Annie - Argument Work, today with Nonfiction!
Annie pointed out that Bend 3 of this Unit has a student choose a topic. She pointed out that the hardest part is having kids find resources. She suggested their choice lead to small groups so together they can share resources. OR if resources seem scarce, she suggested we teach a student how to create and give a survey and how to carry out an interview OR tell them to choose another topic.
Then Annie lead our advance class in one more argument using the text Oh, Rats! by Albert Marrin.
"Rats is a topic that is hotly debated now in NYC, especially after Hurricane Sandy brought many rats out into the open. Some find rats to be DANGEROUS. Some find rats to be HELPFUL. I am going to read-aloud info about rats. Take a minute and set up your notebook to take notes while you listen."
Annie read, I took notes, and then I picked a side. In a small group, 3 of us explained orally how helpful rats are, while three of us strongly shared how dangerous rats are!
"I'm not sure if it is that rats are so dangerous. Let's change the question. Are rats dangerous OR are they just a nuisence? Again, take a moment and get your notebook set up to take notes."
Annie reread some info about rats and then read some new parts. Again, in small groups, we picked a side and shared our debate points. This round really helped me to think about HOW to use evidence to spin or match my position.
Round 3 option:
"Give a group an audience that their debate must convince. For example, tell them to coinvince doctors OR to convince chefs OR members of the World Health Organization. Kids or teachers can role-play to be the audience.
"Albert Marrin is a very convincing author. He uses lots of craft moves to do this. Two pop out to me. He uses structure and he uses word choice. Which move it more powerful? Again, set up for notebook to take notes as I read and reread parts of his book."
Annie reminded us of how to approach argumentation.
1. start with a simplistic difference
2. refine it by changing the question to define the argument more precisely
3. refine it more by debating the craft moves of the author
4. END WITH A FLASH-DRAFT!
By living this debate work with Annie for a week, I am READY to try it often with my 5th grade wrtiers this school year! I'll be sure to check back on this blog to see how they do orally and in writing.
Colleen - Mentor Text
Colleen reminded us that the goal is to get students to be talking about who THEIR mentor is and why they choose that mentor text. The goal is for students to independently choose and use mentor text. "When you write, find a mentor text. See how that author did it and now you try it."
1. Writing Center in the classroom
Access to pens, different kinds of paper, envelops, post-its, highlighters, dictionaries, bi-language dictionaries, different kinds of dictionaries (Websters, picture...) grammar books, etc.
2. Mentor Text Files
Have hanging folders of a variety of genres. Inside have xerox examples of that kind of writing at different levels of reading ready to use and share.
Have Mentor text baskets, former student writing baskets, current student writing baskets, Menotr Author baskets, etc.
4. Charts - be sure to have one where you are annotating the text to learn from it as a mentor
5. Technology - links to authors!
6. Post those in the room who are EXPERTS on _____. Let kids advertise this or create Help Wanted signs. Kids can lead seminars!
We ended with a very powerful CELEBRATION!
"Think back across the week and find a line from a mentor text or something said during the week related to mentor texts. Be sure what you pick is 13 words or less. Thumbs up when you have it."
Then Colleen began by saying: A Mentor Text Poem by the Advanced Section and one by one, we shared our line...our section was large - 40+. Together we created a moving poem to remind us the importance of Mentor text!!
Again, by living Mentor Text with Colleen all week, I can't wait to set up my library using this lens and being sure that I am using mentor text during all the units I teach to my 5th graders. I also plan to use her clebration format sometime during the year!
As I end the week, I return to Lucy's words from Day 1 - We bring who we are - our life's theme - to all we do. All week long, each staff developer and guest author did this so well. Kate Roberts, a new parent, did this. Seymour Simon, a scientist, did this. Carl Anderson, a dad and a writing teacher, did this. I am still reflecting on what my life theme really is. I know it involves books as I constantly read, especially children's literature. It involves being positive because I try to persevere and remain positive when so much stuff isn't so positive. It involves being helpful because I get lots of energy out of encouraging others and helping others to shine brightly. I'll continue to reflect but I know as this school year begins, I want to be transparent to my students and parents. When I share ME, they will get honest teaching!