Writing Workshop: Description
Additional Writing Inspiration:
Additionally, the students have a writing folder as an additional resource to find inspiration for their writing. As needed, the students fill in each category to assist in deciding what to write about.
one-On-one Conferencing & Personalized Mini Lessons
During writing workshop, the students are independently working on their pieces. Simultaneously, I am meeting with students individually to discuss their writing progress. At each meeting, students read a selection of their writing (I provide positive feedback), touch base about the goal set in the previous conference, and set a goal for moving forward. Student goals are both self selected and recommend by me.
For my records and assessment purposes, I record data on the sheet to the right. Students write their own goal on the top of the piece they are working at to internalize their goal. I do not write on the students paper, unless they have asked for my assistance.
Additional Assessment Techniques
In addition to conferencing, I observe the students during the writing process from a far and up close. I also review the students writing notebook and folder for more data. Below is an example of the data collection sheet I utilize.
Daily Writing Discipline: We are a Community of Writers
The Daily Writing Discipline, also known as DWD, is an opportunity for students to practice writing for an extended period time about a subject of their choice. The theory behind the practice is such that if students write each day for an increment of time appropriate for their age level and ability, writing will become less daunting, as students see themselves as writers. The students' DWD notebooks are a private place to explore writing. Students are invited to sketch to inspire writing ideas.
The DWD routine is as follows. Most days, students come into school, follow morning routines, and sit down to write. We also will write as a class, challenging ourself to keep our pencils moving for a given time period.
Self-assessment is a major component of the DWD. Students are asked to reflect on their work and create goals moving forward. The self-assessment often inspires future writing pursuits. The students will examine their work once a trimester.
To the left is a sample copy of the self-assessment the students complete.
Below is a sample response from one student's most recent self-assessments.
Cree Naming POems
The "Cree Naming Poems" mimic the tradition of the Cree people waiting to name their children once a personality emerges. Cree Naming Poems often include animal names. As a class, we read poems aloud to determine the characteristics that comprise a naming poem. From our class created definition, students select a name that might be given to them from a childhood incident, personality trait, or an interest. Kindly view a sample of student work to the right.
Her story tells of how it was with her.
The truth is she jumps for joy when she gets excited, or regularly. She always feels warm and fuzzy inside, and loves to cuddle, but is spooked of some things. They make her jump.
Everyone thinks she is humble, but really, she jumps for joy!
Where I am From Poems
We began our exploration of "Where I Am From Poems" by reading Uptown by: Bryan Collier. This text provided a visceral description of a boy's neighborhood. To expose students to the form, we listened to examples other fourth grader's poems at the following link:
Students then create their original pieces. Kindly view an example of student work to the right.
"I Am From" Poem
I am from the smell of outside
and the cool breeze blowing through the house
I am from the flowers outside the window
the trees blowing back and forth
I am from a peaceful Christmas and a spooky Halloween
from my mom and dad
I am from playing outside and eating great pie
and taking care of the animals outside
I am from saying "please" and "thank you"
and singing made up songs
I am from swimming
and from the Matilda hospital
and the city
Sushi and dimsum
from my grandpa
and making a beach from my mom on the lake
with clean waters
and umbrellas and towels
"I Live in..." Poems
To conclude our study of simile and metaphor, my students created "I Live In…" poems, which are a metaphor themselves and express simile and metaphor within. Our inspiration for the poems was the mentor text "I Live In Music" by Ntozake Shange.
We presented our poems at our schools Community Meeting, to the kindergarten through fifth grade. To read more about our process, kindly view the Prezi presentation we created as a class for our presentation. Additionally, kindly view a sample of a student poem to the right.
"I Live In Art"
I live in art
I surf the wet painted waves
I play tennis with the gray-sketched tennis ball
I run over the page of flowers
I live in the canvas
I hear the beat of the paintbrush hitting its surface
When I see artwork I imagine that I’m in whatever it is
I live on Artwork Drive
I live in art, do you?
Additional Grammar Mini Lessons
The students participate in a grammar program called, The Daily Language Review. The program revolves around a workbook each student receives. The workbook as a selection of independent grammar activities broken into a weekly schedule. Once the students have independently completed a few weeks, I will examine their work to craft personalized mini lessons to meet the students' needs.
Each student receives a sticky note with numbers, noting which lesson they will be meeting with me for. During that time, the students pool their knowledge to create a poster explaining the convention, complete with examples and definitions. We then display the posters to assist us in completing the next week in the workbook.
Kindly view the slideshow above to see the mini lessons and final products come to life.
Applying Basic Sentence Parts to Solidify definitions
To review the parts of speech such as noun, adjective, and verb, the students used their prior knowledge to brainstorm class definitions and examples (seen below). Next, the students applied their knowledge of the parts of speech to create a cinquain. This assignment is a higher-oder thinking task as students are asked to apply their knowledge of the definition in writing. The cinquain format is as follows:
Thus, the students must identify the definition correctly, in order to create a cinquain that follows the appropriate format. See below the class definitions we created for each part of speech.