Write About

Here's what's on my mind today:
1. Sheryl and I are going to start using Beth's conferring form. I think it will be great.
2. Sheryl and I were noticing that kids want more time to share. They also needed to organize their folders and see if any of their "finished" projects could use more details. Sheryl did a mini lesson about putting "in progress" pieces in the left side and "finished" projects in the right side. We did a little role-playing. Sheryl was the teacher and I was the student. I used my writing folder and Sheryl showed me how to organize it. After modeling, we sent the kids off to organize their folders. They were done pretty quickly and had an opportunity to share their favorite piece with a friend.
3. We're getting close to the end of our first unit of study. This means students will pick their favorite piece, publish it, and share it during a special celebration ceremony. I think organizing their folder helps students begin to think of making their "favorite" selection. By sharing a piece with friends, they begin an awareness of audience and what it feels like to publish. Hopefully, this helps improve the quality of writing.
4. Beth and I had a discussion about selecting ideas to write about. We do need to teach students HOW to come up with ideas for writing (think about what happened during the last few days, read a book, talk to a friend, stare into space, etc.), but I hesitate to generate lists of ideas
for kids. It's essential that students know we expect them to come up with ideas. That's the real work of a writer. Of course, we need to help them learn HOW to do this with lots of mini lessons. I do keep a list of ideas in my folder for quick reference (and because I forget them as quickly as I think of them). I like to show kids this list. I suggest that it might be a good idea for kids to make their own lists too...but I do not tell them to write an idea about a place or a pet or a recess adventure...and I don't say...everyone make your own list today. It's a possibility and they can do it if they want to.
5. J. shared one of his pieces today. It made sense...things he does with his dad. Sheryl and I were wondering if he stapled all the pages together because it was quite a cohesive piece. We talked about how his lead was a hook...we wanted more information and it made us curious enough to turn the page and keep reading. I'm pretty sure this was unintentional...but it was there...and I was relieved that we could say something very positive and writerly!
6. Tired!
7. Next week we talk about making booklets!

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