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Beg. of the Year Writing

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Beg. of the Year Writing
Old 07-13-2011, 05:48 PM
 
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Every year I find myself just jumping write into a 5 paragraph personal narrative. I find halfway through the writing the students have a hard time even writing one paragraph. What do you do at the beginning of the year to teach paragraph writing and get them "caught up" quickly and review what a solid paragraph is so we can move on to what we are supposed to be teaching? I don't want to spend a lot of time reviewing, but feel it is needed. TIA


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Summertime Suitcase
Old 07-14-2011, 04:33 AM
 
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I start by teaching a powerful paragraph. Topic sentence, detail, 3 elaborations, detail, 3 elaborations, detail, three elaborations, and a concluding sentence. I model this and hang up at the beginning of the year. THen they make a summetime suitcase. They brainstorm things they did over summer. We all share and make a class list. Then they choose 5 of their favorites. They write a paragraph in their writing notebook for each of their choices. I will pull individuals at this time. Once everyone is finished, we edit and revise. I teach the differences. Finally, they publish it in a suitcase format. Basically we use a file folder, cut out the front piece and put a transparency in it. Then we add handles. each of their paragraphs are published in a creative way. Ex. If my topic was the beach, I would make a beach towel out of white paper that would fit inside the "suitcase". The paragraph would be written on the back of it. I grade it for paragraph format only. That is the expecation the rest of the year. It takes about 2 weeks, which is perfect. Then we go into the five paragraph essay. Hope this helps.
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Paragraph of the Week
Old 07-14-2011, 05:08 AM
 
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I usually start my fifth graders off with a paragraph a week. At the beginning of the week they are given the topic, then they go through the writing process and on Friday they share. You can google this site or if you want I can post it. Eventually after a few weeks of practice their paragraphs begin to make sense and follow the correct format.
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Thanks!
Old 07-14-2011, 08:23 AM
 
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Great ideas!
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Hamburger Model
Old 07-15-2011, 05:14 PM
 
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First, I would check with the fourth grade teachers to see what the students know. That will let you know how much writing experience they have. My cooperating teacher would frequent the 4th grade hallway and look at writing that was posted. It gave her an idea of the types of writing the 4th graders did, skill level of incoming students, and 4th grade expectations. She then started the year addressing what she noticed from the students when they were in 4th grade. The students were impressed that she knew about the work they did in grade 4! She used their abilities and experiences to guide her teaching.

If they are struggling writing a paragraph, I would teach the hamburger method: 1 introduction sentence (top bun), detail sentences (cheese, onion, pickle, ketchup, etc.), 1 closing sentence (bottom bun). Have students practice writing a paragraph using this model. The paragraph would be on 1 certain topic. Have them practice writing 1 paragraph compositions before working them into 5 (or multiple) paragraph compositions. When they are writing multiple paragraph papers, guide them through the process by working on 1 paragraph at a time.

This is what I would do. Hope this helps!


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