Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Too Big, Too Small, Or Just Right? How to Develop a Topic

We watched a read aloud of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. The story led us to a great conversation about having topics that are just the right size. Students cannot write three paragraphs about a topic that is too small. Students also cannot write three paragraphs about a topic that is not specific enough. And finally, we realized it is hard to convince anyone of anything if it does not sound appealing.

From here, we introduced just one student's sentence to decide if the sentence's topic and main idea would be just right for a five paragraph essay. 

Today’s Example: Too big.
If you enjoy the outside, then snowball fighting may be excellent for you.

Topic: Snowball fighting
Main Idea: Snowball fighting is excellent if you love the outdoors.
Corrected: If you enjoy playing with your friends outside when the cold air hits, then you should try snowball fighting.

The children quickly realized that enjoying the outside did not constitute snowball fighting, but we had a harder time determining what did. We knew we had to add in the cold weather, but what else? They all agreed it should be something about friends.

Finally, we returned to the Topic Sentence writing homework to determine if topics were, Too Big, Too Small, or Just Right? This week students were given their old sentences to fix. They had to find the topic and main idea of the original sentence. Then, decide if it was too big or too small and fix it.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

More About Mountain Biking

Time to Write!

In small groups, students used the prioritized ideas to work together to write a sentence for the three different ideas to introduce their topic.  They quickly realized that these sentences often utilized at least one of the details to make mountain biking sound thrilling.

Each group presented their ideas for us to vote on a favorite. Every group's new topic presented better sentences to choose from. When we were done we went back to the sentences to make sure we had a topic, implied or stated, a direction that fit our idea of mountain biking being thrilling, and great vocabulary to match the topic and direction.

Finally, we got to the point where we needed to decide on a closing. (The students had no idea that I wore the perfect shirt for the occasion.) Chase your dreams will definitely make it into our closing statement somehow.

Check out what's next!

Mountain Biking Anyone?

A new year means a new direction. This time we are diving into persuasive writing, but don't tell the students. We are going to let them figure it out on their own. It all started with If..then statements. We decided to to dive into the idea of mountain biking.

From there, we came up with a group If...then statement about running. This led us to our weekly homework where we were able to practice our new skill by writing a topic sentence per day. These sentences came into school the next day for us to share and modify.

Our next writing lesson revolved around five different teacher labeled topic sentence buckets. Students were given index cards to fill in with details that would work for any of the given buckets.