Friday, June 15, 2012

Sonic, Pt. 2 (Common Core Standards, Anchor Charts, Deconstructing Text, & Utilizing Outlines)

So, I'll try to keep this entry as brief as I can. Don't want to bore any of you out there with too much of my rambling... :) 

Gotta LOVE Phillip Martin Clip Art!
Okay...on Wednesday, I described the beginning process of my students writing their expository report on Sonic. (Researching, Note taking/sorting & mapping/outlining via Webspiration) Today, I'm going going to show the various components we used throughout the writing process of this report:

  • Common Core Standards Posters
  • Anchor Charts (Visual Scaffolds, as our school calls them)
  • Deconstructing Text
  • Utilizing Webspiration Outlines
Common Core Standards Posters
According to the Tennessee Educator Acceleration Model (TEAM), we are expected to have the standards displayed in our room and referenced throughout the lesson. This is quite an undertaking (especially when you teach ALL subject areas to TWO grade levels). So, I created posters to display the Common Core Standards in my room.
Expository Writing CCSS Posters & document projector
At the beginning of every lesson, I pull down the charts and use my handy dandy document projector (which I absolutely LOVE!) to project the standards on my ActivBoard. I have highlighted in yellow dry-erase marker the standards that we are focusing on for that day. 
I ask for volunteers to read the standards of the day. Let me tell y'all...the kids literally crawl over each other for the opportunity! Which is fantastic in my case, being that my students don't like to read. My principal, who came to observe one day, was shocked at how the students were motivated and able to read/understand the complex wording of these standards. (SUCCESS!! :)) After reading the standards, I switch to a flip chart on my ActivBoard that has the day's learning objectives based directly from the standards. We read these together as a class. (I can...) It's great to see the connections students make between the standards and their learning objectives. They learn so much more!

PAT: Visual Scaffold/Anchor Chart
One of the most important things to establish when writing (in my opinion) is motivation. Giving students a real sense of purpose for their writing. So, in my class, we use an anchor chart PAT (Purpose, Audience, Topic). This explicitly states why we are writing this paper and to whom (Chart is reviewed daily)
PAT Anchor Chart
When it comes to my particular group of students, it is so important to emphasize that their work is for a real audience and will be published in some way. In this case, they decided to write and give this report to our school nurse and business manager because they are frequently seen with Sonic food/drinks.

Format of a Paper: Visual Scaffold/Anchor Chart
Format of a Paper Visual Scaffold
I decided to create/use this particular visual scaffold because of how the introduction and conclusion are shaped. (General/Broad to Narrow/Focused and vice versa). The visual shape of them connect directly with how they are signed. <-- Click the link to see for yourself! This really helped the students to fully grasp how an introduction and conclusion is supposed to be written.

I put a strip of Velcro on the body portion of the chart. I did this so the students could get over the preconceived notion that all papers that they write NEED to have 5 paragraphs. This is not always the case... Sometimes you will have 3, 4, or 6 paragraphs (like in this case). On the back of my chart, I have extra Main Idea/Detail Squares on Velcro slots. 
Deconstructing Text
I felt it was important for the students to read and deconstruct a sample of an expository text written by another student. So, I provided them with a sample I got from an online bank and we proceeded to discuss/deconstruct the format of the paper utilizing our visual scaffold/anchor chart. Lots of discussion happened and they seemed to really enjoy this process!
Deconstructed Sample Text
Utilizing the Webspiration Outline
Utilizing their outline they created in Webspiration, the students worked together as a class to write their report. The outline is basically for the body of the paper, so that is what they wrote first. The basic process went like this:
  • I sat at my computer and had Word opened and projected onto my ActivBoard. (I turned off all auto-correcting spelling/grammar features, so students were responsible for locating errors in their writing
  • The students folded their outline to the section we were writing about. They had to create an introduction sentence first. 
  • I would type what a student volunteered EXACTLY as they said it. We would then read/re-read repeatedly (modeling what good writers do) as a class while discussing and making changes to the sentence until it was a good complete sentence.
  • The students highlighted one point/letter at a time on their outline to focus on. Since these were merely notes, they had to read their highlighted point and create a complete sentence from it. 
  • Once the sentence was complete (via reading/re-reading/discussing as a class), they checked it off the list and highlighted the next point.
This was the process we used throughout the entire paper...A brief outline of the SIWI format (Sounds simple, but it's not! :) There is soooooo much more to it, but that is a blog entry for another day! I hope to someday post videos of the process because it really is a wonderful framework...
Folded Outline w/ highlighted points

When it was all said and done, we had a solid 2 page expository report! This is HUGE for my students. They were so excited to give the final product to their audience, who reported back that they really enjoyed their paper! :) Nothing like having real feedback on something that took a lot of work to accomplish! 
Final Product!

More than likely, I will have these students again next year, and I am so excited to build off of this project! Next, they can do paired writing using this same process, and then independent expository writing! Ahhhhhh....can't wait to see what the future holds! :)

Hope I didn't ramble on too much and that there was at least some decent information that y'all got from this :)

Now...I'm off to make lunch & work on some projects! (Will share tomorrow!)


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