In this video Dea Auray and Barbara Mariconda of Empowering Writers demonstrate a lesson on writing personal narratives with a group of 4th graders. The lesson reviews the concepts of fiction and writing main events and introduces the concept of writing narrative based on personal experience.
The students have recently read an expository piece on roller coasters and their task is to write a personal narrative about riding on a roller coaster. One of the children has never been on a roller coaster, which provides the opportunity to define a personal narrative as a main event (i.e., entertaining story) that could happen to someone even if it has not specifically happened to you. This type of fiction is called “realistic fiction” because it could actually happen and it stands in contrast to “imaginative fantasy,” which could not happen. The class discusses the role of imagination in writing about things you’ve never done as well as how to use information to make a personal narrative believable. Mariconda describes writing a personal narrative about an event that never happened as mixing reality with a little “what if” and “why not.”
After the concepts are introduced, the group begins to create the narrative. The teachers guide the students by asking productive questions, such as “Where should the main event start?” “What happens when you have to wait in line?” “What about a transition word expressing that time has passed?” They chart the students’ responses and use them to create the main event. As the narrative is being created, other lessons about reading and writing are reinforced. For example, the teachers review the four main elements of an exciting main event—action, description, dialog/explanation, and thoughts/feelings—and ask questions to elicit these types of responses from the students. Periodically, the students practice their reading skills by reading the narrative aloud together. The conclusion of the lesson reinforces the main elements of writing personal narrative fiction.
This video demonstrates a powerful method of teaching fiction writing by guiding students as they incorporate imagination, expository information, and the basic elements of main events into a personal experience narrative. The lesson modeled here is ideally taught after students have some experience writing fiction (such as writing imaginative fantasy) and following the reading and/or writing of an expository essay.Top
This article is a blog entry that discusses the use of a daybook or journal to write. Free writing and journal writing can yield good writing, but students also have to then sift through to find the golden nuggets in their daybooks.
One activity that is mentioned is to actually write to a penny. The key to this and other writing activities such as this is to write for enough time to settle into the activity. By writing for a certain time, whether that is seven minutes or an hour, the writer is only left with original thoughts on a topic. Once the student finds something that sparks a thought or idea, they move that sentence or phrase to a clean page and continue.
After offering the writing activity and thoughts about such an activity, the author also writes about money (a topic generated by the penny activity) and teaching in our world today. The opinion expressed is one that comes from years in the teaching profession, but whether a reader agrees or disagrees; it is something to consider because it is well presented and certainly brings an interesting perspective for educators. This blog entry submits the question of how worth and compensation are connected and most teachers have an interest in that connection!
For more information on this journaling idea, head here to the original article at Walking To School
Do you ever use the subject of money as a journaling idea with your class?Top
Pinterest is quickly becoming one of the most widely used resources for educators and teachers alike. Education itself even has its own category on pinterest.com which you can see here.
Some of you who are not familiar with Pinterest may ask why? We would say that it is an easy way to collect, curate, and discover free (and in some cases paid) resources to help teachers in the classroom.
The boards below are a compilation of curated Pinterest boards from teachers, administrators, or other writing enthusiasts about various aspects of how to teach and improve student writing. Some you will have heard of, others may be new so go check them out and discover new resources for you in the classroom.
While you are checking those out, make sure to the Easy Student Publishing Pinterest board where you can keep up to date with all that we are up to.
Beth Whitaker has a great collection of things ranging from free downloads to printables.
Faith ClassyClassroom Siegrist From the Classy Classroom. Has a mix of student created items, writing center ideas, and anchor charts
Lynn Sisco A popular educational pinner overall, and as the name of the board implies, a fantastic curated collection of student writing prompts from around the internet.
Mellissa Sherman Great compilation of over 50 writing activities from around the internet.
Jill Tanner Another collection of curated writing prompts from around the internet.
Patti Golden From Patti Golden, this pin collection focuses on lesson plans, writing plans, and writing journals.
Chris Moninger From Chris Moninger, pins from around the internet not only on Writing Lesson Plans, but of writing prompts and ideas other curated resouces from around the internet.
Rorey Risdon An elementary school writing board inspired by Rorey Risdon, an elementary school english teacher overseas in Africa, with images of writers workshops, writing centers, word walls, and other ideas about teaching writing to elementary school age students.
Charity Preston Reading Language Arts This one is more of Reading and Language Arts centric, but also has great writing ideas and other inspirational activities to get kids. OK, this one you may have heard of her boards, but Charity Prestons boards are followed by over 150,000 fans.
No doubt you also have great Pinterest writing boards you have created. Go ahead and share your writing centric board below in the comments!Top
The writing process is most often divided into five steps and there have been various ways that each has been taught through the years. Since we use technology in so many areas of our lives, it makes sense to move it more into the classroom. This article highlights ways to teach the steps of the writing process using technology/the Internet as the vehicle to do so.
