Reflection: Complex Tasks Sequencing With "A Day At the Zoo" - Section 3: Writing Our Own Book


At the beginning of my career I was guilty of giving students sentence frames and then having the students complete the stem.  Sometimes stems are great, but overuse of them can promote lower level thinking since all the students were doing was essentially filling in the blank.  Plus, all their writing looked pretty much the same - boring!  I cringe at the thought now. 

So how do I get students to write their own ideas now?  Through professional development I learned of the important impact oral language skills have on reading and writing achievement.  This is why my students are talking in class all the time - and it's a good thing! 

I offered my students choices in this lesson.  Everyone had to use the transition words, however they could all pick their own animal.  They got to make the decision for what animal they would see first, next, then and so on.  I also let them choose what their animal would be doing for their elaboration sentence.  This made them think what the actual animal might be doing because their writing would have to make sense. 

After students came up with their choices, I offered them the opportunity to generate their sentences orally with a partner.  This way, if the sentence didn't come out right, partners could work together to fix the sentence before they even wrote it down.  

You'll also see in the video in the main section of how students apply writing skills from other areas of the curriculum.  The first girl was tapping out the sounds in the words so she could spell the words correctly.  She was also using her rereading strategy to make sure she wasn't missing words and she would know which word to write next. I teach these skills daily in our phonics lessons.

You can offer students choices in their writing yet still control the lesson enough so students are achieving the skill of sequencing their narrative.  Speaking the sentences first is key and has worked very well for my class this year.

  Writing Our Own Ideas
  Complex Tasks: Writing Our Own Ideas
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Sequencing With "A Day At the Zoo"

Unit 14: Small Group Reading Lessons
Lesson 2 of 7

Objective: SWBAT sequence events in their narrative writing.

Big Idea: What does a trip to the zoo have to do with sequencing?

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3 teachers like this lesson
English / Language Arts, Comprehension (Reading), sequencing, analysis, narrative
  65 minutes
student 2 zoo
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