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Richard Williams EDUC 239/Dr.

Small Writing Unit Grade: 4 Mentor texts: Pipi Longstocking by Astrid Lingren The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume Common Core: 4.W.3 Text Types and Purposes : Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, details and clear event sequences. Continuum Goal: Word Choice: Use a range of descriptive words to enhance the meaning.
Note: This assumes the students have previously read the mentor texts and are familiar with them. The mentor texts should be available to the students during this entire unit.

Day 1: Topic: Descriptive writing using adjectives, adverbs and power vocabulary words. Teacher actions: Read selections from chapter 3 of The Phantom Tollbooth (or read the entire chapter, if you have the time) as an example of descriptive writing. Lead a discussion providing definitions and examples of adjectives, adverbs and power words. Model examples of each on the board; use think-alouds to demonstrate thought process and reasons for choosing certain words. Use interactive writing to share the pen and have students flex their creative minds. Refer back to the mentor text to note the adjectives, adverbs and power words that are being used, and encourage the students to think of similar words. List these words on the board and have the students use them during interactive writing. Student actions: Participate in discussion and offer examples of adjectives, adverbs, power words and how they are used. Participate in interactive writing (either in group or whole class) to get a feel for descriptive writing.

Day 2: Topic: Write a descriptive paragraph using adjectives, adverbs and power words. Teacher actions: Build on yesterdays lesson (activate prior knowledge) to introduce todays challenge. On the board (modeling), use a writing frame to demonstrate writing a descriptive paragraph. Use think-aloud to show thought process and word choice; note using a variety of vocabulary words rather than using the same descriptors over and over. Ask for student input to complete the paragraph. Refer to selections from any of the mentor texts; read pre-selected paragraphs and explicitly explain how the words flow and point out (or have the students point out) all of the adjectives, adverbs and power words in the text. Note: Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing is uses very colorful language (one of the characters is called Fudge) and using selections from this text as a model would be appropriate. Student actions: Participate in teacher model. Break into small groups and collaboratively write a descriptive paragraph, using a writing frame. Day 3 Topic: Writing a descriptive story, using yesterdays paragraph as the introduction. Teacher actions: Using the paragraph from yesterdays lesson, use that to scaffold writing the middle of the story today. Model this using your intro paragraph from the first day. Make sure you think out loud so the students can see how your thoughts flow. After the model, ensure that each student has a copy of, or access to the collaborative paragraph from the previous lesson. Each student will write 2-3 paragraphs based on the collaborative intro. