Paragraphs in the Writing Process

I have found that teaching writing as a process had helped my students 'flourish' as writers!  It has even helped me as a teacher and author!  I almost always start any writing project with a graphic organizer similar to the ones below. We use these brain maps all the time - either together as a class, in small groups, or individually.  It so helps us to get our thoughts organized.



I have found that teaching writing as a process had helped my students 'flourish' as writers!  It has even helped me as a teacher and author!  I almost always start any writing project with a graphic organizer similar to the ones below.
We use these brain maps all the time - either together as a class, in small groups, or individually.  It so helps us to get our thoughts organized.

After we have our Pre-Write brain map filled out, we are ready for the next step in the writing process  - the Rough Draft.  Again, these graphic organizers make it so easy for students (and teachers :)) to start developing the writing piece.  I have included lots of organizers for different genres of writing, as well as different levels to scaffold and differentiate for your students' needs. 
These transition words are perfect for writing focus wall or pocket chart.

COPS & ARMS have made Editing and Revising are so much easier to learn for my students - and so much easier to teach!  
I have included 2 styles of Rubrics using these acronyms for each step.   One rubric is for editing or revising with a partner, and the other is for editing and revising individually.

Students love this last step of the writing process, Publishing!  They love it because they have put in so much effort and their writing piece and are proud to publish.
I consider sharing as part of the Publishing Process - the students love to share what they have created!  Here are a few ways that we have shared in my classroom.
Read with a Partner
Read in Small Groups
Read to the Class
Read to Parent
What are some ways you have your students share their writing?


I was frequently frustrated when we were having one of those dynamic discussions that would be a perfect springboard into a writing project - but I did not have a class set of graphic organizers at my fingertips.  I know we could have created our own, however, sometimes there just was not the TIME to do that with second graders.
So one summer I worked to organize my writing resources, using the resources from this pack.  I made a class set of the graphic organizers for each step.  After I set it up, I had a parent helper keep it stocked for us.
I'm so OCD that this makes my heart happy to just see the picture!  :)

I hope you get this off your wish list and into your classroom!
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Reading Fluency with an App

Hi Sweet Friends, I want to share a great way to help your students 'flourish' in their reading fluency - using technology!

Reading fluency is an important building block in the development of a strong reader.
Research shows that the more a passage is read, the more fluent the reader becomes.  (We don't need the research to know that ;))
There are a many ways to motive students to do this repeated reading -
  • Reader's Theater
  • Poetry
  • Choral Reading
  • Student-Adult Reading
  • Partner Reading
  • (I'm sure you can think of more!)
I want to share another way that I have found highly motivating to my students - using a recording app on a digital device.  Oh. my. goodness!  They love recording their own little voices!  They love listening to their voices, and they love to share their recordings with others.

I was blessed with a class set of iTouches - so we use the build in recording app, but you can use any recording app that is on your device, or go the the app store to find one.  I just use the free one- it works great for my second graders.
You are going to want to choose reading passages at your students' level.  I have used the small readers in my basal series, close reading passages, and resources from my favorite expert on reading fluency, Timothy Rasinsky.



He has created these for many grade levels, which makes it super easy to differentiate for our students' various reading levels.

He has included a CD, so students are able to listen to the passage first.



Students record their assigned passage using a recording app.

Students listen to their reading, following the text with their finger.  This helps them to really focus on each word - which builds and strengthens their sight word vocabulary.

As your students listen to themselves (and they love to listen to themselves!), they will 'grade' their reading using a rubric.  
Even though there is a place for them to record their time - the rubric emphasizes that 'rate' is just one characteristic of fluent reading - not too fast - not too slow.
This is the rubric I created to use with my second graders.
(If you would like a copy, just click on the picture to download.)


I like to then send the reading material home so that they can 'practice' for their second recording that they will make the next day.

The next day, students repeat steps 1-3 with the same reading passage.

