Helping too much?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education Archives' started by becky, Jan 22, 2007.

  1. becky

    becky Enthusiast

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    Jan 22, 2007

    We're doing a unit on poetry right now, and Jeannie just wrote a couplet on Friday. I 'm not sure how to encourage her to be more specific and colorful with her writiting, without coming right out and putting the ideas in her head. Any ideas?
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 22, 2007

  4. AngelHead

    AngelHead Comrade

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    Jan 22, 2007

    well, you do want to put some ideas in their head, so that they'll learn something, but it is a very fine line. As a good rule of thumb, I'd keep everything in the form of a question. Sometimes I'll make a suggestion that I think would really help their writing and they say "nah", and make their own choice.
     
  5. becky

    becky Enthusiast

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    Jan 22, 2007

    Thanks, czacza.

    Today was another frustrating example-
    Her writer's workshop lesson was a combination adjectives/pronoun lesson. I chose one of her beanies and 5 words to describe it. I wrote these on a lunch bag, then tucked the beanie inside. She had to read the descriptions and figure out which one was in the bag.

    Afterward, she had to write a sentence for each of those words, as though she was telling someone about the beanie. It was like pulling teeth! She went through her customary tantrum and then finally finished it. Here again I felt like I supplied too much help.
     
  6. becky

    becky Enthusiast

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    Jan 22, 2007

    AngelHead, I ask her things. Like today I said 'so, how can you tell someone what her name is? How can you describe her fur to them?'
    Her answer was 'it's brown.' I'm like, 'who's fur is brown?' See, that's what I feel like I shouldn't be doing- pointing out what I feel like she should be able to know on her own. My directions are always clear and even then I'll ask if she understands.I know some of this is getting over on Mom, but I also want to be sure I'm teaching her, not doing for her.
     
  7. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jan 22, 2007

    Remind us, please, how old Jeannie is.
     
  8. becky

    becky Enthusiast

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    Jan 23, 2007

    Jeannie is 6, and she's a first grader.
     
  9. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jan 23, 2007

    Hm. If "It's brown" was her verbal answer to a question you posed verbally rather than in writing, I'm not sure I can argue with her - that's an appropriate answer in terms of language pragmatics. If she's resisting, it could be that the activity is a little too close to the cutting edge of what she handle just right now for her comfort. It might make sense to back off just a little - perhaps, instead of producing adjectives, she needs to spend some time exploring others' use of adjectives. Ruth Heller's books might work well - I think Many Luscious Lollipops is the one about adjectives.
     
  10. becky

    becky Enthusiast

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    Jan 23, 2007

    TG, I was trying to get her to say ' Kelly's fur is brown.' She was to write one sentence for each of the adjectives I wrote on the lunch bag. I think I used 4 or 5. Before the activity I read Hairy, Scary, Ordinary- What is an Adjective? It's part of a series whose name I forget right now.

    With that activity yesterday she finally wrote these sentences-
    My monkey's name is Kelly. Her fur is brown. Her face is cute. She is cuddly.

    We talked about the adjectives and pronouns fine, but getting those sentences out was work. I just kept asking questions like I've said, but I was hoping she'd put out on her own there without being prompted.
     
  11. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jan 23, 2007

    Again, there's a difference between spoken language and written language, and if Jeannie's as bright as your posts suggest, she's aware of that on some level; it's quite possible that she'll be less resistant to writing full sentences than she is to speaking them. This may be one of those cases where it makes sense to back off for a bit and work on something else, or work on this less directly and come back to it later... and since you're working with her one on one, you do have that option.
     
  12. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 23, 2007

    The tantrum thing I'm afraid is part of the mom thing. I can teach 24 of anyone else's kids all day- forget if I ask my son about his homework. Even kids I tutor will be giving mom a HARD time in the kitchen about work they started before I got there and then will work for me....Sorry, it comes in the 'mom' territory. She's pushing you...(yeah, she's a smartie- testing your limits!! No one said this was going to be easy! Mom or Teacher- You're wearing both hats at once!!)
     
  13. AuburnTeach

    AuburnTeach Companion

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    Jan 24, 2007

    Beginning writers need to have writing modelled, modelled, and modelled some more. It may be in the form of reading several books that model the desired trait (i.e. descriptive words) then talking about which words describe, or it may be having the teacher model the writing.

    You could also do interactive writing with her...talk together about what you're going to write, have her write part, then you pop in some good descriptive words or suggest some she can use.

    You might also want to try a writing organizer. For instance, if she's writing about her beanie baby, she could write "Kelly" on a circle, the draw lines out from the circle and write a descriptive word at the end of each line (like a web). Then give her some ideas for starting the sentences...Kelly has brown fur, for instance. If she wants to start each sentence with "Kelly has", say the sentences for each describing word that way so she hears how repetitive it sounds, then show her how to use the pronouns...model, model, model :)

    Good luck, and have fun...she'll get there :).
     
  14. Tbelle1035

    Tbelle1035 Cohort

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    Jan 24, 2007

    You also might try building a "word wall" with adjectives and requiring her to use a certain number in her writing.
     
  15. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Jan 24, 2007

    Try getting her to use a brainstorm web graphic organizer to come up with words describing whatever thing you are wanting her to describe. Then use the graphic organizer to make sentences. Also read some books that are primarily used for the purpose of teaching adjectives. Bright, fun, colorful books about the subject you are teaching may draw her in some. That goes hand in hand with modeling. You can also model with your OWN object you are describing. Pick something that isn't going to use the same type of adjectives so that she isn't copying the ideas.
     
  16. becky

    becky Enthusiast

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    Jan 24, 2007

    Yep- I did not remember to have her do a web! I follow her lessons word for stinking word, so if they didn't say make a web, the web did not get made.

    My concern is that she's not writing enough each day. According to what I've read on threads here and going by what I hear from the few ps moms I know, she's not. I try to teach her as though I've got to put her in school tomorrow, so I've got to ask to myself whether or not she would be at least equal to them and go from there.

    Thank you all for being patient with all these questions. I come here for help because you all have standards you have to follow. I know you might have some breathing room, but you have to do what you have to do. In the hs. circles there are too many different attitudes to get a clear answer to anything. One mom is fine that her 7 yr old can't read yet, while another has her 6 yr old taking Chinese classes.
    I'm too Type A to fool with all that. Especially the Chinese....lol.

    Tomorrow we draft a shape poem...
     
  17. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Jan 25, 2007

    If it's any consolation, I am fighting the same battles with my 5th graders-sentences that begin with pronouns, incomplete thoughts, etc. My tens and elevens struggle with writing answers to questions that do not sound like "It could make them change and then they'd loose their homes."
     
  18. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    I an pulling my hair out as well.
     
  19. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 25, 2007

    Becky_ don't be constrained by couplets and rhyming and shape poems- POETRY is so much more. Young kids are natural poets- they look at the world and wonder and speak truthful poetic thoughts aobut dew fairies and ice queens and magic leaves and melting popsicles....let go a bit- it's scary, I know but poetry can be free flowing and creative, not confined to an iambic pentameter or rhyme scheme (my apologies to the Shakespearean afficianados- yes all that has its place too!!) Consider that "The ceiling is the sky for our classroom" by Zoe Ryder White IS a poem- little kids naturally say and can write such poetic thoughts. Encourage that wonder. :love:
     

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