Showing posts with label Writing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Writing. Show all posts

High Five Writing: An Easy Method for Complex Sentences

Providing students with an easy method for writing complex sentences can make all the difference in their writing. Their writing will be ready for lots of High Fives.

What are High Five Sentences?

While working with some second grade teachers last year, they voiced concerns about their student's sentence structure and feared it was too simple. We made a plan: High Five Sentences. As you would suspect...high five sentences are so great, you want to give someone a high-five. During this one day lesson, we challenged students to High Five Sentences...supporting them all the way.  We broke the students into partners and we gave them a Who? and a Did What? puzzle. Acknowledging that we had the makings of a good sentence, these sentences were deemed "kindergarten sentences" by the second graders.  We needs to amp up the sentence before we could call them High Five second grade sentences. First, we added more details to the Who? part of the sentence.  We added a gold piece of puzzle and added adjectives.  These students decided the lion was BIG and MEAN.  Once we added the gold puzzle, we decided we only had a High 2 Sentence (whomp, whomp).
Providing students with an easy method for writing complex sentences can make all the difference in their writing. Their writing will be ready for lots of High Fives.

Where?

Next, we added a purple puzzle piece.  Where did your lion roar?  Where did the mom bake?  Where did the sister sing?  We encouraged phrases like "at the zoo" or "in the jungle." They were careful to match their Where? puzzle to their Who?  A dolphin needs to be in an ocean, in the sea, or in an aquarium.  We had the students close their eyes and visualize their Who? to make a great sentence. They were also asked to try their Where? piece at the beginning and at the end of the sentence. Where did it make the best sentence?  But alas,  these sentences were only High 3 Sentences.
Providing students with an easy method for writing complex sentences can make all the difference in their writing. Their writing will be ready for lots of High Fives.

When?

Next, we added a blue paper and talked about When? words.  The discussion about time words included days of the weeks, months of the year, actual times (10:00), today, yesterday, tomorrow, at night, and in the morning. We also had a discussion about where the When? could be in the sentence. Again, they were asked to move this puzzle piece around and see where they wanted this piece to go. The students were starting to get excited about their sentences.  We were getting closer:  Who? Did What? Where? When?  Clearly, a High 4 Sentence.
Providing students with an easy method for writing complex sentences can make all the difference in their writing. Their writing will be ready for lots of High Fives.

Finally, the Why?

I think this can be the most fun puzzle piece.  It is the amazing way to figure out just what they are thinking.  We could also move this puzzle piece around...decide where it makes the best sentence.  A blue car crashed...because he was going too fast.  The dolphin jumped...because he needed to get some air.  The nice grandma baked...because her grandkids loved cookies.  We asked the students in the class to close their eyes and let their classmates sentences make a great picture in their head. They were respectful of each other and commented about the sentences.  We counted the Who? Did What? Where? When? and the Why?  We had five!  We had made a HIGH FIVE sentence.  So, we did what we needed to do...we gave our partners a High Five.
Providing students with an easy method for writing complex sentences can make all the difference in their writing. Their writing will be ready for lots of High Fives.
It was a great lesson.  

**This was one lesson in a series of lessons.  Students will obviously need several days with this. They can also dissect sentences by circling, underlining, and distinguishing each of the 5 parts of the High Five Sentence.  It is also obvious that ALL sentences in their writing cannot be a High Five Sentence.  One idea was choosing 1 sentence from a piece of writing to revise it into a High Five Sentence. 

If you'd like Freebie of the High Five puzzles click the link, or click on the picture below.

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Student-Created Gingerbread Variations

Students worked in groups to create their own gingerbread character and story elements to accompany it.
I'm sure many of you have read multiple versions of The Gingerbread Man story.  I decided to take it a step further this year and have my kids work in teams to create their own gingerbread story.

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Keeping Them Motivated To Write

Looking for ways to motivate your students to write in the weeks before Winter Break?  Read to see a few ways these kindergarten children have been engaged in writing.
This year, my students are struggling with writing.  Most of them do not enjoy writing, but I think for many of them it is because they struggle with it.   With the holidays approaching and interest in school dwindling in favor of all things snow and Santa, I wanted to find ways to make writing exciting in hopes that the excitement will carry over into the new year.
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Encourage Imagination and Oral Storytelling with Spot

Encourage students and children to use their imagination to tell stories.  The Spot app provides a platform to support this.

With each new set of students that we meet each year, one thing has become increasingly evident: oral language needs to be strengthened.  This could be for a number of reasons: more screen time, meals on the go, less playtime (recess too), or other changes in a culture.  But regardless of the reasons, as teachers we have to support language development.  Without oral language skills, comprehension, writing, and math explanations are much more difficult.  So what can we do?

