31 March 2012

By Request...More Persuasive Writing!

So, I have gotten questions about how I introduce students to the structure of the persuasive writing genre and especially about the flipbook I showed a picture of when I shared about the When I Grow Up writing piece. Since persuasive writing has to be my favorite genre of writing to teach...I don't mind sharing more about it!

Prior to persuasive writing, our instructional calendar (I will tell you more about those some other time!) leads us up nicely to this genre. We write narrative pieces in the first quarter and informational/nonfiction pieces in the second quarter. We see how writers organize their ideas by looking at patterns of organization. My kids have a pretty good idea that their writing needs to flow through a beginning, middle, and end, needs details (especially sensory ones), and needs supportive facts. So we have a pretty good foundation taking us into persuasive writing!

Like I told you about before, we take some time becoming familiar with the genre of persuasive writing by looking at some examples. By this point, my students have figured out that this genre is slightly different than narrative and informational and are primed and ready to learn the specifics.

Well, actually my students are more than ready! They are chomping at the bit to start writing and talking people into doing stuff! :) They have already started in their Writer's Notebooks trying to persuade mom and dad to get them dogs, the new PlayStation game, or let them stay up past midnight! So I teach the parts of the persuasive writing piece as we organize one over the course of four days of minilessons.

Day One – I introduce our topic. I use “When I Grow Up,” but really any topic could work! We read How Santa Got His Job. We brainstorm ideas and narrow down to one.

Day Two – I introduce the idea that persuasive writing is formatted differently than other genres of writing we have written earlier in the year.
This is when I introduce the Parts of a Persuasive Writing Piece flipbook
and we assemble it in our Writer’s Notebooks. After all the cutting and gluing is complete, I introduce the first part – strong persuasive leads. I teach my students about 5 different kinds of leads: Unusual Detail, Strong Statement, Quote, Statistic/Fact, and Empathetic Question.
At this point, I introduce the persuasive outline and model how I create a strong persuasive lead.

At the end of the minilesson, I give the kiddos their own outline and send them off to work on their own persuasive lead. While they begin creating, I move around the room to conference with students.

Day Three – Introducing the body. I require my students to have at least 3 reasons to support their point of view. Each reason needs 2 pieces of evidence to support it. As we are learning during this first piece, I don’t require research-based evidence, but I do in later pieces.

Once again, I model this on the outline before I send students off to work independently. I don’t expect these to be complete in one day (actually they shouldn’t be if they are putting thought into it!)

Day Four – Introducing the conclusion. I show my students three ways to conclude their pieces. Again, I model concluding my piece on the outline, and students are released to work on their reasons and conclusions.

So...that is how I teach about the parts of a persuasive piece. I follow up these minilessons with ones about strong evidence, taking the piece from outline to first draft, adding good supportive details, and, of course, revising, editing, and publishing. I hope this gives you a good look at how I introduce this genre of writing. You can find the outline, flipbook, and presentation I use in my Teacher’s Notebook shop.

29 March 2012

Be a Blabber Mouth

I have to share the most fabulous little technology tool I just found out about.  It is called Blabberize, and here is what it does...

So my little blabber isn't the best, but I can already think up so many uses for this! 
  • character book reports
  • biography book reports
  • figures from history or science
  • animal reports
What do you think?  I need to play around with it some more to find out how long you can record, but I definitely see myself using Blabberize with my class in the future!

28 March 2012

Lunchbox Linky

Tara at Fourth Grade Frolics is sponsoring her first linky!  What a fun idea to show off what’s in your lunch!  I’m excited to take part because I enjoy a good linky and showing of my lunch keeps me accountable to the sensible eating I’m trying to do!

I eat lunch at 12:48-1:18.  We are lucky enough to have duty-free lunch at my school, so, once I get my kiddos through the lunch line and settled, I get to eat in the teacher workroom across the hall.  I enjoy eating with my teacher friends and having a little adult time!
Here is my lunchbox...

It was Christmas gift from a student whose mom is a Thirty-one consultant.  You also see my 24oz. Tervis tumbler.  My Tervis is always nearby no matter where I am!

My lunch will vary from a sandwich, to leftovers, to a salad.  Some days I buy from school (it is hard to resist the popcorn chicken!) Here is what I have today...

Wow, that is a lot of plastic there!  The Glad container is one of their salad bowls with a little cup that pops into the lid to hold dressing.  Inside is baby spring mix lettuce and lite raspberry vinaigrette dressing.  I put toppings on my salad including cut strawberries, fat-free crumbled feta, and glazed walnuts (a fabulous new find!).  See my cute, little knife and fork...Potterybarn Kids but bought on eBay!

