Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Writing Mini Lesson #3- Fragments

I hope your students caught onto mini lesson #2- complete sentences!  Although I go over and over and over this same skill all year, students still will ask if they need to write in complete sentences.  Really?  I love this meme!

I am still laughing!!!!  I show my students some of the memes I come across or create!

It is time for a FRAGMENT lesson.  Bless your little heart!  Oh yeah that is the image for fragments- a broken heart!  As a whole group, we review yesterday's COMPLETE SENTENCES lesson and then discuss the meaning of a fragment.

After students understand the meaning of a fragment, they add the printable to their notebook.  I have students paste the title at the top along with the standard.  We always write before we color, cut and paste!  Students take notes and fill in the chart with their examples.  We like to create flippy flaps so we paste the chart first, then place the heart rectangle over top by just gluing the top.

If students need more practice, have them create 5 fragments and exchange it with a shoulder partner.  Have that partner make them complete sentences!  Share with whole group!  Then I like to have independent practice to see if each student understands fragments and complete sentences.

Last, give the students a daily grade!

I hope this helps you in your classroom!

Stay tuned for Writing Mini Lesson #4-  Run-ons!


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Writing Mini Lesson 2- Complete Sentences

Are you ready for the next writing mini lesson?  I hope your class enjoyed lesson 1- brainstorming!  Mini Lesson 2 is Complete Sentences.  I suggest to teach paragraph writing at the beginning of the year.  This way students will have a good foundation of complete sentences when writing in journals and reading responses.  I teach complete sentences using an interactive notebook.  I like the students to create foldables and flaps.  

BEST WAY TO GLUE IN INTERACTIVE NOTEBOOKS:  When using liquid glue, tell students to only use dots and space them about an inch apart.  They need very little glue. 

Do you like to have fun in your classroom?  Do you like music?  


Teaching Instructions for Complete Sentences: 

1.   As a whole group using the information on the poster, teach students that the subject is a noun (person, place, or thing) and a predicate is a verb (action or linking).  I like to present them with a visual for each mini lesson.  For complete sentences, I use PB and J for peanut butter and jelly.  We all know that you can't have that perfectly delicious sandwich without one or the other, right?  Well you can't have a complete sentence without a subject OR a predicate! I also explain complete subjects and complete predicates.  The group of words that go along with the subject is the complete subject and the group of words that go along with the predicate is the complete predicate.  

2.  In groups, students work in their notebooks.  I always say to write first!  Then color, cut, and paste.  They use the information presented to them to fill out their printable.  After pieces are cut out, they are to place the title and standard at the top of the page.  Then the bottom half is glued on the page.  Last, I show students how to only glue the top of the PB and J square and glue it over the chart so they can flip it up and see their notes.

3.  Have students apply their knowledge.  Write a paragraph (no less than 5 sentences) of their choice and switch with their shoulder partners (person who sits next to them) to underline the subject and circle the predicate in each sentence.  We like to use two different colors of pens for this activity!

4.  Share some of the student-made sentences and/or paragraphs with the class.

5.  Assess or monitor their knowledge with an Independent printable.

I hope this helps your class learn to write in complete sentences! 

USEFUL TIP:  When writing responses to questions, have students repeat part of the question in their answer.  For example:  Why did Mary show Dickon the garden?  Mary showed Dickon the garden because..........  This will help them write complete sentences!

Next up:  Fragments!


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Writing Mini Lesson 1- Brainstorming for Interactive Notebooks

Hello all!  It is a crisp fall morning here in the Carolinas and boy does it feel good to get away from the heat!  This will be good for my hot flashes too!  Ha!  I apologize for my absence here.  I've missed younz'all!  (yes that is a combo of Pittsburgh and the south).  For any newcomers out there, I mainly blog about writing but throw in some Social Studies and organizing tips along the way!  I am a northerner living in the south.  My southern friends crack me up daily with their sayings and expressions so of course after living here for fifteen years, I've picked some of them up.  I put a little Pittsburgh twist to them though.  Ha!  I am planning out a series of writing workshop mini lessons for my blog.  This is the first of many!!!!! So if you need ideas, follow along!  The first one is about brainstorming for the year.  This will give students ideas throughout the year whenever they are in a rut and can't think of what to write about in their notebook.  Enjoy and see ya next time for writing mini lesson 2- Paragraph writing- Complete Sentences!  ROCK 'N' WRITE!
Writing Discussion and Brainstorming

As a whole group, discuss the following questions and write on a chart.  What do writers do?  Why are writing notebooks important?  (write thoughts, share stories, resource, personal)

Brainstorming Ideas:
Here are some things you may add to your idea’s section of your notebook.  This will set the stage for the year and give them a place to go to find things to write about.  I would suggest to either do an Interest Inventory or the following:

1.Heart:  Have students cut out the heart and fill it with words that tell what they love.  Use the poster to help them think of ideas.

2.Question Mark:  Have students cut out the question mark and have them fill it with things that want to know.

3.House-  List family members.  Don’t limit it to members who live with them!  Around the house, list things that their family does together…weekends, summer, mornings, evenings…etc.

4.I-  This is a page where they can tell more about themselves.  “I am”

5.Trace hand.-  Use the hand or have students trace their hand.  List a feeling on each finger and one on palm.  Write examples of when they felt that way.  Use the Feelings Poster.

6.Treasure Map- Draw a picture of their yard or favorite place.  Mark an x by a place where they have a favorite memory.



