October 12, 2012 by k. liz
I promise, I’m still working on this whole schedule, getting into the swing of things thing. It’s coming. I’ve felt a bit overwhelmed recently, but I think that things are going to start settling soon. I hope. 🙂
I wanted to share an activity with you that went really well in my writing class this week. We have been working on biographies and process writing (which I realize is not everyone’s preferred writing activity, but it is school policy, and I actually think that there are some really beneficial aspects to it. Let me know your thoughts in the comments section – are you a process, product, or combination writing teacher?)
The main points we have been focusing on this week are: 1) Title 2) Main Idea Sentence 3) Details, and 4) Conclusion. I have also been reminding my students that for this paragraph, they need to use 1) past tense 2) time expressions and 3) correct time order in their paragraphs. So, I used this activity near the beginning of the Unit and we wrote a paragraph together.
Time: 1 lesson (45 minutes)
1. After some discussion about biographies and activating the students knowledge of the topic, I showed the video above. It is an introduction to the movie UP by Pixar. It is the love story of Carl and Ellie, but there is no speaking or words. We watched the video twice, and I had the students write down any verbs that they noticed during the film.
2. After brainstorming the verbs, I had the students turn those verbs into past tense sentences.
3. Next, I let the students call out their sentences and I wrote them on a Word Document projected onto the board.
4. After we had a decent amount of sentences (between 10-15), I had them look through to see if there were any grammar errors.
5. Once they were corrected, I had them look at the sentences to determine if they were written in correct time order (because the students were calling out sentences, some of them were out of order, which I was glad for, because I wanted to make sure that they could notice this and correct it.)
6. We put the sentences in correct time order, and then I put them into paragraph form, rather than line by line sentences.
7. Once it looked like a paragraph, we went through it and added in time expressions (After . . . Then . . . Later . . ., etc)
8. Finally, I had the students write a main idea sentence, concluding sentence, and title.
At the end, they had a really good paragraph, but we got there together. No one was overwhelmed with the task of writing a biography, and since then they have gotten more and more comfortable with writing their own paragraphs.
Have you used this tactic in your class? What other tactics do you use to minimize the task of writing to a more manageable activity?
Have a great Friday!!