We had a guest speaker visit us on school stewardship and ways we can take better care of our school. We are going to develop a small portion of land around our school. We want to make the land more useful; form a garden or to help with school improvement. This project through the next six weeks of school.
Our guest speaker came to the classroom to discuss what work we can do around our school. We took a walking tour and found places that have potential for our project. We came inside and brainstormed a list of places we might try to work on and what would go there. The speaker then talked to my students about the work that would go into each project.
Students were very engaged in learning about the areas on the playground and around the school that could be fixed up into something very nice. They were very excited that they have a choice in the project. The idea is to grow stewardship and environmental awareness.
When the speaker left we had a debriefing about all the information we had just heard. I led them back through a discussion on the list they created and helped them expand on their first thoughts. As the teacher, you have a better idea of how to help summarize what a speaker teaches or presents to your class.
I have found that an immediate discussion helps organize our thoughts and allows me to connect meaning to lessons or discussions we have already have.
The next step is to model how they can write their choice for project and organize my writing to include details from the speaker's presentation.
I use the document camera to write and use "think aloud" to show the construction of my paragraph. I start with my catchy topic sentence that states the project I am choosing. I then add two details I can recall from the presentation and show how I use the notes that are written on the board to give my paragraph evidence. I close it up by restating my choice and the project that goes with it.
**I do not use one of the choices that students have to choose from. I think that if I chose, then students might follow my choice without picking for themselves.
Students are now going to create their paragraph according to the model. This paragraph will be their vote for which project they want to work on for our school.
As students work, I am walking around and offering individual help to students. If there is a group of students that are struggling I might have them join me at a table and work with them in a guided practice session. I will set them up with their choice and then write sentences with them. Students might all choose a different project, so the sentences might be generic in form but suitable for all.
A generic topic sentence: The project __________ is one I want to work on because _______.