There are two columns for tracking. “First” and “Second”. If they retest or you decide to reteach the whole class, they can record their second score. I like to give them their percentages except on the bigger writing pieces that have rubrics. Then I have them write down their rubric number 5, 3, or 1. They can easily see their strengths and weaknesses which is helpful when they develop their goals for their next writing piece.   CLICK HERE to get the page below.  I have others for Opinion Writing and Informative Writing!  They will be later in the mini lesson series!

Stay Tuned:  Next up is Writing Mini Lesson 2- Complete Sentences

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Teaching Techniques for Writing

Techniques for Teaching Writing

In order to have an effective writing program, it is important to use a variety of teaching techniques.

Modeled Writing
Use the think-aloud strategy-  Talk aloud as you are writing so students can hear your thought process.  Link to their prior knowledge.  Use the resources around the room.

Work with the students on a piece of writing.  Collaborate with students and scribe for them.  You may use this technique in large or small group settings.  It is very effective in all subject areas.  Always display the finished product in the class so students can use it as a resource.

This technique is similar to shared writing except the teacher and students share the pen.  It is helpful for reluctant writers!

Small-group setting then apply the skill through independent writing.  It is used for reteaching skills previously taught to students who are struggling with that particular skill.  This skill works well across the curriculum.

Students work with a partner or group of students to create a piece of writing together.


Students write on their own.  It may be teacher-selected or chosen by the student.  Keep in mind that independent writing should follow a lesson on a skill.   It should not always be comprised of going through the whole writing process.  This allows them to develop their writing skills, take risks, and be creative.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Hall Display to Last through the Year!

Boy oh boy has it been a busy beginning of the year!  Our school got ipads this year and every single second I am not teaching, I am working on that ipad to find amazing resources for my kiddos.  Overwhelmed?  That's an understatement!  And I love technology!  I just feel like I am starting over in a new grade or new school or something.  Ok, enough of my complaining.  I see the violins coming out.

Check this out!  My grade level was brainstorming ideas to put out in the hall for back to school.  In addition we were talking about putting up a background paper with the students name or something to keep up for the year where we can add their current papers.  With all kinds of nifty ideas throwing around this is what we decided.

1.  I used Whimsey Workshop clipart of a boy and girl and I erased part of their head so students could form their own.



2.  Then I added a cute frame and space to write an acrostic poem.  Students had to draw and color themselves and write an acrostic poem using their name.

3.  Then we took pictures of the kids and pasted them on a short piece of paper.  Students had to brainstorm numbers and words that represented them.

4.  We glued both pieces of work onto a long 12 X 18 piece of construction paper and laminated.

5.  Next we took four paperclips and put them a 1/4 inch above and inside each corner.  That way we can add current papers.  We taped the back to keep them in place.

6.  Last we put them up in the hall!

This is what it looks like when you add a new assignment:

When we take the assignment down and don't have a current paper to put in the hall, it will still look decorated!  Genius right?  I love looking at their drawings of themselves and comparing it to their actual photo.  I have some artists in here!  Toats Adorbs.  What does that mean?  That is my teenager's language for totally adorable!  What do you put in the hall at the beginning of the year?

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Blast Off Giveaway!

Three... two... one.... BLASTOFF!

I am thrilled to be officially launching a new collaborative blog today!  We are 12 Upper elementary educators with a wide variety of expertise.  We hope you will visit often to take a peek at the snapshots taking place in our classrooms (and to see what you might want to bring into your classroom)!

Go to UPPER ELEMENTARY SNAPSHOTS.  We invite you to take a look around!

...Check out our freebie page to find some resources to use in your classroom!
...Follow our Pinterest board and Facebook page to see more daily snapshots!
...Keep reading to see our first two blog posts!

Finally, don't forget to enter our first giveaway for the opportunity to win oodles of useful upper elementary resources!

Thanks for stopping by!   Rock it out!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Using Notability App

NOTABILITY AND IPAD GIVEAWAY!!!!  Do you want to learn about Notability and enter to win an iPad mini?  This is for you!!!  My rockin Lesson Deli girls have teamed up to offer not only 16 incredible apps, but their expertise to go along with it!  Oh and let's not forget that since we are talking techie, we are raffling off an iPad mini so you can see what these apps can do for you and your classroom!  

Are you familiar with Notability?  If not, you need to check it out!
Notability is awesome to use in the classroom.  I teach 4th grade and this is our first year with 1:1 technology.  All my students have an iPad.  Reluctant at first, I decided just to dive into it and try things out.  We had a few bumps along the way but the app is amazing!  Students can take notes, record, upload pictures and documents, draw, write, make text boxes, highlight, etc etc.  I either email or place a document in my dropbox.  Student upload it into Notability.  Once it is in there, they can manipulate it.  I especially like that they can take notes and highlight text.  Our latest upload was a Native American chart.  Students create a text box in each box of the chart and write their notes.  Some liked writing instead.  They would zoom in to write so they could fit it all in the box.  Some change their screen to black and write with light color (I didn't even show them that tool!)  They are so excited about using the iPads that they explore on their own.

How did we manage the notes?  We created "DIVIDERS" for each subject.  Then we created "SUBJECTS" for each divider.  For example, under Social Studies, we have a subject for Native Americans.  They can create as many notes as we need and label each one.  It has been a fantastic tool for our first work.  I send them the .pdf and they can write answers directly on it.  Now I haven't felt completely comfortable in grading so if I am grading something, I may have them read and manipulate text on Notability but provide an answer sheet for their answers.  This chart you see above is going to be used for an open notes test on Native Americans.  It is saving us paper and engaging the students!  Now that you are excited to see what Notability to do for you and your class, enter our contest and win an iPad mini!  

See all the other amazing Lesson Deli blogs and their favorite apps below!

What is your favorite app????

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