Sunday, May 17, 2015

Writing Mini Lesson #22- Writing a Rough Draft for a Narrative Essay

Now that students have their conclusions written, it is time to write!  Woo woo!  Time to write!  Lesson 22 focuses on writing rough drafts.

1.  Start off the lesson by intro ducting all the rough draft elements below.  Remind them that this is Step 2 of the writing process!

2.  Have students take notes in their notebook.

 3.  Next, model writing a rough draft in class.  Make sure you make mistakes along the way!  I love it when they want to correct me right away when I make a mistake.  I laugh and say, "It is my rough draft!  I have to just write and not think about the mechanics!  Let me write!  I don't want to lose my focus."  Of course, I over exaggerate.  Imagine that!  Plus with these mistakes, it will help you later when teaching students how to revise and edit!

4.  Now it is the students' turn to write.  My students like to write around the room like below.  If this helps them write, then why not?

I hope this helps in your writing lessons!  Next up:  Writing Mini Lesson #23 is revising in a Narrative Essay!

Like always, 

If you would rather have all of the these mini lessons (over 400 pages) in one spot along with tracking forms, goal forms, prompts, practice sheets, etc, etc.  Click on the pic below!  Boost those test scores with a year-long writing program!

Thursday, May 7, 2015




1.  Send out notice to parents for ingredients. I like to use  I will add a list of ingredients!
2.  The morning of making the chocolate, bring a crockpot, spatula, wooden spoon, and serving spoon.  
3.  Melt the chocolate chips on low.  Stir occasionally.  We were drooling from the smell of melted chocolate!!
4.  Set up the other ingredients in bowls around a table with a spoon for serving.
5.  Cut paper approximately 2 inches by 4 inches for labels.
6.  Prepare the foil.  Tear approximately 2 ft per student and fold it over once.  
7.  Tear out another piece of foil approximately 4 inches.
8.  Write each students' name on a quart sized baggie.

Making Bars:

1.  Create and color a unique label for your candy bar.  Set aside.  

2.  Students need to use the foil to create a shape of their choice leaving a hole to pour ingredients.

3. An adult will put your foil on a paper plate and place a scoop of creamy chocolate in the foil.  

4.  Next, fill your foil with your choice of ingredients!

5.  Then, stir ingredients together with a plastic spoon.  

6.  Take the smaller piece of foil and seal the opening.  

7.  Using thick clear packaging tape, tape the label on top.  

8.  Place foil in plastic bag.

9.  Last, place bag in refrigerator or cooler with ice to harden!

10.  When ready, guess what?  It is time for a taste!!!!!!

I promise your students will talk about it for years! Whenever I get a visit from a past student, they always mention our chocolate unit and I am known throughout the school as the teacher who makes chocolate!  In case you are wondering if I make one for myself, we'll hello?  Every year I make one for myself and I have my students who finish first make them for our principals!  Any kind of brown (chocolate) nosing works!

How do I keep children from tasting?  I let them taste!  I usually have so many ingredients.  I tell them ahead of time to keep their plates and spoons so I can give them some warm chocolate with ingredients left over to taste!  Happy chocolate makers!!!!!


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Writing Mini Lesson #21- Writing the Conclusion of a Narrative Essay

Were your students successful with the last lesson on dialogue?  I hope they are keeping their quotation marks to a minimum!

Next up is writing a conclusion in a narrative essay.  This lesson is short and sweet!

Common Core Standard:  We can provide a conclusion that follows from the narrated experiences or events.

What is a conclusion?  It is the end of the story or solution to the problem.  The readers should be reminded of the main idea and feel that the story has come a full circle with an ending.

After this explanation is given and students take notes in their writing notebooks, write the conclusion to your class story together.  See example below.

Below is one of my students working around the room on his conclusion and adding it to his graphic organizer.

This is a picture of one of my student's graphic organizer for her narrative essay:

After students finish their graphic organizer, have them decide on a goal they would like to achieve in their writing.  Do they want to work on a better:

complete sentences?
paragraph form?
topic sentences?
transition words?

