We used a sample Smarter Balanced Test item to get ready for a persuasive essay on service animals. We read through three texts, annotated for evidence and then rehearsed for our writing using a Fishbowl.
In a Fishbowl, students sit in a circle with several students in the middle. Participants share ideas around a topic and if someone in the middle needs help or has run out of ideas, they will replace themselves with someone from the outside.
Since returning from our Thanksgiving Break, we have taken a very close look at the personal narrative with an emphasis on point of view. Students can be pretty adept at identifying first person from third person point of view and even third person limited from third person omniscient. Understanding and analyzing how point of view impacts a story is an entirely different endeavor and this is why taking so much time with it.
Students are reading rich personal narratives and are also writing their own. They may have been asking about the history of their name and we will be turning what they learn into a graphic essay.
Although we are unable to do it as frequently as I like, we did fit in another Author’s Chair this morning. Author’s Chair is a chance for students to share a completed work and hear feedback from their classmates. Some students wrote a text-based response to Cisneros’ Eleven, others about compromising who we are to maintain friendships, and some following a lesson and the mentor text Dog Breath.
Today we set-up our Google Classroom. Our first project involved using Google Docs to help us with taking our draft pieces of writing through the writing process and into publishing. Google Classroom also helped us with greater classroom flexibility and differentiation.
Students all have secure usernames and passwords and can continue working on their writing at any time. (This includes at home!) Moreover, I will always have access to what they are doing and I will be able to provide feedback.
Today we shared some of our writing during Author’s Chair. Over the last six weeks, we have been putting an emphasis on clearly establishing a situation/topic/problem with a strong introduction, well-sequenced events, and a satisfying conclusion.
The Author’s Chair is an opportunity to share writing and receive positive feedback from classmates.