Writing

Discussion in 'Second Grade' started by just-n-educator, Oct 22, 2007.

  1. just-n-educator

    just-n-educator Companion

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    Oct 22, 2007

    During my writing block I do independent writing or reading a story and then children making up an ending. When I was teaching K and 1 I would also do whole group writing with 2nd grade. I just can't figure out what to do when I do whole group writing with them. I want the children to be able to build upon their writing skills, but I am having the hardest time getting them on to the next level.

    I had this same class last year and they have come on a long way but for a lot of them when they write a story of what they did on the weekend they say a lot to the affect of: then I did this, then I did this and nothing has details. I know I have to teach this to them but maybe I just dont know how? Last year we did some writing workshop type of stuff, where they wrote a rough draft and then reviewed and so on... but the stories are so boring. then, then, then, or and, and, and.

    We do have reading buddies that we see every week. Are there some activities that the older ones can do with the little ones that might help?

    I just want to know how to get them to the next level and what are some of the activites you do during your writing time?
     
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  3. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Oct 23, 2007

    Try writing a story like they do with then, then, and then...on chart paper. Read the story together and ask them if they can make the story more interesting, or model how to make the story more interesting for them for first couple of times and then have them do it.
     
  4. smile10

    smile10 Rookie

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    Oct 23, 2007

    Instead of asking them to write what they did on the weekend give them a list of topics to choose from and ask them to use their imagination to come up with a fantasy story (dragons, knights, aliens, and other exciting topics). They will need to use more descriptions, not just give you a list of what happened.

    In general, teach them that a story has 3 parts - introduction, body, and conclusion, and explain how these parts contribute to a story being interesting. When you read books identify these 3 parts.

    Make them do a story map before a draft. It just looks like a sun, where the subject of the story is listed in the middle and the rays are different things they want to mention in the story. I think this is good to use for writing the body of the story, not introduction or conclusion. It should be short notes, not complete sentences. Ask them to number the rays in what order they will be listed in the story. Then work on making each note into a descriptive sentence.

    For stories that do list what happened they need to learn other ways to start a sentence. Let them help you come up with a list of other words to use instead of then. Post it on the wall as a reminder and refer to it during writing time. Read some stories that list events and let the kids identify how these stories where written without using the word then in each sentence. No sentence should start with a word and or because. That's just a rule the kids need to remember. Show them how to correct these sentences.
     
  5. just-n-educator

    just-n-educator Companion

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    Oct 23, 2007

    This sounds like it might work after we do at least 1-2 weeks of whole group writing. I am going to start this from tomorrow. I think the idea of letting them come up with something will help.

    Oh today it was raining today so I told the children to write about a rainy day. They were really creative and came up with different reasons for if the liked or did not like a rainy day and what they did on a rainy day. I enjoyed reading their stories. :2up: But when I tell them they can write about anything they want they dont come up with anything interesting. So what should I do instead??
     
  6. just-n-educator

    just-n-educator Companion

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    Oct 23, 2007

    I am definately doing this tomorrow! Writing a story like they do will definately help them see what type of words they should use and not use in their stories.:up:
     
  7. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    Oct 23, 2007

    First of all, try to get away from "write about what you did this weekend" type of stories. Those types of stories are indeed...boring! You mentioned that you did writing workshop last year, can I suggest that you go back to the "workshop" approach to teaching writing???? Seriously, the best way to get your kids to the next level is to first and foremost, MODEL the writing you want them to do. Show them, not tell them how to write like a true author. Write about personal experiences in your life, and teach them to write "small moments" out of their lives. Real stories, personal narratives!! Instead of make believe stories or journal topics. Research shows that children write best about things they know about. So as a writer, you can teach them to make lists of all the things they know about (ex. baseball, roller skating, etc.) and then write about maybe a baseball game you once played etc.
    Also, have your students use a special place to keep all the things that important to them. For example, I have my kids make "A Map Of My Heart" graphic organizer in which they write in the heart all the things that are important to them. (ex. mom, my dolls, grandma, pizza, video games). Then write about a time when mom took me out to a special birthday dinner etc.
    Also, have your kids "decorate" their writing folders/notebooks with pictures of people & things that they care about. Then they can refer back to that when they are brainstorming things to write about. Most importantly, teach kids to write about what they know & things they care about. When kids write about make believe things that they may not know alot about, they get stuck on writing 2-3 sentences. When its a story out of their lives, they can do so much more!!!! :)
     
  8. just-n-educator

    just-n-educator Companion

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    Oct 24, 2007

    Hey youngteacher 226 How did you get so smart:D! What you said really made sense Thank YOU!:hugs: I am going to start to do that. Could you please tell me the steps you take when you do your Workshop? I am not sure if I approched that properly or correctly! If you could just review with me what you do then I can get back on track and start this. If you dont mind I might ask you more questions about the writing business. Thanks again!
     
