I have been invited to participate in Grammarly's Superb Writers Blogathon! That is so cool and since my students enjoy writing so much, I decided to participate in this fun event. This blogathon is hosted by Grammarly grammar checker.
The pen is much mightier than the sword.
Young students have lots to say and lots to say about everything! They are eager to get a hold of that pencil and start writing down their thoughts. Especially after a good book! We love to write about our books and characters in my room. And we even like to change things up a bit when we write and get a little silly with it. Like writing about swimming with sharks or inviting a dinosaur to our birthday party! But we will get to that in a moment. :)
One group of first graders read Sharks! In this informational text, the students wrote on Post-It notes interesting information that they learned about sharks. Did you know there is one kind of shark that has eyes that glow? They thought that was a very interesting fact! Students also learned that sharks can come in different sizes (as big as a school bus or as small as a pencil) and colors (there is one that is pink!). After learning all that we could about sharks and having conversations about them with our partners, we decided it was time to do some writing. But we didn't want to do just any old writing; we were going to do some writing that was new to these students. They were going to learn to be persuasive writers! What? Huh? What does that mean? Put persuasion into context and they got it right away. Have you ever tried to convince your parents to let you spend the night at someone's house? Well, of course they had background knowledge for that! So we decided to take a preposterous idea- swimming with the sharks and write a letter to persuade our parents why this would be an okay idea. They were all for this since they knew this was not really something we would ever do! For the other group of students, they were going to try to convince their parents to let them invite the dinosaur to their birthday party just like Danny did in the story.
Before we could begin writing, we needed a mentor text to help model for us how to get the job done. I chose the book, I Wanna Iguana. This sweet little boy writes letters to his mom explaining all of the creative reasons why he should be allowed to have a pet iguana. His mom writes back with her reasons why he should NOT have one. Fabulous book!
To start with, just like all superb writers do, we brainstormed a list of possible reasons why it would be good to swim with the sharks or invite a dinosaur to our party. They came up with some pretty creative reasons for each one!
Now that we had some good ideas that might possibly convince our parents, it was time to start writing! Yay! They got right into it and began just like the boy in our mentor text by writing in the form of a letter. We focus on getting our ideas down first so we circle words as we go that we think may be spelled incorrectly. After all the creative juices have flowed through our pencils to the paper, then we can go back and clean things up a bit by revising, fixing spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Here are a few of our first drafts or what some may call a sloppy copy.
Now that they have worked their way through prewriting and writing the first draft, I helped them with the revising and editing parts. I like to use 2 different colors when we do this so students can see that these are two different steps. We use blue pencils to add interesting words and other revising to be done. Then we move to using a red pencil to edit spelling, grammar and punctuation.
Take a look at their finished letters! They were proud (and rightly so) of their end products.