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I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie!

Make your own big class big books using sight words and student pictures.

Up-to-date big books can be hard to come by.  They are expensive and not a priority in many school's budget.  So how can I implement big books in a classroom when I don't have the money to do so?

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Authentic Writing at Home

Check out these 9 ideas for encouraging your children (or students) to write at home.  Fun, easy, and authentic writing formats included.  Perfect for summer!
With summer vacation here for many and just around the corner for others, we hear a lot about summer reading and making sure kids read at home while not in school.  But what about writing?  Reading and writing go hand in hand.  So, whether you are finishing up the school year or at home with your kids on summer vacation, don't forget to encourage them to write!  Here are some simple, fun, and authentic ways to incorporate writing at home this summer (and all year round)!
If you are a teacher, consider providing your students with your address or an email address so that they can write to you about their summer adventures.  As a parent, encourage your kids to write letters to relatives whom they may not see as often or friends that have moved away.  Or find them a pen pal...even if it's a kid just a street over, it would still be a blast for younger kids to write back and forth.  It's also usually possible to find an address for celebrities your child may be interested in online...can't guarantee a response though!
Post cards are so cheap to buy!  Purchase them when you go out of town and have your children write about their experiences and send them to a friend or family member.  Super easy and quick writing practice.
The year is so hectic we often run out of time for handmade cards when school is in session.  Have your kids get ahead by making birthday cards for relatives in advance.  They could even make cards for upcoming holidays or decorate thank you cards to use in the future (just leave the inside blank).
Have your kids write reviews about movies they see, books they read, restaurants they eat at, and places they visit throughout the summer.   They can rate the places using stars and then describe why they gave the rating they did.  You could even compare their ratings to those found online.
Do your kids have friends over throughout the summer?  Any family barbecues or birthday parties?  Have your children make invitations for these events complete with the date, time, place, and events.
Get some neat note pads and use them for lists.  Your children can write lists of what they need at the grocery store, things they need to get done on a particular day, books they'd like to read this summer, etc. 
Visit the dollar store and stock up on post its.  Encourage your kids to use them for reminders and messages for family members.  Maybe a message to mom to get some more popsicles at the grocery store, a note to dad wishing him a good day at work, or a reminder to clean up the play room tomorrow.
Have your kids keep a journal of their daily activities.  If you have a little girl, she'd probably love a diary with a "lock" on it and it would probably encourage her to write about her summer days.  Or bring a journal along on vacation so that your kids can write about their trip, the places they visited, and the observations they made.
Before playing a game, have your child write down the step by step directions.  Follow them and see how accurate they were.  You could do the same with recipes before making lunch or even how to get somewhere in the community.


Do you have any other ideas?  Leave a comment and share them with me!

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The Research Paper Made Simple

Even young children can write simple research papers with an easy mentor text and model for writing.
Even our youngest students can write  simple research paper by using a fun and easy mentor text. The Important Book helps students write a simple research paper after doing some quick research.

When I help students write their first research paper, I love to use The Important Book  by Margaret Wise Brown. If you haven't seen this book, you really need to check it out! It has a simple way of telling about something that makes it easy for students to learn more about something and provides a great mentor text for helping students write in an easy way.
After reading the book aloud to them, I started out by modeling what I wanted them to research. I used a Tree Map to show them the information I found about horses. This also served as the information I wanted them to search for their research. I put a star next to the "important" fact and circled the other information I wanted to include.
Even our youngest students can write simple research paper by using a fun and easy mentor text. The Important Book helps students write a simple research paper after doing some quick research.

After I created my Tree Map, they chose their animals to research and researched to create their Tree Maps.

Even our youngest students can write simple research paper by using a fun and easy mentor text. The Important Book helps students write a simple research paper after doing some quick research.
They chose their important thing with a star and the others were circled.

Then I wrote my paragraph using the information and creating a model for them to use.
Even our youngest students can write simple research paper by using a fun and easy mentor text. The Important Book helps students write a simple research paper after doing some quick research.

They used my model to write a rough draft to edit and revise. Their final copy was complete with a picture at the top.
Even our youngest students can write simple research paper by using a fun and easy mentor text. The Important Book helps students write a simple research paper after doing some quick research.

Overall, these second graders learned a lot about some simple research to get them ready for third grade. They really enjoyed working on this and took great pride in it ~ something they all need!

