In my lesson openers I always have a "connect" in which I connect students' thinking about yesterday's lesson to today's lesson. I then have a "teach" in which I model for students the lesson of the day and also have them try it out. When I think about my modeling I use three categories; skill, strategy, and process. I model by stating the skill to the students, then giving them a strategy in which to use the skill, followed by the process to try out the strategy.
Connect: I will say, “We have been reading each other’s writing throughout the unit, but have not shared our writing outloud. When authors publish their writing, they go to bookstores, coffee shops, auditoriums, on television, the radio or the internet to share their writing. Today we are going to do just that.
*If students are not completed with their final draft, I set aside the back part of my classroom for them to work on their final while the other students are in this activity.
I will say, “In order to celebrate our writing, we will read the favorite part of our essay, I am going to practice the skill reading my writing outloud and the strategy of listening to my peers read their writing outloud in order to get ideas for my next project. The process I will use is as follows:
1) Pick my favorite paragraph of my essay
2) Read this part to my peers
3) Listen to my peers and give them feedback, but also take their suggestions about my writing
I will show students a video from one of their favorite authors, Sharon Draper reading a part of her book to an audience so students can have an example of how to read with adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
As they are watching her, they will write down one piece of feedback as a form of a question.
Active Engagement: Depending on the amount of students I have finished with their writing, I will either create two or three writing circles in order for everyone to share their writing. I usually have the students problem solve how to make the circles, but create the groups depending on student personalities. I give them the following rules:
1) There is no talking while the author is reading
2) You will quietly and respectfully write feedback
3) You will snap or clap when the writer is done
I will designate co-leaders of the groups (usually students who can easily get off task) to write down minus points of students who are not following the three rules. The students can also lead the order of which student goes first and the passing of the feedback, back to the author. In order for everyone to share their writing, this activity will take at least 30 minutes.
For closing today I have students complete a reflection in their notebook that directs them to set a goal for their next writing project. I will ask, “What was the most useful feedback you received today? What goal will you set for you next writing unit?”
I have them turn in all of their drafts, their rubric and their final draft. I do not staple it because I will run their final draft throught the copier for their hallway display.
When they are all completed I give them a treat. I usually buy them donuts or cookies