Saturday, May 2, 2015

It's May - time for EOY On-Demands

During the first week of school, I had my 5th graders do On-Demands across three school days. That is what TCRWP call it when you give students one class period to write in one class period showing all they know about a genre. One day was narrative, then essay, and finally informational.

Tuesday, I had the students write an informational on-demand.
I showed them this slide:
I placed the 5th grade information writing checklist out on tables for students to reference (from Pathways book by Lucy Calkins that we used this year).

As they wrote, I took these notes:
* When I offered my IEP students the choice of paper and pencil OR computer, all picked computer
* More reluctant writers wrote a How To...I wonder if I modeled enough for them how to more away from How To to now write All About.
* All 79 students were told on Monday they could bring in an article to reference as they wrote and 5 did.
* My most struggling writer who was new to our school and writing workshop spent 5 minutes orally practicing what he could write about. He picked Kinds of Bikes and then he spent 40 minutes writing a whole page, using headings and only one trip to the bathroom. Hurrah!! I gave him a high-five as he handed it in and told him how proud I was of his writing. (Back in September, he wrote 1 sentence).
* I noticed lots chose to write an All About a sport they know or an animal they have written about before or about the AMerican History topic they wrote about back in March.

I worry that these writers keep writing about the same nonfiction topic and aren't able to transfer their informational writing to a new topic.
 - maybe I don't model writing informational writing enough
 - maybe I don't encourage them to write about a NEW topic
    - we allow CHOICe but if they always choose the SAME topic, are they growing??
 - Maybe I need to read and write more informational writing myself. I'll admit, it is NOT my favorite. OR it is just not what I have practiced.

I WILL work on this so I can be a better teacher of informational writing!!!
My students are working on an independent writing project...I am going to do an independent project too and it WILL be an informational piece. I'll head to the library TODAY to get books to read and act as mentor text so I can write an informational piece!!

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