Expository Writing - ProTeacher Community


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Expository Writing
Old 10-04-2007, 05:24 PM
 
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Hello!!

I am a first year, first grade teacher. I teach in a Title I school that doesn't really have a set writing program. We do, however, have an expository writing benchmark that we are expected to, for lack of a better term, teach to. Students must write to a prompt by developing a topic sentence, three main ideas and supporting details. It's set up so that students must actually use the words first, next, and last in their piece (ex: First, fall is my favorite season because the leaves change color. Next, the weather is cooler, etc.)

It seems kind of strange to me to jump into this at the beginning of the year, because for the first month of school I've been focusing my mini-lessons on concepts of print and making sure students understand what makes up a sentence. Many other first grade teachers on my team are teaching students to memorize the formats for these benchmarks.

Does anyone have any ideas of how to begin teaching writing expository pieces? I have been modeling on my ActivBoard using a graphic organizer to map out my ideas. Then as a class we have been formulating sentences from our graphic organizer. I'm planning to continue modeling for a while, until I feel my kids are ready to begin writing.

Is this the type of thing that is typically expected at the end of first grade? I'm new to the state (FL) so I don't know if it's a state thing, or if it's all over.

Sorry if this is confusing (and long!), but thank you in advance for any advice!!


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Expository Writing
Old 10-04-2007, 06:06 PM
 
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Expository writing as I understand it is nonfiction writing. I teach it as steps. Ex: Get ready for school. First get dressed. Next eat breakfast. Last brush your teeth. Or you could do how to eat breakfast, sports kids could do how to play...etc.
I am teaching beginning, middle, last right now. I took a piece of copy paper for each student and cut it into quarters. Staple it together on one side to make a mini book. This will show how the supporting sentence (one on each page-put it together later as a paragraph) goes with the main idea sentence (on the first page) and let them draw a picture with it. I tell the kids they get to be authors of book just like the ones we read in class.
You could also use a bubble map to show how the supporting sentences go with the main idea sentence (in the bubble in the middle of the map).
I am required to teach expository and narrative, so yes this is typical requirements for first grade.
Here is a website that might help: http://www.kidskonnect.com/content/view/350/27/

I hope this has helped. Good luck!
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Old 10-06-2007, 02:16 PM
 
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I'm at a Title 1/Reading First school. We do not start with expository writing until the middle of the school year. It seems a bit ambitious to do what you are describing at the beginning of first grade.

Our first two prompts (one every 9 weeks) are narratives, and we use Calkin's UoS, which makes much more sense for beginning first grade.

For the expository prompt, Reading First (at least in my district) expects one topic sentence with supporting details and a closing sentence. After much trial and error (and using graphic organizers), our grade level decided to do color coded sentences (not UoS). The topic sentence is green (for GO), the supporting details are orange, and the closing sentence is red (STOP). We model and model it over and over again. It works because it is very visual. We literally use green, orange, and red paper strips.

When the students do it themselves, they know that they should use green to tell what they are going to write about ("This is how I make a peanut butter sandwich"), orange to tell about it (first, next, then, last), and red to tell what they think about it ("I think my sandwich is the best"). Those students who are more advanced can write several main ideas with supporting details.

Last edited by cvt; 10-06-2007 at 06:15 PM..
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Stella4977 Stella4977 is offline
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thank you!
Old 10-07-2007, 07:03 AM
 
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Thank you for your ideas I think i'm going to continue modeling expository writing using students' ideas for a while until they are ready to write themselves. I really like the idea of using color coded sentence strips for topic, details and conclusion. Thanks again!
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Four Square Writing
Old 10-19-2007, 02:14 AM
 
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My site uses Four Square Writing. It is one of the easiest writing programs I've ever used. We start using it the first week of school and by Jan. or Feb most of my kids (Title 1 school) can write a 5 sentence paragraph with topic, 3 details and conclusion. It is a book by Judy Gould. I've seen it on Amazon for less than 10 dollars. It is worth the investment.


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