Annie - Literary Essay Unit
We were reminded that the Argument Protocol practice yesterday, along with being great life skills, is the baseline for helping kids to generate ideas to turn into a Literary Essay - reading-thinking-talking-acting-writing.
1. Generating Ideas: Annie showed us lots of student notebook examples where students placed their thinking on the page. All were different yet all included evidence from the text, reflection, and evidence across the whole book. We saw a web with book theme as the middle, sketches of important objects in the book, a letter a student wrote to the character, a diary entry written by the student as if they were the character and an emotional timeline of one character through the whole book. Then we tried it and she shared a few of ours. I especially loved the page of ripples one of the participants made based on Each Kindness that listed times the character was unkind and the thinking about if she had been kind. Anne reminded us that this reading work can live in RW or during Read-aloud and the thinking, talking, and writing needs to be placed somehow in the notebook so it can be used during the Literary Essay Unit.
2. Choose an idea - write a thesis
Annie's tips included picking an idea that can be backed up with multiple pieces of evidence and to also see if the idea holds throughout the book. If not, maybe the phrasing can be revised. We tried this by using the boxes and bullets structure in a few ways: reasons, times when, ways/kinds, changes in the character as beg/middle/end, and the theme/lesson learned by character A/B/C. Annie reminded us that the students will sometimes list evidence as a bullet so we need to help them make each bullet be a category and then place the evidence under each category. She also said they may need help keeping all three bullets parallel. This means if they are stating three reason, all must be reasons and not one a reason, one a times when and one about another character. The essay structure must be parallel.
3. Gathering Evidence
She suggested we be creative in our notebooks to hold onto all this evidence. Some might put a bullet at the top of a notebook page and as evidence is found, add it. Some may use the folder system used in the essay unit. Some may use post-its to sort into piles. Evidence can be quotes, actions, descriptions, Include all possible and then during the revision phase, the best can be picked.
Colleen - Mentor Text
Today we had Colleen's Mentor, Katie Wood Ray who authored Wonderous Woods, with us in spirit. Colleen shared the protocol that Katie explains in this book to use and we tried it out with Each Kindness.
1. We enjoyed a first reading of this book and had a class discussion
2. We revisited the book using an organizer to find the following:
*What are some of our favorite parts of the piece our author wrote? (the good writing)
*Why do we think the author decided to write like that? What does it do to make the piece better?
*What do we wnat to name this move?
*Have we seen anoher author write this way? Where? Give an example.
The rest of the class was so interesting! Being in an advanced section of 45 people, all advanced and all so smart, we had quite the discussion of the great piece of writing!!
3. We ended by starting to focus on a particular part - structture, meaning, Craft, Genre, and Conventions. Colleen's handout listed all the lens with questions to consider. SInce we are finishing this on Day 3, I'll add those questions tomorrow in my post. Be sure to come back tomorrow!
Closing Workshop - Shana Frazin with input from Ryan Scala (a friend of mine who I just found out join the Project as a Staff Developer!!) on Ways to Use the Writer's Notebook
Shana started by reading-aloud a Ralph Fletcher except called What is a Writers Notebook, Anyway? Brilliant writing and now added to my list of things to share with my students during the 1st week of school. I recommend you finding it and adding it too!
We turned and talked about WHY have a notebook and she discussed showing past notebooks at the start of the year to students and having them chart what a notebook is and isn't. (something I plan to do!) She reminded us that our notebook is just like pintress, the place to pin and collect artifacts. It is the place to exercise our writing muscle and take risks and as the girl in Lucy's video said on Monday, it is just for you. "When you write, it's you. It's yours."
Then Shana shared five goals of what a Writing Notebook can be:
1. Notebooks Support Writers in Creating an Identy as a Writer:
She suggested using Fletcher's idea of sketching out a map of where stories in your life can take place - a setting map. She added the idea of revisiting this throughout the year. During the NF Unit, generate ideas about what I can teach about this place and during Opinion Writing jot about why each place matters (playgrounds matter because...)
She suggested we teach kids to create plans in their notebook. Today as a writer I will... and then tell your partner your plan. She suggested looking on www.twowritingteachers.wordpress.com to find Stacey's post about Plan Boxes. She also suggested that maybe part of the notebook be tabbed to be the place were kids work on their independent writing projects. We don't ant them have a mindset that they write for school. Instead, we want them to use the notebook to be the place were they write for life!
3. The only mistake you can make is to NOT write
The notebook should be a support to help create a habit of writing. She suggested as a way to show expected volume, to have a 3 minute writing smack-down. Let's see who can write more in 3 minute - you or me. Ready GO! After 3 minutes, count the lines of writing. Now multiply that by 10. This is the number of lines you should strive to write daily. What a great way for writers to "see" how much they should be writing!
4. Work on Writing Craft
She showed this sentence - I watched my mother comb her hair. She called this a sentence that anybody could write. Now try it again, adding the precise details of YOUR story. It became: I studied my mom as she lifted the blue plastic pick to her curls. (now that is a sentence that only Shana can write!) The notebook can also be the place to add photos of anchor charts and have a strategy pocket to hold artifacts.
5. Fall in Love with Revision
She challenged us to create a culture of revision in our classrooms. As a teacher, I need to provide toolkits and strategies and model these well so revising is then done by my students! Her great analogy was our writing can be vacuuming the rugs and dusting the shelves OR it can be Extreme-Makeover WW Edition! When we just change a word or add a word, we are just dusting. Instead, kids need revise a story into a complete makeover!
Beginning of the year idea: the kids will begin to generate an idea after the minilesson. After 5-7 minutes, interrupt and ask them to turn the page and generate a dffierent idea. After another 5-7 minutes, do it again. This teaches them that as a writer I am to collect LOTS of ideas and this sets them up to do that!
Keynote: Lester Laminack
What a character!!! He had me laughing and laughing!! I also want to read Many-Stories House by George Ella Lyon which he read from. AND I want to read Lester's book!