Each of the steps is defined and then there are resources to help students to master that step. The nice aspect of this article is that there are links to the pages of the activities that are mentioned. For example, in the pre-writing portion one of the links is to an “Imagination Prompt Generator” and there are different types of graphic organizers to share with students.
This article appears to have good resources for classroom use and yet it can also serve as a tool for a teacher to learn a bit more about the technology that is out there to support teaching writing in the 21st Century. Students are very tech savvy and this article can assist the teacher with good resources that are easy to use and the links make it an article to save—or bookmark to refer back to it at other times.
The full article can be read here at EducatorsTechnology.com
Of course, we also offer our own online technology tool to help students write and publish their writing. You can sign-up and register for it here.
What are your own favorite free technology tools that you like to like to use either in your classroom, or professionally?Top
This article illustrates a way for a lesson that is valuable for one group of students can also serve others well when it is completed. In this project the finished product from the writing activity actually can become a resource for other students. While using writing prompts is not anything new for many teachers, how many have asked the students to generate the writing prompts? This teacher did just that with a group of writing students from a high school.
The teacher discusses the way that she motivated her students by challenging them to come up with writing prompts that other students could find useful afterward. Celebrating poetry is often an underrated activity, but some of these prompts can assist with that task as well since the driving force for this project centered around the National Poetry Month. One hundred seventy-four writing prompts were developed by this group of high school writing students.
This is a nice snapshot of how a teacher can use a classroom activity as a learning tool and then as a resource for others after the lesson is complete. The activity can be used by students of nearly any age and are just plain fun. After all who wouldn’t want to “write a poem with your eyes closed”?
To read the full article, click here for BlendedVoices.Wordpress.com
What about you in your own classroom. Do you ever have your own students come up with writing prompts, or do they rely on ones supplied by you?Top
Listed below is merely an excerpt from that activity, with a full download link below the excerpt.
Writing Activity Excerpt
Objective: To produce a well-written story with a clear beginning, middle, and end.
Materials: The teacher must first setup a project and student list on the Student Publishing website. After the project is created, the students will need access to computers with internet. The teacher will also need a scanner to put the illustrations in the book.
Anticipatory Set: What makes a good story? Think of a good story you read and list the things that make it a good story. List elements on the board. Review the structure of a plot chart and literary devices. The teacher will discuss that the students are going to write their own stories. Head to http://www.studentpublishing.com/and look at sample books.
Procedure: Students will use the first day to brainstorm characters, settings, and conflicts. Students will then be assigned one page of the rough draft at a time. Each time a page is turned in, the students will peer edit their papers and then turn them in for teacher editing. The teacher will conference with the teacher for each page and discuss the story and the mechanics. The students will continue to do this until all eight pages are written. Students will also draw the illustrations for the book. They will be expected to draw the front cover and four inside illustrations. All illustrations should be neat and in color.
Once students have completed the rough drafts and illustrations, the teacher will give each student login information for the program. The teacher will then walk the students through using the program (adding pages, setting up layout, etc.) Students will then be given class time to type the pages in the book, add illustrations, and complete the extra pages (author information, dedication pages, etc.)
That was only an excerpt from the full activity. If you’d like to download the full activity, click here and it will download in a new window.
As mentioned in the pdf, a great method of completing the writing process is to publish the book and have your students present it to their classmates.
If you’d like to test our online publishing tool out for free, all you need to do is click the button below and register to try it out for free and under no obligation.Click here to try it free Top
First of all, we want to thank all the people who responded to the question, ““Who was your favorite teacher and why? How did they impact you?”
There were almost 40 responses overall.
Again, to all the teachers out there, Easy Student Publishing says “Thank You” and that we appreciate you!
Now, onto the winner! Drum roll please…..
The winner of a My Comic Book Kit for the 2013 Teacher Week Giveaway is Debbie Sims, with the response:
“My 3rd grade teacher Miss Hansen was the main influence for me becoming a teacher. I remember no matter what we where studying she made the lessons come alive. We dressed like explorers and walked around our neighborhood and created a map and named the different animals, plants and trees tht we discovered. We made teepees in the school courtyard and dried our own fruits and vegetables to eat, then at the end we had a campfire at night and rosted our food “smores” with our families. We lived as pioneers with our bonnets, quilts we made and the boys there muskets. When it came to the science we had our magnifying glasses and microscopes to really look at the specimen. The movie projector was wheeled into our class to watch the latest scientific film. She even brought her own TV in so we could watch the Mercury space launch (with foil all over the place to get reception). Learning was fun and that is how I try to make it for my students even in the maze of the countless assessments we have to give! Thank you Miss Hansen for touching my life so that I can touch others.”
Let’s congratulate her on her answer!
Debbie, if you would click the following link to send us an email with your address to mail your kit to.
