Reflection: Complex Tasks Structuring and Brainstorming Our Own Writing - Section 3: Independent Practice


I recorded that this part of the lesson should take about 40 minutes.  Some of my students did need the full 40 minutes.  Others just breezed through the work quickly and confidently. One strategy I implement is to have these early finishers help some of my struggling students.  I have had to teach my students to help others in the correct fashion.  I didn't want my higher achieving students doing the lower achiever's work for them or making them feel badly.  If you begin to train your students in the beginning of the year about the correct way to help each other it benefits the higher achievers as well as your lower achievers.  

If you watched the video of their independent work, you will see how quiet my classroom is.  This is something unusual for my classroom because I have my students talking a great deal throughout the day. I am a teacher who really wants to integrate many skills into one lesson and I think this task reflects that.  You can see by how quiet they are that they are really having to spend a great deal of mental energy on the task because it's a complex one: they have to read what is on their graphic organizer from yesterday, analyze that information, determine what is the most important, and then synthesize the information, forming an idea of their own.

After going through the entire writing process in our crabs unit, there were a few students I wanted to make sure I paid extra attention to.  One of my students would copy details haphazardly onto their tree map.  The student didn't understand that the main idea and corresponding details all had to be in one column.  I brought this student to the back table and worked with him on the first column.  Then I sent him back to his seat to continue working. 

Another student I wanted to focus on is a student who writes things down quickly, doesn't read them back to himself and then his writing doesn't make sense.  After working with the first student, I also pulled this student back and made him tap out his words in order to spell them more regularly.  I also made this student read his fragments so these made sense to him. This would help him a great deal when writing his story on his flow map in the next day's lesson.

  What Are My Students Doing?
  Complex Tasks: What Are My Students Doing?
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Structuring and Brainstorming Our Own Writing

Unit 5: Analyzing Author's Craft and Expository Writing on Sharks
Lesson 2 of 7

Objective: SWBAT select important facts from the text and categorize it on a Tree Map in order to brainstorm their own ideas for their writing.

Big Idea: It's the beginning of the research process. Students learn how to be selective when taking information from a text to use in their own writing.

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