Archives for November 2015

More Expository Writing Samples

We finally finished up our third expository writing pieces.  This time, we wrote about our role models.

We started off by looking at some mentor leads in Gretchen Bernabei’s book, Fun Size Academic Writing.  I asked my students to put a star by their favorite one and try it out in their own writing.  Wow!  They are SOOO powerful!

**Updated: We used this structure: Who I admire, Internal Characteristics, External Skills, That’s Why

Some of us are still getting the hang of adding in details to our writing, while others of us have REALLY gotten that down!  I wanted to share four of my favorites with you.

Click here to read.

After you read them, I know that some of you might be wondering…is EVERYONE writing like this?  And the reality is…no.  They aren’t.  Some don’t even come close to these at this point.  The good news?  They will soon!  I have faith!

I want to be real with you…and the hard truth is that many writers are still very much struggling to get depth and details into their writing.  This is something that we will be developing throughout the year.  It’s pretty simple to get a kernel essay down on paper.  It’s that NEXT step of adding in details to flesh out a paragraph that seems to hold up so many of our young writers.

So…that will be the focus for our near future!  Sure, leads and conclusions are great…but without the MEAT of the writing, it doesn’t matter how much you grabbed your reader’s attention at the beginning.  We have to KEEP them interested!

Please feel free to print these out and use them in your own classroom.  That’s what I do…use other students’ writing to share and talk about what worked and what didn’t.  That’s how our students learn the best.  Without a mentor text, they have nothing.  For many students, creating something from nothing is near to impossible.  With a mentor text, students are given examples of what good writing sounds like…which for some is the crutch that they so desperately need!

I say all of this to let you know that we ALL have areas to upgrade.  I know that right now…for us…it’s adding in those meaningful details.

What about you?  What are your kiddos struggling with the most right now?  I’d love to know…and I KNOW that many others wonder who else is in their same boat…  Please let us know in the comments!  :)

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Grammar Keepers Wall Cards

Well, hello there!  How are you?  How is school going?  I know, I know…many of you are on Thanksgiving break and are enjoying your time off and not looking back at the moment.

BUT…I wanted to share this little tool with you.  I created some cards (really small anchor charts if you prefer that term) that can be easily put onto a cabinet door  or in a small space in your classroom.

If you are like me, by now you have basically no more room on your walls for ANOTHER anchor chart.  So….I made these little guys that will be easy to put up.

These cards go right along with the lessons we use in 4th grade out of Gretchen Bernabei’s newest book, Grammar Keepers.  If you don’t have a copy yet…I HIGHLY suggest you get one.  It has been a HUGE game changer in my classroom!!  You can click here to get your copy.

Here’s a peek at what they look like:

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I made cards for all of the common errors on the Keepers 101 4th grade chart that I posted awhile back, along with parts of speech cards.

You can snag a copy of it here.

Do YOU use Grammar Keepers?  If so, what do you think?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

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