Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Week 27

I spent most of this week helping 4th grade with revision lessons in preparation for the STAAR writing test (our state assessment). All five classes met in the cafeteria at 8:30 on Monday morning and received the same prompt. They wrote until 9:30 and then came to the library in two different groups (one group of 2 classes and one group of 3 classes) for an hour-long revision lesson. We then repeated the process with a different prompt on Wednesday.

I sat in the cafeteria with the kids and wrote a STAAR essay on both days to use for modeling the revision lessons. Let me just say this: 26 lines is NOT much space--especially for a wordy writer like me. It was painful!

Here are some pics of my process that I shared with the students:

This is the expository prompt that we used on Monday. 
My expository essay.  
Our plan for revision
Ratiocination sheet for Expository 

The narrative prompt that we did on Wednesday.

My narrative essay 
Our plan for narrative revision 
Ratiocination sheet for narrative 

I LOVE to teach writing! I just don't like to grade all those essays, so that is one of the reasons that I left the high school classroom to become a librarian. I was excited about this opportunity to teach writing again to students. I am a writing trainer for Abydos, formerly the New Jersey Writing Project in Texas, so I have the privilege of spending my summers teaching teachers how to teach writing.  The ratiocination strategy is a skill taken from Acts of Teaching by Dr. Joyce Armstrong Carroll and Eddie Wilson, founders of Abydos.

Earrings by Judith Viorst & The House that Crack Built by 
Read to 6th Grade
Targeted Skills: Compare and contrast these 2 books for audience, author's purpose, tone, mood, and theme

These are two books that I learned about in the Abydos Institute and used in the high school classroom for a powerful lesson on persuasion. The 6th graders made a tri-fold, and we read Earrings together and analyzed it for audience, author's purpose, tone, mood, and theme in the first column. We then read The House that Crack Built (yes, this is about THAT kind of crack, not the kind in the sidewalk.) Disclaimer: I would not read this book to a grade level younger than 5th. Even though it is a children's book, I think teachers and parents should use discretion before sharing it with young kids. The 6th graders made me so proud because they took the book seriously, and we had a WONDERFUL discussion about the power of choices in our lives. We filled out the last column for this book and then used the middle column to compare/contrast the two books. POWERFUL lesson! 

Lesson Frame: 

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