Writing Process

Discussion in 'Sixth Grade' started by sweetlatina23, Jul 18, 2010.

  1. sweetlatina23

    sweetlatina23 Cohort

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    Jul 18, 2010

    I teach in a border city and 90% of my students cross the bridge from Mexico into TX daily. They rarely practice the English language, unless they are in class. (Except we have one teacher that will translate and I'm not too happy about that.)

    Anyway, my students cannot write a complete sentence, let alone a paragraph. I am not perfect myself, I was an ELL. The last two years we do writing the first 20 min on Monday-Wednesday.

    monday-prewriting (graphic organizers)
    Tuesday-sentences
    Wednesday-paragraph
    Thursday -proofreading
    Friday-Final Draft Due

    I only require them to do a paragraph, this past year we did make it to a full essay (3 paragraphs) but not all of the students did well on this. I want to get them motivated. I check their sentences and I make corrections, then they are to create a paragraph from there. They also do peer editing, but because of the fact that so many of them do not have grammar knowledge they are afraid of checking someone elses paragraph, am I making sense?

    I only have 50min in my English/Reading class, I use the other 30 minutes to teach an English lesson. I feel like I am not doing enough for them. They are in 6th grade and some of them don't know the 8 parts of speech, then again some adults dont' know them. I feel like they haven't advanced much, and when they go on to 7th grade it continues. Every year the 7th grade English teacher tells me the students don't know nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc. I have gone in and talked to them and they understand what I am saying....but they feel she is teaching something different. What am I doing wrong???

    Any ideas!?!? In TX most students take the TAKS, but since we are a private school we take the IOWA and our school rates the lowest. :(HELP! I want to improve our scores. This year our test is in Sept.

    Thanks in advance!
     
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  3. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    Jul 18, 2010

    wow....I can't even imagine. I bet all of those students are illegal as well.....Texas should do what AZ is doing with SB 1070 BUT...that's a different story.

    The best thing you can do with these students is using a LOT of realia/pictures and NOT having a translator in your room. Immerse them in English. Try focusing on sentences and don't push them to write a paragraph until Spring. That's my best advice...
     
  4. sweetlatina23

    sweetlatina23 Cohort

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    Jul 18, 2010

    Actually thats not a bad idea. Except I do have a few that come from public school and got in trouble so they are with us..I would hate to regress them. I wouldn't doubt if some are illegal and one or two of their bro/sis are allowed to cross. I am sure the AZ thing is a good idea, except as a CatholicChristian I don't believe its right either. Plus they can only approach you if you are "suspicious" ...but I doubt TX would do it...but who knows.

    Thanks...any other ideas would help?
     
  5. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Jul 18, 2010

    Well, they have to know parts of speech. Absolute basic, they have to know nouns, verbs, adjs, advs, pronouns, and conjunctions.

    They also have to know how to construct a complete sentence. I'm guessing that they generally write in a passive voice rather than an active voice. For write now, I would take that and then work on it through the year.

    Have you considered using some Spanish to help teach English? You could set up an example of a verb conjugation in Spanish, then do the same example in English, then have them complete all other examples in English.

    Mad libs are very helpful in teaching grammar - you'd let them see the entire story and have them fill in the part of speech so that the story makes sense (instead of trying for silly).

    Some teachers at my school do a snowball fight - words written on pieces of paper. Kids throw them at each other willy-nilly for 2 minutes. Each area of the room is labeled a different part of speech. When time is up, they look at the paper they have and go to the correct corner of the room. Everyone has to agree that they are in the correct area. Once everyone is, begin all over again.
     
  6. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Jul 18, 2010

    To help with writing complete sentences, write some sentences (e.g. The boy walked to the store.) on sentence strips and cut the words apart. Have enough cards so that each student gets one and colour-code to make the activity easier--all green cards go together. Have the students come up to the front of the classroom and organize themselves to make a correct sentence. On additional cards, write some descriptive words that could be added into the sentences (e.g. little, slowly, grocery)--have students decide where these words fit into the sentence.

    When having the students write paragraphs or essays, provide them with lots of well-written examples. Spend some time reading and talking about them before the students have to write their own. Break the task down into small bits--have them focus on writng one or two good sentences first, then expand. If you spend lots of time on the basics, doing more complex work will come more easily.
     
