Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Better Beginnings

Today we worked on lead sentences in our writing.  I always find the starting of a new writing piece to be a challenge for students who feel like their writing voice does not sound like the author voice in books they read.

We have been working on an animal research project inspired by Jan Brett’s “The Mitten”.  The students chose one of the animals in the book to research on PebbleGo (one of my favorite sites for young learners). Now that they have collected their facts, they are going to start an informational writing piece.

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I pulled several non-fiction texts on animals from our classroom library to investigate how published authors start their writing pieces.  We found they used:

  • Questions
  • Description
  • A Story

Then we pretended I was researching frogs (I have a decent collection of frog items in the room). And we thought about how I could begin my writing to capture my readers’ attention. We brainstormed ideas from each of the categories.

Then I had students think about their own animals and share how they thought they would begin their pieces.  This inspire a bunch of thinking about writing!  Students went back to their seats with their writing paper and could ONLY write a beginning sentence. Wow!  Was that tricky! 

Students who wanted to share their beginnings got the *microphone* to share their best beginnings!

I loved this lesson – it was a simple one that didn’t require a bunch of prep work, but it was so effective!  Plus, pulling books from our very own class library show students they can learn something from everything they read – all author’s are mentors!

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