Saturday, May 19, 2012

Authentic writing...with a variety of purpose!

ABC's of Fourth Grade...a How-To and explanation of Poetry
Writing about Wonderopolis

ABC List to keep track of used letters.
Through many different conversations with idea formed for Writing Workshop on Fridays this school year.  Since the very first week of school, Writing Workshop on Fridays have been devoted to our "ABC's of Fourth Grade" books.  Every Friday, I lead a mini-lesson on things I have noticed in their writing from that specific week...simple things from capitalizing proper nouns, comma usage, using swooping to stretch out an unknown word, or even how to write a topic sentence.  My plan was every Friday (it was more like 3 out of 4) the students would give me their "Top Ten" of the week.  The Top Ten was a list of content area topics, special events, titles of books, words, etc...that were important to that week's learning.  At the beginning of the year the list seemed to focus on things that were new to them...our Ohio-opoly Homework, Design Squad, Wonderopolis, new books, and more.  As the year moved on, the list started to become more content driven.  The best part...each week the students could select a topic that meant a lot to their personal learning.  Then, decide how they wanted to convey the information.  Was it a How-To writing to explain an experiment we did or a game we played?  Was it a haiku about haikus?  Or was it a paragraph about our state fossil...the trilobite that we read about in social studies?  Or was it a persuasive paragraph on if McDonalds should sell toys in their Happy Meals inspired by a Time for Kids article?  Whatever they chose...they wrote.  Now that it is the end of the year...we are seeing the fruits of their labor and also have seen how their writing has changed.  One writing sample a week...focused on their learning...self-selected...authentic.

Paragraph on Lake Plain Indians
Paragraph on Author Visit
Explaining what geometry is and a persuasive writing about McDonald's Happy Meals

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