As with anything we publish, it's important to share it with others.  (It is also important that the students know that their recordings will be listened to.  I provide a variety of ways for them to share - and I like to mix it up every week.
  • Share their best recording (hopefully the 2nd Reading) with a buddy.
  • Volunteers share their recordings with class.
  • E-mail me their best recording.
  • Schedule weekly conferences with your students to listen together and discuss their reading fluency.  I like to have a copy of the student's Reflection Rubric to use in this discussion.
I have taught for many years, and used dozens of different fluency programs, and this method tops them all!  I have seen amazing growth in my student's fluency - and they love it!

I hope you will try using a recording app with your students!
If you have any questions, just leave it in the comments and I will be delighted to help in any way I can.

Happy Teaching!

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Reflect & Refresh {Part1}

Hey Friends!  Summer is upon us and a perfect time to reflect on our year, while it is still fresh in our minds and hearts.  This is actually the end of the first year that I have not been in the classroom (after teaching for over 40 wonderful years!)
These are my reflections from the summer before my last year in the classroom.
My summer projects were always the Solutions 
that I hoped would solve my Frustrations.

COMMUNICATON

PROBLEM: I don't know about you, but some students knew all my 'Frustration Buttons'!  Once I was in that mode, I ceased to be effective in solving the problem at hand, or modifying the misbehavior of the 'Button Pusher'.

SOLUTION: I came up with an acronym that helped me break out of my ineffective habit responses to my difficult students.

B.L.E.S.S.


B - Breathe.  
I know this may sound silly, but in a tense situation our breathing gets very shallow - and that cuts off oxygen to our brain.  So take 2-3 deep breaths.  (That also provides us with a few moments to think before we react.)
L - Listen
Listen to the offender (briefly)
If there are 'witnesses' that have input - listen.
E - Enquire
Ask the Lord for wisdom for the situation.
 S - Smile
A smile relaxes you and lets the offender that you are not angry -
disappointed but not angry.
S - Say
"I'm sorry you chose to ____.  When you made that choice, you also chose the consequences of that choice."
If you have rules and consequence posted you could refer to that.

{Click on the picture if you would like this BLESS poster}
Challenging Students


CONTENT

PROBLEM: I was frequently frustrated when we were having one of those dynamic discussions that would be a perfect springboard into a writing project - but I did not have a class set of graphic organizers at my fingertips.  I know we could have created our own, however, sometimes there just was not the TIME to do that with second graders.
SOLUTION:  I worked throughout the summer to organize my writing resources, using the 'Writing Process' model.  I made a class set of the graphic organizers for each step.


ORGANIZATION - Classroom Management

PROBLEM: I was frustrated with the way our day started out.  I thought I had explained clearly to my students what they were to do first thing in the morning.  I had lunch count and attendance to do, kids were constantly interrupting me with, "What do I do now?"
SOLUTION: Projecting a slide every morning totally transformed our mornings!  Students were now self-directed and took responsibility for what they needed to do.
Morning Work Slides
If you have a LCD projector and Powerpoint on your computer you may want to give this a try.
All of the text boxes are editable - so you can add what you like each day!
{Just click on the image above to download this editable PowerPoint.}

MY BIG SUMMER PROJECT

When I was in the classroom, my summer projects would be the 'Solutions' to the 'Frustrations' that I had identified after school was out for summer.  All the 'Solutions' above were done summer before my last year in the classroom.
This summer, my BIG SUMMER PROJECT is to organize my home office.  Transitioning between classroom teacher and TpT resource author is requiring a lot of reorganization of my home office space.  
I think I am a hoarder at heart - and find it really hard to give away my precious children's books and teacher resources.  But I am determined to be firm with myself this summer and do some purging.

I hope we are inspiring you to reflect on your year - treasure the special moments with your students - and make plans to make your next year even better!
Every year you are in your classroom should be 
YOUR BEST YEAR EVER!



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