UPDATE: I have several blogging friends that have so generously agreed to donate a product for my giveaway! See the awesome list of bloggers in the comments. Thank you!! I can always use more volunteers too:) I have created this button in anticipation of this giveaway!
We just finished our third full week of school and have gone full swing into implementing three components of Daily 5 (Read to Self, Read to Someone, and Work on Writing). I am linking up with Amanda at Teaching Maddeness and her Friday Flashback Linky.
My 4th grade students have really had a tough time with writing stamina and we have only been working on "easy" writing topics. I started strategies from Step-Up to Writing this week. I love this resource that our district has implemented for about 10 years now! Does anyone else out there use it?
I also made up this writing notebook rubric based on Aimee Buckner's rubric in the Notebook-Know How: Strategies for the Writer's Notebook. Students glued it to the inside cover of their journals to refer to throughout the year. You can see it here at my TPT store.
I plan to use this rubric to grade their journals every 5 weeks. How do you assess your writing journals? I think it will help making students accountable for finishing their entries and taking their CUPS (capitalization, usage, punctuation, and spelling) more serious. They are so relaxed with grammar at this time of year!
We decorated writing journals and they are a big hit. Students really seem to love their journals. You can read about them here. After starting the training for work on writing (expectations, anchor chart, correct/incorrect modeling), we worked on our stamina writing about our names (see post here). I used this book with the lesson:
Next, students wrote about three items from their decorated journal covers and why they are important to them. We also did an entry using this prompt: One time I was in trouble and I really should not have been was... This was based on reading Tales of Fourth Grade Nothing and the part when Peter gets in trouble when Fudge falls off the jungle gym and knocks out his teeth.
So, I just let the students write all three of those times and really work on their stamina. They did improve each time. Then, this past Thursday, we did our first lesson on writing a paragraph using a Step-Up strategy. Students write a topic sentence, reason/facts/details, explain reason/facts/details, and conclusion and highlight each part. The topic sentence and conclusion are green, the reasons are yellow, and when they explain a reason it is highlighted pink.
My 4th graders always struggle the most with their topic sentence (they want to answer the questions and give a lot of details in the first sentence) and the "explains" (pink) are very difficult as well. I posted these notes on the SMART board and I wrote the sample paragraph together with them. I always model coming up with a paragraph "on the spot" and how I erase and change things around that they don't like. We discuss how good writers do that and I also model rereading what I write throughout the process.
The students took notes and copied the "sample" paragraph starting in the back of their journals. I am trying something new this year as suggested in the Notebook Know-How by Aimee Buckner. Students are recording free write journal entries starting in the front of their journals and working their way to the back and they are recording class notes starting in the back of the journal and working their way to the front.
My students were required to write a topic sentence for a paragraph about a hobby of their choice for a ticket out the door. This took more than five minutes for 24 students since many had sentence fragments, run-ons, and were trying to write most of the paragraph in one sentence. We will keep working on it!
Thanks for reading and have a great weekend:) Remember to check back next Saturday for my giveaway!