Here is my salad all mixed together...

Yummy!  Satisfies the sweet and crunchy without all that guilt!!!  You can also see the new sweet treat I found...Skinny Cow Heavenly Crisp tastes like a Little Debbie Nutty Bar but less fat and calories.

So, that’s today’s lunch...I am going to try to keep it as healthy tomorrow! J

P.S. Thursday is the last day before Spring Break!  Whoo hoo!

19 March 2012

When I Grow Up...

In my classroom right now, we are finishing up a persuasive writing unit before we dive into test prep.  Leading up to actually writing our own pieces, we spent a great deal of time actually studying the genre of persuasive writing.  We looked at examples...
 compared texts...

and learned about how the format is different is different from other genres.
Once we learned all about the genre of persuasive writing, I started the students with their first big piece.  There are a couple persuasive writing pieces that I do during this unit, but this first one has to be my favorite.  I read the students the book, How Santa Got His Job by Stephen Krensky. (Such a cute book...doesn’t have to be just a holiday read!)

I challenge the students to persuade me of what job/career they should have.  When writing a persuasive piece, I require my students to give me at least three reasons to support their side or argument and at least two pieces of evidence to support each reason.  To help them complete this task, students complete an outline of sorts.
I then model for the students taking the piece from this outline, adding details, and building it into a writing piece.  Finally, we revise and edit our pieces and get ready to publish.
In past years, the students typed up their pieces, printed them out, and that was that.  This year, I found a little Pinterest inspiration from Alexandra Thiessen at The First Grade Sweet Life.  She had the cutest President’s Day persuasive writing piece that she did with her students last year.
Once I saw it, I knew I had to adapt this idea for my fourth graders!
I created some patterns for heads, arms, and hairstyles, but my students took the rest of it and ran!  (Luckily right now, I have student teacher who calls herself the human die-cut machine which helped a lot too!)  They turned out so cute!  Amazingly, they really look like them too!  Here are some of the cutest...
And here they are altogether...
Aren’t they adorable?

Do you like my persusive writing organizer?  You can find it in my Teacher's Notebook store!  Click on the link below...

18 March 2012

My St. Patrick's Day Treats

With only four weeks (not counting Spring Break) until our state testing, I can feel my teammates getting stressed.  In my district, fourth graders must pass all five sections of the C.R.C.T. in order to be promoted.  For my team and I that is usually not a problem.  This year's group of fourth graders is...let's just say...challenging!  We also have more pressure at my school to have students not only pass the test but exceed standards.  Eeek!

Since it was St. Patrick's Day anyway...I decided to surprise my teammates with a little treat to let them know that I'm thinking of them.  I found a treat on Pinterest for some inspiration from "It Is What It Is."  I followed her directions, but I created my own tag because I wanted the wording a little bit different from what Beth has available for download.
I think mine may have turned out just as cute as hers!  The gold at the bottom are Rolos candies then layers of M&Ms (I think M&Ms is still running low on red from Valentine's Day...barely had enough to make all my treats!)  I made enough not only for my teammates but also my nephew's teachers as well.  (Can you believe that cute little basket is from the Dollar Spot at Target!?!  Love Target!)

17 March 2012

Oh no...I forgot!

I am joining my first Linky Party.  This one is for upper grade teachers at...
Click the picture above to go check out this blog! :)

Exciting things in the works!

It has been a while since I have posted...1) because being a mentor teacher to a student teacher is hard work (even if she is fabulous!) and 2) my grandmother is has been sick so I have been helping my mom out.  All that being said, between home and school there has been no time!

But today, I went to a fabulous little conference that got me really excited!  My school system has for years had an online high school campus, but now they are in the process of developing a middle grades online program to start next year and an 4th and 5th grade elementary program to start the year after that.  Well, I was selected to be part of the development team for the elementary school program!  I thought I knew a lot about intergrating technology--but boy do I have tons to learn!

Hopefully I will get to share some of the new technology ideas and resources that I learn--my favorite one so far I just got on Friday--
iSpring is an add-on for PowerPoint.  It converts your presentation into a Flash file, so it may be viewed by anyone without PowerPoint.  I am trying to figure out how to post an example.  But it really is easy to use!  I know I am going to be able to use it with my students to publish their PowerPoint presentations.

Speaking of exciting things in the works...I have posted more to my Teacher's Notebook store! 
I am going to post my first free item--it will support the Exploration Passport that I posted today.

Enjoy your Saturday!


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