What goal should students create?  
1.  Anything that you have taught in a past writing lesson and are expected to use in future essays.
2.  One of the past lessons that they need more time to develop.
3.  Focus on one goal!  (I like to give extra credit or some prize if they achieve their goal.)

Here is a free template for students to write a goal.  It can be placed in their writing notebooks or attached to their essay's final copy.  

Next writing mini lesson #22- will be writing a rough draft in Narrative Writing!

Like always, 

If you would rather have all of the these mini lessons (over 400 pages) in one spot along with tracking forms, goal forms, prompts, practice sheets, etc, etc.  Click on the pic below!  Boost those test scores with a year-long writing program!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Blog Hop- Hoppy Easter!

Happy Easter friends!  I am so glad that it is spring time and Easter weekend!  Nothing is better than having a house full of family!  We just got done eating a delicious French Toast casserole, fresh fruit salad, and turkey bacon.  I made the casserole last night while we were hanging out around the island having some wine and catching up.  All I had to do was pop it in the oven this morning!  Easy peasy! Click on the picture for the recipe!  You won't be disappointed!

I am thankful that we can all be together.  We live in different states and some traveled far to get to our house.  It is a great time to be thankful.  Jesus died for us on the cross and rose from the dead.  How amazing is that?  When hope seems impossible, think about what he did for us and keep praying!  Nothing is impossible!

I am thankful to my followers and want to offer a free lesson for April.  To go along with a spring theme, I am giving away, a free poetry lesson.  Change rain to sunshine in a diamante!  The directions are included so you can place them on a smart board!  The printable would look adorable as a hall display!

Want a chance to win a beautiful customized spring wreath?  My friends and I at Upper Grade Memoirs are giving away this Spring wreath designed by Marina's Custom Designs.  Want a chance to win?  Go to our blog, UPPER GRADE MEMOIRS for a chance to win the customized Spring wreath!  Are they not the cutest ever?

Follow the Upper Grades Memoirs Blog Hop for more Spring Ideas and freebies!  BLOG HOP

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Writing Mini Lesson #20- Dialogue in a Narrative Essay

I hope your students enjoyed our last mini lesson on developing character traits!  

On to dialogue.  Oh dear, dialogue!  My kiddos need this one!  Does all the "he saids" and "she saids" just drive you bonkers or what?

1.  Start off with a song.  I love love love playing the song, You Talk Too Much.  You can find it here- My students giggle every time I play it and they look around the room wondering what it has to do with writing!  He He: 

2.  Go over the poster/slide below on how dialogue should be used.  I like this idea from Janet Fitch:  Find a section in the story where ht characters have a whole conversation, and then cross out the dialogue that is commonplace.  Because, as Fitch says, "A line anybody could say is a line nobody should say."  BRILLIANT!!!!!

3.  Mentor Texts are the bomb when it comes to showing them the appropriate amount of dialogue.  I am sure you have one of these sitting on your library shelf!

How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long
I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child
Quick as a Cricket by Audrey Wood
If Not for the Cat by Jack Prelutsky
My Teacher for President by Kay Winters
To Bathe a Boe by Kudrna

4.  Have students take notes about how to write dialogue in their writing notebooks.


5.  Practice writing dialogue!

More awesome resources on dialogue:


Next writing mini lesson #21- will be on creating conclusion in Narrative Writing!

Like always, 

If you would rather have all of the these mini lessons (over 400 pages) in one spot along with tracking forms, goal forms, prompts, practice sheets, etc, etc.  Click on the pic below!  Boost those test scores with a year-long writing program!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Writing Mini Lesson #19- Developing Characters in a Narrative Essay

I hope you enjoyed the previous lesson on Building Suspense and Climax!  Today you will get ideas on how to teach students to develop characters in a narrative essay.

Developing Character:  Mentor Text:  Rotten Ritchie and the Ultimate Dare by Patricia Polacco

SKITTLE ACTIVITY:  Hand out a skittle to students and assign colors to a character trait or emotion.  Whatever color they receive, they have to tell or write about how to change a character with that trait or emotion.  When they finish, give them a handful!!!

Common Core Standard:  We can apply grade level Reading standards to literature (e.g., "Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text {e.g. a character's thoughts, words, or actions}.")