  9. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    Oct 24, 2007

    Just-n-educator, I'm no smarter than anyone else. I just research alot & I have great staff developers who help us with our reading & writing program. :D
    I'm not quite sure what you mean by "the steps" I take when I do writing workshop. Do you mean how I do the minilessons? Or do you mean how I manage writing workshop?
    In general, I first teach the kids how to write "small moments" or personal narratives. What really worked for my kids this year is I taught them that writing long, boring "bed-to-bed" stories are like writing a big ol' watermelon story. And I drew a picture of a watermelon & listed examples. Then I described to them how "small moments" are like a tiny seed out of that watermelon. That's what good writers write about! I list examples of tiny seed stories and we talk about the differences. For example, a watermelon story would be about my birthday party. "I got dressed, went to the roller skating rink...danced a little while...we had birthday cake...I got a doll.."etc. A seed story would be about when I was roller skating at my birthday party and fell. "I started roller skating really fast in my pink roller skates...I tried to do a trick on one leg...I felt my knees start to wobble...as I started to make a turn, I fell BOOM right on my bottom!"
    I know it sounds silly, but I'm trying to throw out an example for you..and its late. But anyway, I hope that helps. I know it really helped my kids and they are writing more & more now because I'm giving them the tools to do it. They don't feel helpless anymore like they can't do it, like they can't write.
    Let me know how else I can help.
     
  10. heartofateacher

    heartofateacher Companion

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    Oct 25, 2007

    I'm in total agreement with youngteacher226. In the past, I started Writer's Workshop and quit everytime because I didn't feel like it was working. But as I've been doing it this year, I'm noticing their writing is getting better. We have a ways to go, but at least for now they can get a decent introduction. It makes a difference with them seeing you write. I always write at least 10 mins with my class (starting at the overhead so I can model and provide a mini lessons or review.) I also let them vote on topics to write about. At the beginning of the year we stapled a THINGS I CAN WRITE ABOUT form in their writing folders and they refer back to it when they choose their topics to write about. Sometimes I give a topic, sometimes the get free choice, and sometimes we vote. I also have them to model other books because we know most writers do this when they write books. It's also ok to help them elaborate by asking them questions about what they already have on paper. Hope this helps as well.

    Oh yea, one thing I had to MAKE myself do is to not "bleed" on their papers and to not to say "this is good, but..." I read a wonderful Writer's Workshop book this summer and these are two things that were stressed not to do. For one, the kids are so excited about what they wrote and when we do things things, they no longer feel as good. This made alot of sense to me. I do teach grammar and mechanics, but I do during the mini lesson or during other teachable moments. During Writer's Workshop conferences I leave my pen at my desk.
     
  11. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    Oct 25, 2007

    That is some really good advice! You are soooo right! Writing conferences are the key to writing workshop. That is where you can compliment the child for doing things right. And also leave them with something to think about or work on. If your one on one time with your students is tight, then they just blossom from there!:)
     
  12. heartofateacher

    heartofateacher Companion

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    Oct 25, 2007

    :D I'm still learning but that book helped alot. Now if I could only get my Guided Reading groups under control. lol
     
  13. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    Oct 25, 2007

    I know the feeling, I got guided reading under control, I just need to get my word study in tact!!! Planning guided reading groups, word study groups and literacy centers....I am overwhelmed!:yawn:
     
  14. heartofateacher

    heartofateacher Companion

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    Oct 25, 2007

    That makes two of us! Good luck and if you come across any good tips or suggestions, please keep me in mind. :)

     
  15. just-n-educator

    just-n-educator Companion

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    Oct 26, 2007

    There are some really good ideas going around. I am also feeling a bit overwhelmed! I have not yet started my guided reading groups, hopefully by the 2nd week of November I hope. I have 27 children and I have not been able to assess them all yet. Some of them have really grown over the summer in their reading and so I dont think it would be fair of me to put them in the groups they were in last year.( I looped with my class)

    As for writing I am really going to try hard to do more practice with them. I think that will help them understand what I am looking for. Thanks again for all of your help.

    Oh I almost forgot... Heartofateacher, Could you give me the name of the book that you read in the summer which helped you with the writing workshop? Thanks again :)!
     
  16. heartofateacher

    heartofateacher Companion

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    Oct 26, 2007

    I left the book at work. I will get the title when I go back Monday and then post. It's a simple read. I finished it in 2 days. So you can be a pro at writer's workshop in a weekend! :)
     
  17. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    Oct 26, 2007

    Its not by Debbie Miller or Lucy Calkins is it??
     
  18. just-n-educator

    just-n-educator Companion

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    Oct 26, 2007

    Its good to know it is a easy read and not to long, because I didn't wait to wait till the summer to read it. I will wait for your post, get the book and become a pro :D!
     
  19. firstgradeteach

    firstgradeteach Comrade

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    Oct 27, 2007

    Youngteacher, You must use Lucy Calkins! I sing her praises to everyone! The poetry section uses the watermelon and seed analogy!
     

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