4 5 The Learning Lab: February 2013

Monday, February 25, 2013

Resources to Teach Descriptive Language in Writing

I LOVE the book I Can Write Like That by Susan Ehmann and Kellyann Gayer.  

I used this text to create a fun lesson plan around the Red Clover Books we read.  

See my full lesson plan on this prezi:

In a nut shell:  I read some amazing examples of descriptive language, we discussed them, and then students found examples they felt were descriptively lovely from classroom texts.  The next day, we reviewed and students decided to edit their own writing; so, they highlighted text they wanted to spice up, then worked on adding descriptive elements.  Such a simple and fun lesson = lovely writing! :)





Here are some other GREAT resources for teaching writing!  Click on the pictures to find the books.

Here are some Descriptive Language Posters I made for my class.  I introduce one at a time.  I LOVE that I see my kiddos going up to the posters ALL THE TIME during writing!  It feels good to know I made something useful and that they are using these skills to intentionally make their writing descriptive!

When in doubt... Dry Erase Boards!

It never ceases to amaze me... kids LOVE using dry erase boards and markers!  Just when math class was beginning to look like a bust, we pulled out the dry erase boards.  My kids really perked up and had fun showing various division strategies!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Using Text Features to Read Informational Texts!

Captured on Film!  
After teaching my class about the importance of text features, I caught two kiddos using the resource on their own accord! 

In guided reading and whole-class reading, we have repeatedly discussed the importance of text features.  They enable us to understand the subject, locate information, and even gain new understandings!  These include: headings, table of contents, diagrams, captions, indexes, and the list goes on!!!

 Here is an example of Print Text Features:

Constructed Response--Writing about Reading (Freebie)

Fourth Grade students have been writing a constructed response nearly each week, during the second trimester.  They read a short article, consider the prompting question, plan their ideas using evidence from the text, and draft an one-paragraph response.  

To begin this form of writing, I modeled the whole process (reading the text, highlighting or underlining evidence to support my answer, planning, and then writing my response.)

It is important for students to understand what it means to "construct" an essay or response.  So, we spent a great deal of time talking about the art of building your ideas, while using evidence directly from the text.  Students and I conference each week, and we score the pieces together! 

Click on the Rubric image to get one for FREE!

Students have read science articles, texts about the writing process, and are now moving onto persuasive articles!

Native American Study--Using Semantic Maps

Fourth Grade students began their study of the Abenaki (Woodland/Algonquin Native Americans.)  To begin this study, each study filled out their own Semantic Map.  Students did a *think*pair*share--they did their own thinking, paired with a partner to added new ideas, and shared out as a large group.  I made a larger Semantic Map, which we kept up on the wall for the duration of the study.  

After this, students began reading about the Abenaki, highlighting interesting facts, and recording facts. They had several jobs to do with these texts.  They needed to collect facts, which they used to create posters or Keynote presentations.  They also chose one area of study.  Each student worked on some sort of a performance task to demonstrate their findings.  We had hand-made transportation equipment, 3-D topographic maps, large-scale drawn maps, clothing made for dolls, model wigwams, and the list goes on!  


This was such a great unit!

As an additional reading piece, students listened to and read many Abenaki and Pourquoi folktales.  Each student then wrote their own Pourquoi folktale.  

Click on the Image here to get your own semantic map worksheet--for free!