To write a well-crafter paper, show the development of the characters throughout the story.
*Did they change in any way?
*Were they bossy at the beginning and then caring towards the end?
*Did something happen to cause this damage?

There are two kinds of traits:
1.  Outside traits:  Physical traits that you can actually see.  (blonde, tall, messy hair, dirty clothes)
2.  Inside traits:  How the character feels or acts.  (bossy, lonely, mysterious, thoughtful, clumsy)

This is a great time to read from the book Rotten Ritchie and the Ultimate Dare.  Richie teases his sister Tricia about taking ballet.  Tricia knows how much work it takes so she challenges Ritchie to perform in her ballet recital.  Ritchie agrees, under one condition:  Tricia has to join his hockey team for the big game!  Ritchie's character changes throughout the story as he realizes how difficult it is to perform ballet.

Changes in Ritchie:  Teasing, belittling, disgusting to being respectful towards his sister's hard work.

In the class story, go through the characters and decide on how they can change throughout the story.

Next, students will first brainstorm ideas for their main character.  I love how my students took their time to really develop their characters!  They were instructed to first draw the character, then cut down the middle and glue on edges.  Then open up the face and tell how the main character may change!!!  (think of the plot)

 He He

When students are finished with developing the main character, it is time to work on the other characters in the story!  I usually have my students pick three of them to develop.  How will they change and develop over the course of the story?  This is extremely helpful to keep the interest of the readers and so the readers get to know the characters at a more personal level!

I hope you enjoyed learning how to develop characters!  Next lesson will be using dialogue!

Like always, 

If you would rather have all of the these mini lessons (over 400 pages) in one spot along with tracking forms, goal forms, prompts, practice sheets, etc, etc.  Click on the pic below!  Boost those test scores with a year-long writing program!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Writing Mini Lesson #18- Building Suspense and Climax in a Narrative Essay

Building Suspense and Climax:  Mentor Text:  Cinderella

After discussing the body section of the essay, it is time to develop the suspense and climax- one of my favorite lessons in narrative writing!  

Go back to the roller coaster and focus on suspense and climax.  An author often creates suspense and a climax to a story to keep the readers' interest.  Think of the story Cinderella.  The author increases the suspense when Cinderella shows up to the ball and dances with the prince and it climbs even more when the clock strikes 12 and she loses her shoe!  Oh my!  The climax would be when the prince is looking for the right foot to fit the shoe and Cinderella breaks away from her room and the shoe fits!!!

Group Activity
Divide students up into groups of four.  Place one of the Shared Suspense Writing Prompts below for each student into a cup and pass it around the groups.  

1.  Hurrying to get home on time, they decided to run through the cemetery to get home faster.

2.  Finding a treasure map in the old attic, we decided to follow it.

3.  Her computer kept flickering and the next things she saw.....

4.  My friends kept staring at me in fear.  I turned to look in the mirror to see ....

5.  As the boy was swimming in the ocean, he felt something rub up against him.

6.  My dog started barking in the middle of the night.  I crept down stairs.

7.  On the camping trip, the campers realized they were on the wrong trail.

Each person in the group chooses one prompt.  When you signal to begin, each person writes an introduction paragraph for the prompt.  Give them enough time to write then stop the whole class.  Ask them to pass their paper to the left.  That person needs to read what the previous person wrote and start the next paragraph adding suspense.  The 3rd person needs to build more suspense.  The 4th person writes the climax of the story.  Share within the small group.  (Do not write conclusions.  We will use it later.)

Her is an example for modeling a class story and adding it to the graphic organizer.

Now it is the students turn!  They get in partners to brainstorm suspense and climax for their own stories.  Remind them to decide on three- remember The Power of 3!  They should then add to the previous lesson before filling out the graphic organizer.

I hope you enjoyed learning suspense and climax!  Next lesson will be developing the characters!

Like always, 

If you would rather have all of the these mini lessons (over 400 pages) in one spot along with tracking forms, goal forms, prompts, practice sheets, etc, etc.  Click on the pic below!  Boost those test scores with a year-long writing program!

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