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Good First Day-Second Day lesson
Old 08-06-2010, 07:20 PM
 
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Today was our second day of school, and I want to share what we did today. I think it was a successful writing lesson. (I teach 5th, but I think it could easily be adopted to other levels.)

I used the book "Big Plans" http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Big.../9781423111009

1. I picked out the sentence from the book that reads "The frenzied fans whisk us off the field." and posted that on the board. We discussed what caught their attention, and they liked the vocabulary and the alliteration. They copied the sentence in their composition books, we acted out "frenzied" and talked about different types of frenzy they knew of--(shark frenzy, recent news article about a gator frenzy) and did the same for "whisk" (pointing out that it was being used as a verb and not a noun). In other words, we played with the meaning of the two vocabulary words. They told me some other things that might be in a frenzy or might be whisked away and made up some oral sentences.Things like "The dogs were in a frenzy at the bar-be-cue" and "My mom whisked my Ipod away from me last night." They particular enjoyed acting out frenzy. I had them walk around quietly, then in a frenzy (after getting them to promise they wouldn't jump or bump into anyone.)

2. Next, they mimicked the sentence by writing 1-3 sentences with the same pattern under the one I found. Some were as simple as "The crazy cat ran across the road." but most wrote sentences with strong verbs and strong adjective/noun combinations. Just a few of my 54 students (I teach writing to all classes.) just didn't grasp alliteration or they didn't grasp the instructions. Oh well, 2nd day only, and there are about 5 LD writing students and a few ESOL.

3. Then I read the book, which they really enjoyed. We discussed why the boy had plans and where he was getting his ideas from. I pointed out that good writers get their ideas from everything around them and use familiar items for a springboard into imagination.

4. I introduced our "Big Plans" Writing Project. They started a letter to themselves that will have two paragraphs. The first paragraph is about how they were feeling on this second day of school, and the next paragraph will be about their plans for the year. I told them to include at least one educational plan, but to also think of their lives away from school.

5. When we finish next Monday, they will decorate the letter with some stickers that I have, then we'll roll the whole bunch up and "seal" them in a decorated Pringles can. I told them this was their "Time capsule". I told them that I would seal it with hot glue and put it up on the shelf. We'll open it two days before school ends in May. I'll keep them on the shelf where they can be seen so that it will be a visual reminder of their plans.

It was a nice way to get back into writing and to set some goals. Oh, I forgot. I had read part of Obama's speech to students that he gave last year the day before--on the first day of school. It was about taking responsibility for your learning.

This lesson will take two days. We didn't get to the second paragraph today, so we'll pick that up Monday. I'll talk then about topic sentences and how they could tell that they needed two paragraphs. An additional goal for me today was to have them write for about seven minutes without stopping. I set the on-line timer and told them to not stop until time was up.

So, there it is. I'm calling it my "Big Plans Project".


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Old 08-07-2010, 05:24 AM
 
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I've got big plans, BIG PLANS I say!

Thanks to you. I love this idea. I will try to get the book and do the writing and time capsule idea. (Amazon has a hardcover copy for $6.49 right now.)

I have no doubt I'll hear that line all year.
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Old 08-07-2010, 06:03 AM
 
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Great idea! Thanks so much for sharing!
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You did Awesome!!
Old 08-07-2010, 06:33 AM
 
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I like your Big Plans and I also was planning on using that stategy where kids write non-stop for 7 minutes. My fourth graders will be doing that too! Last year, they loved it!
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Awesome Idea!
Old 08-08-2010, 11:02 AM
 
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I love your idea! I have had the students write letters to themselves on the first day of school, and I gave it back to them at the end of the year! I like making it into a time capsule and displaying it as a reminder of their goals for the whole year! Fantastic idea...I can't wait to use it in a few weeks


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thank you for this
Old 08-09-2010, 02:01 PM
 
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I am new to teaching writing as a subject, although I do have the kids write in my history class.

thanks, I am always looking for good ideas that have been tried and proven to work
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Thank You
Old 07-22-2012, 10:26 AM
 
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can't wait to try this!
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