I'm using these children's books about writing to provide concrete examples from real texts for our writing. As we carefully analyze how other authors present ideas about the writing process, students can use this information, as well as prior knowledge and experience to internalize this process and use it to construct their own writing piece.
I presented the idea about 'the writing process' to my students in an earlier lesson, And the Author is ... Using Digital Tools for Writing. If your students are not familiar with the vocabulary and process, you may want to introduce those concepts before this lesson.
Underlined words below are lesson vocabulary words that are emphasized and written on sentence strips for my Reading & Writing word wall. I pull off the words off the wall for each lesson, helping students understand this key 'reading and writing' vocabulary can be generalized across texts and topics. The focus on acquiring and using these words is part of a shift in the Common Core Standards towards building students’ academic vocabulary. My words are color coded ‘pink’ for literature/’blue’ for reading strategies/’orange’ for informational text/'yellow' for writing/’green’ for all other words)
Bring in background knowledge and gain student interest
Most of my kids had read or seen at least one of these books and they loved seeing the covers! This was a great segway to talk about writing - that authors wrote books about writing. The kids didn't realize these books were about the writing process - they just liked the books. It was fun to put the books together on the powerpoint so the kids could see how these authors were trying to help other authors write!
Explain the task
Students who can learn to use the writing process take an important step towards producing quality writing pieces. With guidance and support from adults and peers, they learn to focus on a topic and strengthen writing as needed by brainstorming, organizing, drafting, revising, editing, and rewriting. (W.2.5) This process does not come naturally to them. Students tend to write ideas quickly and want to be done, often without organization or revisions. Modeling a formal writing process and practicing these skills will allow them to begin to internalize the process, planning before they put pencil to paper, considering the organization as well as making revisions and edits before producing a final piece.
Modeling - Page through/Read the book and write ideas on the board
As I model, I'm modeling how to garner ideas from the book. The kids will put their ideas on a treasure map. I am using the vocabulary for the writing process as I model. The kids have been exposed to this before, but I'll continue to use this vocabulary so they can hear it as I look at the author's ideas.
Explain the task
As I transition to teaching the Common Core Standards, I want my instruction to shift towards providing students with more opportunities to learn from each other (not just me) through collaboration. Today, students participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about writing topics and follow agreed upon rules for discussion (SL.2.1) They are expected to work together to accomplish a goal, accept roles in the group and contribute toward a final project.
Share & Reflect
Sum up the lesson
Scaffolding and Special Education: This lesson could scaffolded up or down for students of varying academic abilities. I did mix up the students in a group (high and low writers) because I believe kids can learn from each other, regardless of their ability.
With my special education students, I made sure they were not the 'recorder' of the group, but they could fulfill another role, such as timekeeper or reporter. They were very good (sometimes better than the other kids) at using the illustrations to get information from the books.
For higher level writers/readers, that student could read the story, if time, or be the recorder. Because this lesson involves more brainstorming than formal writing, I believe that students are fairly equal, regardless of their academic ability.