It's a process. Day 3 of 5
Lesson 9 of 11
Objective: SWABT use a graphic organizer to write an informational piece on a topic.
We begin day 3 by reviewing what we did on days 1 and 2. We also re-read the how-to chart we had written the first day, and which was posted on our language arts wall (see Resource section). The plan for this day was to teach the children to limit themselves to what they had written in the graphic organizer. Some of my first graders neglect to refer to the graphic organizer, and start writing what comes into their heads about the topic. Usually these ideas are either opinions, or things they have done. The standard (W.1.2) requires that they write on a topic, and they need direct instruction to make sure they don't stray. During the next two days, there will be related lessons to conference, edit and publish. You can see a comment on the weekly writing cycle I use in the resource section.
I modeled how to use the graphic organizer to write the paragraph. I emphasized the need for an opening sentence and the importance of not adding extraneous information. After I finished writing I reminded them that they are not done until they read what they have written, pointing to each word, and checking for punctuation and capitals. I have found that writing in front of them, with on going "think aloud" helps clarify the expectations for the genre and for what we could call writing behaviors (sounding out to check spelling, capitals, periods, reading and rereading what we write, etc.)
There are many options for instruction during independent writing. I decide what to do based on perceived student needs and where we are on the learning cycle. For example, if I just started teaching a genre, I will circulate making sure that the kids are following the genre requirements. If I want to focus on writing conventions, I will walk around pointing errors and asking them to revise. At this time I may let most students work independently and call a small group to write with me for some targeted instruction. You can see student samples on the resource section.
On this occasion, I wanted to make sure that they were sticking to the graphic organizer, so I would ask them to read what they had and then ask them to show me the "bubble" in the organizer that the sentence had come from. Depending on the answer, I would praise or redirect.
When the time for writing was over, my helpers collected the writing and I briefly reminded them what we were doing this week in writing. I also explained that the next day we would have some writer's conferences.