If you’d like to hear about other future giveaways, promotions, or products, please fill out your email below to subscribe to our newsletter.Fill Out Your Email Below To Subscribe To Our Newsletter
I teach in a small parochial school in Kentucky. The grades I teach range from third to fifth grade. One thing that I wanted to do with my students was to have them write their own memoir. I wasn’t sure how long this process would actually take. I think I allowed us to take up to 6 weeks on it.
When writing a memoir, the students needed to focus on the lesson that their story taught the reader. This was really hard for some students, and for others it was a cinch. There were many discussions about what a life lesson was and some examples of life lessons. We read through some of the stories that the students had written and tried to guess what the life lesson was and then discussed if there were any other life lessons to be brought out.
Another area we worked on a lot was staying focused on the story and figuring out when the beginning, middle, and end of the story was, since we were trying to focus in on one area. Again, for some students this was easy and for others it was a difficult task. It seemed like there were just two extremes. The students who did not give enough detail and then the students who gave so much detail that you were lost in the details and couldn’t figure out what the story was about.
Through A LOT of conferencing and mini lessons that dealt with vibrant words, quotation marks, punctuation, etc, we were able to get the books done and illustrated. This experience was the best experience I think my students have had all year long with writing. It gave them a different type of goal to work towards than they have had all year. They are all excited to see their finished books.
When I do this again, I think I might be more organized on starting the students off with their books BEFORE they start typing. I did have different sets of students who were at very different places throughout this writing journey. Since I teach three different grades at the same time, I will probably break up the students into different groups with where I know I will need to start them off thinking about a specific idea behind their writing to focus on. Whether it be organization, concept of beginning, middle, end, or just writing out their thoughts. I also think it is important to model what you are doing as a writer in the process as well. I did not actually create a book, but going through the process and having the students see what you are needing to do is very beneficial.
To take a look at the tool that Whitney Robinson used to publish those memoirs, you can click the button below for a free trial.Click Here For A Free Trial Top
This writing workshop lesson plan was donated by Mrs. Hodges Student at the La Paloma Academy in Tucson Arizona.
I can use the writing process to write my own book.
Guided Discovery- Today I will work with students on the pre-writing stage of the writing process. We will do the heart map activity. I will use the picture book Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge . Through the books students will learn about memories that are close to their heart. I will do my own heart map.
Independent Practice – Students will complete heart map.
Heart Map- Students draw a heart and put all the memories that are close to their heart.
Objective- I can write a draft for my story.
Hook- We have been working on some amazing stories on our own that I have gotten to see during individual conferences and on your homework. Today we are going to talk about moving out of the Rehearsal/ generating phase and into DRAFTING! First we need to identify what the parts of a narrative are.
Mini Lessons- Read “calling Home”
Then, modeling in my notebook what the elements of the story are
Small Significant Moment
Clear Beg, Med, End
Look at an example of one of my Issues/ people/ Moments and how if it passes the test, I can make it a narrative .
Guided Practice- Asking scholars for noticing, to turn and talk for noticing examples of this example:
ONLY RIGHT IF: Complete sentences on Traits checklist worksheet
Independent Practice- Conferencing with students, circulating
Objective- I can edit my story.
Mini-Lesson / Modeling (“I” or “I/We”) 5-15 minutes
Scholar’s we’ve done this before. Today, we are going to edit our work. However, you are going to be getting an editing pen! This pen will help you fix your mistake and you will see it clearly when you transfer over to your final draft!”
“Let’s review this paragraph edit to make sure we all know what mistakes we are looking for.”
(Have mentor text example with proper noun mistakes, complete sentence mistakes, and paragraph edit problems)
That was merely an abstract of the full writers workshop lesson plan. Click here to download the full lesson plan in pdf format.
She has also contributed other exceptional publishing project tips as well.
A perfect complimentary activity to the workshop and a way to provide an authentic assessment of student writing is to publish a student book. Click the button below to try our online book publishing tool out for freeClick Here To Try It Free Top
All good teachers know that communication and organization are important aspects of their jobs. For writing teachers and students, these skills are also an important part of the essay-writing process, or so says Jeremiah Kleckner, author of the blog The Writing Teacher. In a post titled “The Writing Process: The Teacher/Student Writing Conference and Final Draft,” Kleckner writes about the importance of spending one-on-one time with a student before asking him or her to complete a final draft of an essay. This conference allows the teacher time to reinforce ideas taught previously in class, compliment the positive aspects of the student’s writing, and show him or her ways to improve the essay.
The teacher should keep notes or use the chart suggested by Kleckner to record the topics that were discussed and then use it as a reference to gauge the student’s writing throughout the school year. Kleckner then suggests that when the student turns in the final draft of the essay, the teacher should use the chart as a reference for grading. Instead of treating the writing like a blank slate, the teacher should grade the essay based on how well the student made use of the criticism given during the conference and measure how much improvement was made between the first and final drafts.
Jeremiah does indeed make some good points about teacher-student writing conferences, which you can read more about at: JeremiahKleckner.Wordpress.com
What kinds of things do you keep in mind when conducting your own writing conferences?Top