Writing Sample

Discussion in 'Fifth Grade' started by mstnteacherlady, Aug 15, 2007.

  1. mstnteacherlady

    mstnteacherlady Cohort

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    Aug 15, 2007

    We are a few days into our first full week of school and things are going pretty well. Right now I have 27 students (17 boys and 10 girls) and I'm enjoying our time together. It appears that our entire group of new 5th graders is very much against writing. Their 4th grade teachers had such a hard time getting them to do anything that had to do with a writing lesson, journaling, publishing, etc. I am trying to come up with a fun way to get a writing sample from my students. I would like to get a good sample of where they are in writing so that I can see how they are applying writing skills and so I can also begin to prepare activities that will get them ready for the state assessment in Jan./Feb. I would really like to help them become better writers and become more interested in writing. Any ideas on how to get a good writing sample from my students and get them interested in learning more about writing and apply what they're learning?
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Aug 17, 2007

    Maybe they could each write you a letter introducing themselves?
     
  4. wig

    wig Devotee

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    Aug 17, 2007

    Set up a blog with whatever topic you like. A fun one is: "What I WISH I had done on my summer vacation" . Kids love writing on line. You will have to remind them that this is not IMing so they may not use the abbreviations.
     
  5. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Aug 18, 2007

    Start with describing things. See if they can describe something so well that another student could guess what it is. Tell them to use the senses to describe it. Have contests to see which group can come up for the most ways to convey "walked". I think you have to play with words and sentences for a bit with reluctant writers. I started with creating similes and metaphors. They had a lot of fun coming up with some crazy connections.
     
  6. Tinsley81

    Tinsley81 Rookie

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    Aug 28, 2007

    Change the lyrics of a song to fit a theme (I did this when I taught the revolutionary war...I modeled "Thomas Jefferson" to the tune of "Yellow Submarine"). My most reluctant learners LOVED this and a pair even brought in their electric guitars to play the riff of "Smoke on the Water" for their verson of The Boston Tea Party.

    Try using the 6 traits of writing model. It's been really effective with our low writers.

    When I teach writing, I am overly, overly dramatic with the kids. For example, I throw a temper tantrum when they use the word "Good" or "Fun" more than once in a paper.

    We also do a lot in the beginning of the year writing, talking about and analyzing REALLY bad writing. We write a horrible essay as a class. We also go through all the six traits (Ideas, organization, word choice, etc.) and fix the bad writing samples I wrote into A Plus papers. The kids get a big kick out of writing a paper completely off-topic. Then, I post the essays on the wall and use as references later in the year. One of our favorite sayings lat year was "Don't say I like pie in the middle of your paper!" (Guess you had to be there :rolleyes: )

    Writing commercials (persuasive). And then performing.

    Play lots of word choice games, thesaurus races, etc. etc.
    I also had them turn a scene of their choice from the novel we were reading into reader's theatre and perform it in groups for the class.
     
  7. Tinsley81

    Tinsley81 Rookie

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    Aug 28, 2007

    Oops, guess I didn't answer the original question!!

    For a writing sample, that's what it is. If they don't write something amazing, that's okay. It's just your baseline. We did our writing sample today. I just said "Who is your hero? Write a five paragraph essay explaining at least three reasons why". Then, I said, "This is for my eyes only. Do your best, I need to see what you know and what I need to teach you." I gave them 40 min. and if they didn't finish, that kind of let me know that those are my "writer's block" kids who might need more confidence and guidance.
    In my opinion, it's okay if it's not fun, that's what your writing lessons are for :)
     
  8. mstnteacherlady

    mstnteacherlady Cohort

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    Aug 28, 2007

    Thanks to all those who replied! We're into our third week of school, so "writing sample" time is now in the past. We're working hard on new things (and a few old things...hehe). I really appreciate all the good ideas!
     

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