Sunday, November 23, 2014

November 23 - 3 days until Thanksgiving Break!!

My goal for writing this blog is to post EVERY Saturday about the week I just finished teaching. Well, last Friday, I stayed at school until 8pm to completely add all the online report card grades into the computer system. Then, in my haste to finally leave school after being there for more than 12 hours, I forgot to pack my no post last week.

However, if I hadn't forgotten, I would have posted these pictures:

Using the Opinion Checklist in the new Pathways book by Lucy Calkins, all 78 fifth graders successfully set a WRITING GOAL to focus on as we go forward to write our next essay!!!!! As the teacher, this book gave me the language to help my students be self-reflective in order to pick a skill to work on under the 3 overarching parts of writing - structure, development and convention. SO FUN!!

I would have also commented on how wonderful my school is. Monday I was given the time to plan from 12:30-3:30pm with the coach and my co-writing teacher. First we tightened up the planning of the Opinion writing unit I had started. I brought the flash drafts the kids wrote after our debate work around Fly Away Home. All took a pile and noted what we noticed the students could do and could not do. Then we planned. DUH! I can honestly say that I know this is how I suppose to plan, using student work to drive my next steps but somehow it never worked this well before. Quickly, I knew exactly what THESE students needed me to guide them to do next as essay writers. Having three hours to do this work and plan the next unit, nonfiction writing (where again we looked at the kids' NF On-Demands), was a brilliant use of my Monday afternoon. Yes, as the teacher, I had to write sub plans so I could be away from the classroom but how great that I was given a sub and time during my school day to plan with two other very smart educators. SO FUN!!

Now I am caught up and can report on the rest of the week. Researched-based essay writing took us to researching the benefits of chocolate milk. I discovered that my school did serve chocolate milk when these 5th graders were in Kindergarten but after that, only white milk has been a choice. FOllowing the lessons in the Units of Study for teaching opinion writing, I taught notetaking while reading an article in favor of chocolate milk and another not in favor. Then the next day we viewed 2 videos and took more notes (all resources can be found by searching for 5th grade text sets on the TCRWP's website).

With our goal in mind, we planned out our essay in our notebook and then flash-typed it on Thursday and Friday. I was so excited as I walked around seeing:
  • the tab button being used because we are drafting in paragraphs
  • the introduction stating a claim and reason but no evidence
  • researched evidence being included in the 2nd-4th paragraphs
  • researched evidence in sentences that began like this: According to the article....
  • the spelling of chocolate correct from the start
  • the stamina to get an essay typed in one class period 
I'm excited to go to school on Monday and teach the revision of intro and conclusion and editing so our essay can be printed soon. SO FUN!!

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