I’m still living in Paint/Drywall/Flooring/Kitchen Cabinet Chaos so let’s talk about something else this weekend, shall we?
This year, our school AS A WHOLE chose Writing for our academic focus. In recent years, we have focused on Close Reading and Math (specifically word problems) and now that we are just plain ole experts in Close Reading and Math, it is time to move on.
Okay, okay, not experts, necessarily.
More like . . . we are sick and tired of this focus and can we pick something new please?
Or maybe that was just me.
This past Wednesday happened to be the first Wednesday of the month which means that our early dismissal/Professional Teaching Time/Professional Collaboration Time/Whatever You Want To Call It That Sounds Good belonged to our principal. The other three Wednesdays of the month are OURS, meaning we get to meet with our teams, and our administrator can’t really tell us what to do.
I know! It’s pretty darn great, and we should be ever so grateful, but you know us. We’re teachers. We want OUR time. We don’t get a lot of time so we look forward to OUR time, and we need OUR time to vent, plan, organize, look at data ( 🤨) etc etc etc. So every first Wednesday, we’re always saying what? No! It’s her day? Well, shoot.
So anyways, this past Wednesday our whole staff got together in our library and we brought our assignments with us.
Basically, in a nutshell, each team presented the expectations, standards, and requirements surrounding Informative Writing at their grade level.
We started with Kindergarten and ended with Sixth Grade.
It was EYE OPENING.
Basically, by the time kids are in sixth grade, they need to be writing at the college level and I AM NOT JOKING.
Plus, don’t let anyone EVER move me out of primary because NO. JUST NO.
My team and I have been using our Writing Posters in a GUIDED WRITING/MENTOR WRITING sort of manner to teach what IS Informative Writing, and what does it look like, and how does it sound, and what does it need, etc.
We read this paragraph as a class. And let me just say that I am so so so happy that I created and wrote these paragraphs over the summer because now I don’t really have to think up anything on the fly, and that is good for my brain. I wrote examples (mentor writing??) of Informative, Narrative, and Opinion writing on different topics for throughout the year so that I don’t really have to think on the fly whatsoever at all during our writing time. HOORAY!
After we read the paragraph, we spent the next couple of days, discussing facts versus opinions because . . . well . . . my kids just want to tell their opinions to each other all of the time, and then they want to tell each other that their opinions are, in fact, A FACT.
For example, here’s a conversation from a little discussion earlier this week:
Kid One: Hot Cheetohs are the best!
Kid Two: No, they’re not.
Kid One: Yes, they are! They are the best!
Kid Two: Well, I don’t like them.
Kid One: How? They are the best!
Kid Two: I just don’t.
Kid One: Well, you’re wrong.
Kid One: TEACHER! TEACHER! He says I’m wrong because . . .
You get the picture, right?
After we pretty much understood fact vs. opinion (and I say pretty much because there may or may not have been a similar discussion regarding the Dodgers that I started (I have lots of Angels fans), we talked about all of “the parts” of Informative Writing: the topic sentence, the key ideas, and the conclusion.
We identified them in the paragraph on the poster (which I took down from my Focus Wall so we could see it up close).
We wrote a new one TOGETHER on the BLANK TEMPLATE in a sort of SHARED PEN type of way, and then I forgot to take a picture of it, and now here I am at home without it. So please imagine it in your mind, thank you very much.
I printed the blank template poster size (check out this QUICK TUTORIAL for Poster Printing Tips) so we had lots of room for “kid writing”.
And, if that isn’t enough . . . look what we will be doing next week:
Informative Writing ABOUT bats!
GUIDED Informative Writing, but STILL! The kids will get their own paper and everything. And I’ll let them use their own pencil. We won’t share the pen. Nope.
Exciting stuff, people!
PS My kids write every day in their “journal”. Please don’t think I’m not allowing my kids to write. We also write in the writing center. We also write responses. We write and we write and we write. It’s all good. 🙂
Now I’m off to shop for all the things that I need to replace because when we essentially “moved out” so that the painters and drywall-ers could move in, I threw away a bunch of stuff. Oops. 😉
Off topic, but I wanted to tell you that I have started working with a 13 year old autistic girl whose behaviors have resulted in her qualifying for home instruction. Her reading comprehension and math skills are around the second grade level. She does not make eye contact and does not willingly converse. She even hides under a blanket most of the time. I whipped out your advanced readers theater scripts (fall edition) that I used to use when I was an elementary reading specialist and WOW! She loves them. She easily picked up on reading her parts and waiting for me to respond. She thinks they are funny. She wants to do them over and over. She’s even starting to use some expression. I can’t thank you enough. Readers theater is one if the most powerful reading tools in my opinion. And now, the scripts are helping someone with the social skill of conversing!