Saturday, February 28, 2015

Last day of February

This week...
Monday we had off for Parent/Teacher Conferences which we opted to hold after school and have Monday off!

Tuesday - we celebrated by attending the 4th graders' Nonfiction Writing Publishing Party and walked them down to see our Nonfiction American History display.

It is one thing for the 4th grade writing teacher or me to tell a student that we like their introduction. It is another thing for a 5th grader to share that they really liked a 4th grader's introduction. "I read introductions that were really interesting and it hooked me and made me want to read on." It felt very powerful having our 4th and 5th grade writers to spend time together on Monday. Tiime was spend reading a 4th grader's article by a 5th grader and time was spend viewing a 5th grader's Museum display by a 4th grader. Then both groups spent time reflecting together.

The 4th grade teacher's final question was: 5th graders, what advice can you give to the 4th graders with regards to revising and editing. Hands shot up. Again, tips were shared that I have taught to writers in mini-lessons but how powerful for a kid to be telling another kid. I think the tips are heard more when it comes from another kid! I am so glad we took a day to celebrate and grow together!

Wed - Thur - Fri: PARCC Prep / Writing about Reading
I made a worksheet, one side showing 3 story prompts and the other side showing 4 essay prompts. I modeled how to use the highlighter on the PARCC computer test and asked the kids to take their worksheet and read and highlight. After this independent work, they talked at their tables about what they highlighted. Then as a class, we charted TIPS on HOW TO READ A WRITING PROMPT

I do think one class to focus on this important skill was worthwhile. (Thank you Mary for suggesting we do this at our Tuesday Planning Meeting!) The kids "get" that they will be asked to either write a story or an essay. They "get" that the prompt needs to be read and then reread and that highlighting can help.

Thur / Fri: I wrote a Literacy Prompt asking for an essay to be written that identifies the theme of the story Little Red Riding Hood and Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
You read Little Red Riding Hood by Leanne Guenther and The Story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears by DLTK. Identify a theme in each story. Write an essay that explains how the theme of the story is shown through the characters in each story. Include specific details from each story to support the essay.

 I placed the kids into groups of 4 and gave them a poster to chart themes and add post-its of text evidence. On Friday, I gave them a template of an essay divided into introduction, story #1, story #2, and conclusion. I gave them 15 more minutes to work as a group. Then each group ORALLY shared their group planned essay. 

Again, I do think this was a good way to have the kids "practice" for the PARCC literary section of the test. When we ended the class, reflecting on the process. They said they felt they could now do this. They liked seeing how I used the prompt to make the intro and conclusion. They could write a theme and back it up with text evidence. I'm kind of excited about them doing this work on an assessment.

Next week - we will try the RESEARCH PROMPT online using the released PARCC assessment (Monday) and try a LITERACY PROMPT independently and not with a group (Tue/Wed). Thur and Friday I want to focus on planning and spelling. And I'll try to throw in some fun read-aloud!

Then March 10-17, they take the PARCC!! I do value this time spent on a skill they need to know how to do in their applications, job applications, book club discussions.

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