Hey friends! We have recently started our unit on how-to writing. Since we are just getting started, our focus this week was on planning and organizing our ideas. This can be a challenging stage of the writing process for any student, but modelling certainly helps!
I love this FREEBIE chart that I got from The Teacher Wears Prada. Having students move their name clips from stage to stage helps to reinforce their understanding of the writing process.
Occasionally, you have some students that are really passionate about certain topics and have a wealth of ideas, but most of the time I have found that it's challenging for the majority of firsties to brainstorm multiple ideas for how-to topics, so I start out by modelling some for them. I thought aloud (a lot) about whether I knew enough about a topic to add it to my collection of ideas. Of course, I tried to add many ideas that they could relate to.
I passed out clipboards (we were gathered on the rug) with a graphic organizer like my chart and asked them to list some of their own ideas. We discussed how all of them would be able to add "how to get dressed", but many of them would not list "how to play an instrument" if they were not already taking lessons for one! If you would like a copy, click on the picture/caption!
|I made the center frame blue simply so that it would print in gray scale making it easier for the kids to see which column they were writing in :)|
|FYI, the "for Bees" are our school rules! 4 Be's: Be Honest, Be Responsible, Be respectful, Be Safe. |
Such a sweetie, this student definitely follows the rules!
The next thing I asked students to do was try to select 1 idea from each box to "test", meaning the 5 finger test- you should be able to explain at least 5 things (including materials and 4 or 5 steps) for that how-to topic. Lucy Calkins refers to this as "trying on a topic" (to see if it "fits" you!)
I paired up students and had them share their topics and conduct their topic tests. In the end they had to select 1 topic that they felt would be the best to write about. The friend above will be going with the topic, "How to Make a Paper Lantern". Can't wait to learn about that!
Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to check back in soon as we share more about our how-to writing unit!