Wednesday, August 28, 2013

We were WONDER #1044!

WONDERful news! My school co-authored a Wonder of the Day on and it was posted today!!!!!  We were wonder #1044.  

The website is brought to life by the National Council of Family Literacy.  Wonderopolis connects learning in schools to our homes/communities.  Their approach informs and encourages inquiry and discovery in the family and classroom setting.  The Wonders are aligned with CCSS, STEM, and Blooms Taxonomy.  Back in December, NCFL sent a team to our school to discuss what it was like to author a website and write informational text.  Our school brainstormed possible new wonders.  Then, a fifth grade Wonder Writing Team researched and wrote the answer to our school question...Can Coins Bring Good Fortune?  Today it appeared as the Wonder of the Day.  Please check out the link to see the connections to media, vocabulary, and inquiry.  Congratulations to our students!  Thank you to Wonderopolis!!!!

I am feeling a tshirt in the making...instead of their flamingo tshirts...mine would say "I know if coins bring good fortune!" with a big number 1044 on the back! 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Which type of writing to start the year?

Which type of writing to start the year...informational, narrative, or opinion/argumentative?  When looking through writing resources available, most start with narrative.  Narrative gives students a chance to tell their story and to learn about them personally as we begin to develop our intellectual communities in writing workshop.  But what about this twist?  What about starting the year with opinion/argumentative writing?  What message would that send our students?  It would send the message that we all have opinions (just like we all have bellybuttons), we all need to be heard, we will use text as a trigger to share personal experiences/feelings, and we have the right to change our mind as we gather new knowledge through text and conversation.

I have been sharing a series with some teachers titled, This or That ________ Debate: A Rip Roaring Game of Either/Or Questions.  This series has an animal debate book, history debate, sports debate, and
survival debate. Would you rather run fast like a cheetah or long like a wolf?  Would you rather swim with a great white shark or a jellyfish?  Would you rather help build Mount Rushmore or build the Panama Canal?

Readers are presented with a question and a two page spread that presents text features and details about each side of the debate.  The reader must decide what they would rather do.  A great opportunity to answer the question without reading (students can share personal experiences, feelings and known knowledge), read (model reading nonfiction), share (speaking and listening), find details (evidence based), and then make your final decision (drawing conclusions).  Students can write in the OREO format (opinion writing) to discuss their final side.

Hmmm...what is your opinion?