Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Wednesday Writings - Mentor Text

TWO LINKY Parties for me in one day! 

I love writing. Words fascinate me, especially how several different people can take a handful of words and put them together is such different ways. Writing is a way to express your soul and connect with others through visual experiences. Writing opens up doors and gives people impressions of you before you even walk in. I love writing.

For this week, I thought I would try up a LINKY party with those Collaboration Cuties. They are compiling a list of great mentor text to use at the beginning of school. Check out their site for a terrific list of books to use when those fresh new faces wander into your room.

My book choice for the sheer fun of it is definitely:
I Wanna Iguana by Karen Orloff and David Catrow is a personal favorite. The letters written between an overeager son trying to convince his mother, and a mother having some serious doubts is wonderful. I think it's the illustrations that really grab me about this fun little nugget. They just so fun and goofy that the kids love looking at the book over and over.

I would use this text to get them started thinking about the Opinion Genre (Persuasive in another life). They have to express and opinion and back it up with proof, just like Alex in the story. He does do a little begging, which is a trap we don't want students falling into when writing this genre. Rather, backing up your ideas with evidence will convince your reader to agree with you. The students would write to me or another student in regards to something they feel strongly about. Then that person has to write back to give the author that sense of communication, just make sure to remind them to be positive with their responses.

If you like this one, you'll love the new edition to the series: I Wanna New Room. Check them out.

For my second Linky of the day (last week, I didn't even know what a Linky was, ha!) I am linking up with Ideas by Jivey for her ideas on setting up a workshop in your classroom. Since my topic today is Writing, I will stick with that.

One of the things I do before the kiddos arrive is to create a Steps to Good Writing board. This is an area in the classroom where the students come up and move a clothespin from each of the steps to show where they are in their writing. This way I can quickly see who is spending too much time in the Drafting stage. Now I've used tons of things for this in the past. I've had separate pieces of paper, plastic plates, one long wall chart, etc for the students to show where they are. None of these has worked perfectly for me. The chart gets ripped, or the clothespins don't stay on the plates and they fall behind my bookshelves (GRRR). If anyone has the perfect method for this, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE leave me a comment below!

The Steps I use are Planning, Drafting, Revising, Editing, Peer Editing, Final Draft, Publish. Each has a little reminder about what to do at each step. I am going to try and provide you with what I remember for each of the steps. Since I'm not at school right now, I don't have easy access to my files. So bear with me.

Planning: (15 min)
*Get your ideas down
*Jot down everything you know
*This is not the time for complete sentences

Drafting: (1-2 days)
*Choose one idea from your jots
*Jot everything you know just on this topic
*Choose one main character and two supporting
*Don't worry about spelling
*This is your Rough Draft
*Skip lines

Revising: (1 day) I usually attach a colored pencil to this step so they remember to use one for revising
*Make your verbs stronger
*Add sensory details
*Organize your thoughts
*Look for moments to EXPLODE (give more information to your reader)
*Take away extra ideas

Editing: (1 day) A different colored pencil is attached
*Check all spellings
*Watch your punctuation
*Have you capitalized correctly?
*Does your story make sense?

Peer Editing: (10 mins)
*Read your story outloud to a partner
*Partner is allowed 3 suggestions
*Make changes with colored pencil

Final Drafting: (1 day)
*BEST handwriting
*Don't skip lines

Publish: (1 day)
*Create a cover for your story
*Think about new ideas

Hopefully this helps you out as you get started in your Writer's Workshop!

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