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Even our youngest students can write simple research paper by using a fun and easy mentor text. The Important Book helps students write a simple research paper after doing some quick research.








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Making writing stick!

Writing in Kindergarten can be such a daunting task at times.  So many kids have never been exposed to writing before.  Sometimes they don't even know how to hold a pencil!

In order to teach Kinders how to write a complete sentence, they also need to understand what a complete sentence is.  So often, students at this age speak in single words or phrases.  In my writing center, I combine these two skills and embed my sight word lessons into it at the same time!

While planning the order in which I teach sight words, I always try to make sure that we can use them to build sentences.  For example, the first sight words that I teach are "I" and "see."  This way we can use our new sight words to write a sentence, "I see ___."

Here is my list of the sight words that I use and the sentences that we create with them!


So on Monday, I introduce our new sight words.  We even practice reading a few sentences with these sight words in them.

On Wednesday, we do a shared writing. I give each student a word card to help them with building our sentences.  I have several word cards with different themes that are stuck in a folder with Velcro.  This way students can manipulate them when we get to center time.  Once each student gets a card, I have them take turns using the word in a complete sentence using our new sight words.  I write them down as they tell me.  We discuss spacing, capital letters, periods, etc, all while writing the sentences.  Once every student has a had a turn, we practice reading everything that we have written.



On Friday, each student writes their own sentence using our sight words and a word card that they have chosen.  They illustrate their picture and then we put them together into a class book.  Our book goes in our library so that our kids can read their own writing during library time!

The following week, during writing center, our students will practice building their sentences with word cards, writing them, and illustrating them!  They have gotten so good at sight words and writing with this center!







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When Whole Group Writing Transfers to Independent Writing


Believe it or not, you can teach persuasive writing in Kindergarten. This post explains how and includes a FREEBIE for you.

Isn't that every teachers dream?  

You do whole group lesson and after whole group lesson you want the students to transfer your whole group lesson to their independent journal writing.  Creating routines in kindergarten is as much about giving them tools, as it is about giving them time to practice the skill.  Our school system has adopted a new reading program and one of the writing lessons is persuasive writing.

Michelle Brinn, a fantastic kindergarten teacher, was tasked with 2 things:  Introduce your students to persuasive writing and do it in a 1/2 day kindergarten program.

We talked about how we could expose our youngest writers to persuasive writing and get it done in a 20 minute daily writing lesson.  Another obstacle in Michelle's lesson would be time.  She decided it would be a modeled writing, just to manage time.  We mapped a plan:
Believe it or not, you can teach persuasive writing in Kindergarten. This post explains how and includes a FREEBIE for you.

Monday

Decide what two items the students will compare.  The topic needs to be something that is easily understood...not every child will have opinions on soccer v baseball (of course, soccer is better) or whether summer or winter is the best season (of course, summer is better).  BUT they will probably have an opinion about whether dogs or cats are the better pet.

Tuesday

Talk about Option 1:  dogs.  What are 3 reasons dogs are great.  The students were eager to tell why their liked dogs, but we stuck with 3 ideas.  She asked them to keep all their other ideas for later in the post.

Believe it or not, you can teach persuasive writing in Kindergarten. This post explains how and includes a FREEBIE for you.

Wednesday

Talk about Option 2:  cats.  What are 3 reasons cats are better.  Once again, students were eager to share their ideas.  Students liked how cats were quiet.  

Thursday

The vote!  Students were asked to vote for their favorite pet.  They chose dogs (of course, they did).  Michelle asked for more reasons why dogs were the best choice.  Their ideas were fantastic.  

Believe it or not, you can teach persuasive writing in Kindergarten. This post explains how and includes a FREEBIE for you.

Friday

The wrap up!  Students were finally asked to write a closing sentence.  Michelle asked for MORE reasons dogs were chosen and the students came through with great ideas.

It was a success.

As a whole group writing lesson for the week, it was definitely a success.  The students were excited about pleading their case for why dogs were better than cats OR why cats were better than dogs.  BUT the really exciting part was getting ready to happen...

Independent Journal Time

With all the chatter and opinions about cats and dogs going on in her classroom, Michelle asked the students to write about it in their journals.  We were THRILLED with the results and I think you will be, too.
Believe it or not, you can teach persuasive writing in Kindergarten. This post explains how and includes a FREEBIE for you.

I have said it before, and I'll say it again:  Too often we give students excuses, instead of tools.  Michelle did a fantastic job of giving her students a tool for persuasive writing.  She gave them an easy plan...and time to practice. 

If you'd like a FREEBIE Persuasive Writing Card, click the image below.



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