  7. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    Jul 18, 2010

    Another thing I have learned is to have the students DRAW what they are going to be writing about, then have them discuss it with a partner, then write (once you get to the point where you want to try paragraphs)

    Verb tense studies are also effective. My materials are in my classroom though but it's learning about past, future, present verb tenses.

    As someone mentioned above, grammar is KEY.

    side note: not sure what being a Catholic Christian has to do with our new law as I am a Christian myself lol but...moving on... ; )
     
  8. UVAgrl928

    UVAgrl928 Habitué

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    Jul 18, 2010

    I would focus on how to write a sentence first. For my kids that are still struggling with what a sentence is, I post a chart on their desk that says

    A sentence is:

    Who? Did What?

    For those students that are having a lot of trouble with sentence structure, that is ALL that they are allowed to write. Once they can do that, I work on capitalization and punctuation for a sentence. Once they have those skills, it is then that we start adding in details and creating paragraphs.
     
  9. mustang sally

    mustang sally Rookie

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    Jul 18, 2010

    Try to use DOL--Daily Oral Language or DLR--Daily Language Review.. DOL deals with sentences and making corrections. DLR deals with so much more--parts of speech, genre, sentences, comparative and superelative, fact/opinion just to name a few. The DOL book I used came with bi-weekly quizzes. When I used DLR, I scanned it into my computer and pulled it up on the SmartBoard. We reviewed it daily and I used the wksts as the test. I felt my kids really benefitted from this kind of practice. My CRCT results reflected well too--23 of 24(mixed ability group) passed both Reading and English.
     
  10. sweetlatina23

    sweetlatina23 Cohort

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    Jul 19, 2010

    All the replies are very helpful...they have me thinking now thank you! I really love the snowball fight, that would be good practice to make sure they undersand what I am talking about. I think I will start off with teaching them how to write a sentence, and I do have a box full of mad libs so that will als ohelp...thank you all so much.

    I really like the DOL I have seen it online and at the store, but right now money is tight and icant afford to buy it...maybe later on. Thanks!
     
  11. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jul 19, 2010

    It turns out that support in the first language can help, rather than hinder, the second language learner. See if your local library has a copy of Farrell & Farrell's Lado a lado (or can get it via Inter Library Loan); this is an outstanding parallel grammar of Spanish and English, which makes it a first-rate resource for people who need to know and think about the similarities and differences between the languages.
     
  12. walterharris

    walterharris Rookie

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    Oct 15, 2010

    What is the process for writing blogs?
    Up to now I have been adding comments for each new addition. Is this the correct way to do it? Or should I edit the orignal entry and just keep adding in the new stuff?
     
  13. Momma C

    Momma C Comrade

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    Oct 15, 2010

    As MrsC said, do it in small bits (or as I like to say "baby steps"). One thing I would recommend is reading, reading, reading. These kids may only hear english at school. Read some short stories out loud for the class (or let kids take turns). They have to hear the oral, before they can write correctly. Hopefully, I'm saying this right. Also, I had trouble with parts of speech, etc. when I was in school way back in the dark ages. It was not until 9th grade that it "clicked." The horrid sentence diagramming is what did it for me. Maybe have them diagram simple sentences and gradually add more parts (baby steps). I hated Mrs. Hollingsworth at the time, but sing her praises now. :reading:
     
  14. MichellesEdu

    MichellesEdu Rookie

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    Nov 10, 2010

    Have you thought about utilizing an audio based system? In this way, students can actually build their literacy skills by reading with the assistance of an audio based voice that will also help them with pronunciation of words. Another suggestion would be providing students with index cards based on developing vocabulary. So, have the word on one side and the definition on the back. Also, cooperative learning groups would also be beneficial. I know you said a majority of the class is ELLs, but position those that are excelling the most with those who are struggling, so that in this way, they can assist those who are falling behind.
     
  15. jenejoy

    jenejoy Companion

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    Dec 28, 2010

    Youd do not need to purchase anything seperately. You can use use student work or sentences from reading you ahve done and make mistakes that you want to work on with your students. It is a much more valuable tool if it is relevant to what they are currently doing and they can see the connection.
     

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