Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Favorite Thanksgiving Food Writing!

We use the Step Up To Writing program.  {I was actually trained awhile ago to train teacher to use the program!  I actually had to train our K-1 staff----ugh!  I got over that fear of public speaking pretty fast.}  I LOVE how it gets our kiddos organizing their writing with their color coding system.  {Uses the Stop Light colors}  Anyway, I thought I would share a fun writing activity that we do every year that gets even the reluctant writers writing!

Step 1-we brainstorm our ideas.  Let's face it.  It's hard to write about something when told--right away.  This brainstorming process is essential for kids to get their ideas out and feel comfortable.  In the middle is our "Topic" which I usually write in green, but sometimes I forget!  The kids just use pencils after a few times through.

Step 2-we choose 2-3 ideas and circle them in yellow.  These are going to be our Key/Star ideas.

Step 3-We create a T-chart.  At the top is our Topic.  It's green.  We are going to GO tell our readers what we are writing about!  Our topic is about Favorite Thanksgiving Foods!  {The t-chart has fragments only} 

Then we have our yellow stars---this is where we SLOW DOWN and tell a little more about our topic.  We always have a transition word with it, just because!  {It will help them down the road-but for now, it's a just because--when we first learn how to use it}

Now, we could just have 2 YELLOWS and be done, but sometimes we want to STOP and tell the read more about our key ideas.  This topic needed a little more explaining.  This was the first time we added more detail and used the REDS!  This topic is one of the easiest ways to get them to add more detail.  I mean, who doesn't want to tell you that they love to have lots and lots of whipped cream on their pumpkin pie???

Last on our T-chart is GREEN.  Why green???  Well, we're going to GO back and remind the reader what they just read about!  It's our conclusion!

Step 4-We take our T-chart and we transfer it to a draft.  We turn our fragments into sentences.  We add descriptive words and make our writing sound smart!  We fold our papers into 4ths.  We put a color coded dot on the side so they know which color they are looking at. 

Steps 5-???  We edit and write final copies.  Of course, first graders can't really edit well themselves--so often times I meet with them to edit for them (if we are going through the writing process to a final copy).  Many times I'll just rewrite what they had below-so they don't have to keep figuring out if they need to look at their writing or mine...  Some I need to do that all year!  

The best part of this process is that we are ALWAYS at the same step.  We have system in our classroom where Mondays (or the first day) we brainstorm and web.  Then we have a day for our T-chart organization (sometimes we'll combine those 2 days).  Then we'll have our drafting day or 2.  Day 4/5 will be writing our final copies, if we're going all the way.  Sometimes-the draft is perfect enough! :)  In the beginning stages of this, sometimes we just do web-draft all on the same day.

Here's some of the kid examples of our drafts.  We're not to the final copy part yet!

 {The draft from that T-chart--i didn't take a pic of the back side}

Whew-that was a lot of into to take in.  If you want to give it a try, click below to download a copy to help guide you through it.  I know it's cutting it a bit short with Turkey day coming fast a furious at us!  {at this time I do not have the directions within the download---you'll need to refer to this post.  I will be adding directions later, but right now I do not have any more time!}

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