Writing Our Own Stories
Lesson 4 of 7
Objective: SWBAT take their research from their Tree Maps and Circle Maps and use it to create their own piece of expository text on sharks.
In our Day 2 lesson, there was a reason why I had students synthesize information from the text and only write fragments on their tree maps. I don't want them copying the author's words. I want to help students understand the author's ideas, internalize them, and be able to write about them in their own words. Today students will be taking their sentence fragments and turning them into coherent sentences in their own wording.
I am a huge advocate of Thinking Maps. By utilizing the tree map and the flow map in the writing classroom, I am also showing my students how to effectively choose information and structure their writing well. By doing this, I am helping my students and getting them on the path to achieve the anchor standard, CCRA.W.2 - Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
There is not much to prepare for today's lesson. You will need your Smartboard lesson on Sharks. Students will need their tree maps, and flow maps from the Day 2 and 3 lessons.
Since this was our third expository unit, I wanted to give my students the information they needed and then step back and let them "have at it" so to speak. I said, "Today we are going to be taking our information from our tree map and use it to create our own shark stories."
I pulled up the flow map on the Smartboard lesson. I talked about the different parts of the flow map and pointed to them as I spoke. I said, "You already have your introduction on your map up at the top here from yesterday. We have 4 different sections to write about. In the first section, you will get your information from the first column of your tree map, in the second section of the story, you will get your information from the second column of your tree map, the third section from the third column of your tree map, and the fourth section from your fourth column."
I was very specific with this part of the lesson because I had a couple of students in particular who still struggle with where they need to put their information on the flow map. In our crab unit, it wasn't until the conferencing part that I caught these mistakes. These students picked information from anywhere they wanted on the tree map and the organization of their story didn't make sense at all. I wanted to make sure that these students understood what to do this time.
Today's work was also differentiated. I met with each of my groups and gave them the following information:
- My strongest 2 groups had to use all 4 details from the tree map. They needed to combine 2 details using a connecting word and write those in the first detail box. Then they would combine the last 2 details using a connecting word and write those in the 2nd detail box.
- I explained to my middle group that they need to use 3 of the 4 details on their tree map. They needed to combine 2 details using a connecting word and write it in a detail box of their choosing. Then they could choose 1 more detail and write it in the other detail box.
- I told my group that needs the most support to pick 2 details from their tree map and write those details in each of the detail boxes.
I was also clear with students that they should wait to create the concluding sentence because we'd be learning about that in the next lesson.
After explaining what students needed to do, I let them get to work.
I walked around the room and helped where I could. If I saw a sentence fragment on a student's paper because they failed to make a coherent sentence, I would say, "Read that sentence to me." Then after they read I would say, "Does that make sense? What could you do to have it make sense? What kind of punctuation do you need if you asked your audience a question? How do we start a sentence?" My students were really getting a practical and authentic application of the language standards in this lesson. I would much rather have them practice conventions this way then to push a boring worksheet at them.
Just like my other lessons in this unit, I wanted to step back and let my students be in charge and make their own decisions regarding their writing. I knew if there were a major problem, I could catch it and discuss the problem with the student in our conference. Right now I was just looking for major problems with structure. You can see what my students were doing and how quiet they were (they were working hard) in the video here in the resource section.
My students had worked hard today so for my closure I just summarized the lesson and gave them something to look forward to for tomorrow. I said, "Today you took your information from the tree map and turned that information into some great sentences. You organized all your sentences and made sure you had the correct use of capitals and punctuation so the story would make sense. Tomorrow we are going to learn how to make some strong ending sentences to wrap up our stories in an exciting way. Tomorrow's lesson is called "Excellent Endings".