Structuring and Brainstorming Our Own Writing - Day 2 Honeybees

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SWBAT take the most important information from the story and categorize it on a Tree Map to brainstorm and structure their own writing.

Big Idea

I am a real author! I am going to plan and structure my writing just like a real author does.

Teacher Background Knowledge and Preparation

     The point of today's lesson is to show students how take the important information from yesterday's story and use it in the planning  of their own story without copying the author word for word.  We are also going to analyze the story again to see the different ways the author starts their sentences.  Each sentence doesn't start with "Honeybees.......". 

     I've had the conversation with my class several times about not copying text word for word and most of them understand this concept.  There is one student that I have in mind that doesn't so today I am going to zone in on them to make sure they are understanding they just need to write the important details. 

     For today's lesson you will need the Smartboard lesson from yesterday.  Every student will also need a tree map and a circle map to record their information.

Introducing the Objective and Explaining My Expectations

5 minutes

     I wanted to make sure the students understood the purpose of our learning today.  I said, "Today we are going to take our information from our graphic organizers from yesterday and use the important information to start planning our own stories.  Today your task is just to take the important information and record it on your tree map.  Remember to put the author's words into your own words."  What I'm doing with my students is the beginning stages of the research process. By be selective with what we are putting on our tree map my students are beginning to make decisions about what information they want to focus on.  When they do this we are directly addressing standard W1.7 - Participate in shared research and writing projects.  Besides addressing the first grade standard we are also well on the path for setting them up for success in achieving the anchor standard for W.7 in future years.  Let's look at the anchor standard - CCRA.W.7 -Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation. I purposely wrote the packet and set the activity up so we are researching and writing about focused pieces of information. 

     I pulled up my Smartboard lesson and showed the students how the main idea from each section would be their category headings on their tree map.  Then they would record their details on the lines under each category heading.  I told them,  "Do you see that you only have a little line for each of the details?  Can you fit a long sentence on each line or are we going to have to record our notes as sentence fragments?"  The purpose of using the tree map is for students to think critically about what was important to put on the lines.  Also, when they record simple notes in the form of sentence fragments, then when they get to the actual writing portion tomorrow, their writing is going to be more authentic and not just a "copy from the story" activity.

     I wanted today's lesson to be a rigorous exercise, so I had to walk a fine line with explaining what the students needed to do without too much modeling.  Each of the students had to determine what was important to put on their tree map.

Independent Practice

20 minutes

     Again, I had to scaffold for my strugglers.  I brought them to the back reading table and guided them in the activity. We reread the main idea of each section.  I said, "Where are we going to record the main idea on tree map?" We then looked at each of the details and I asked, "What words are the most important in that detail sentence?  What should you write on your detail line on your tree map?"I knew I would have to scaffold for my strugglers and had already planned on it.  See my reflection for how much scaffolding I had to do.

     When that group was busy writing, I left them to work and then circulated around to the rest of the class.  I was really trying to be mindful of being a facilitator of learning and not "the know it all".  So I asked the students questions what they thought was important and why they recorded what they did on each line.  If they recorded the main idea or details on the wrong line I would ask, "Where do we have to record the main idea on the tree map? What did you show as the main idea on your first graphic organizer?" I tried to get my students to realize their own mistakes through my questioning strategies.

     Through the rest of the lesson, I kept floating back and forth from my struggling group to the rest of the class, trying to take a back seat in the learning process and having my students take the most active role in their learning.

     Do you see why and how this activity is rigorous? This independent practice section really promoted thinking on my student's behalf. They had to focus, or hone in on what was important to include on their tree map. They are learning how to research effectively.  If we think about both the first grade and anchor standard for W.7 we can see that they are participating in a short research project using our one source of information (information from the packet) focusing in on specific details in order to demonstrate their knowledge about honey bees.


Instruction of How to Start a Sentence and Independent Practice

10 minutes

     I wanted my students to be able to start their sentences in a variety of ways.  I said, " We are going to go back and look at how the author starts each of their sentences.  A story would be so incredibly boring  if each sentence started with "Honeybees...., Honeybees......, Honeybees....." Boring!!!!!!!   The author refers to honeybees in different ways at the beginning of their sentences.  Your job right now is to go back and reread your packet and find all the different ways the author refers to honeybees. Look at the beginning of each of your sentences.  You will record all the different words they use on your circle map. " I purposely left it up to the students to come up with their own revisions to up the rigor for my students in this part of the lesson.

     I gave students about 5-7 minutes to work with their table mates and to record how the author refers to honeybees on their circle maps.  Again, I helped my strugglers with the reading of each section.  I really had to point out how the author started each sentence.  I had to be really explicit.  I said, " Point to the 3rd sentence.  Did the author start this sentence with "Honeybees...."  What did they call the honeybees?"  Sometimes it's hard and draining when some of your students don't make connections easily but it does make me feel accomplished that I gave those students the opportunity to access the same material everyone else has access to.

     We then had a quick class discussion.  I said, " What did you come up with?" I wanted students to have the opportunity to learn from each other.  If they missed a way that the author referred to honeybees they could record them now on their tree map.  The students were learning from each other and I continued to learn to take myself out of the equation by being the facilitator and not telling them what they should have put on their maps.  


2 minutes

     I again wanted a real quick closure. I summed up today's learning and wanted them to be excited about tomorrow's learning.  I said, " Today we took the important parts of our story and used them to plan our own writing.  We also learned how important it is to start sentences in different ways.  Tomorrow we are going to take all our information and write our own honeybee stories."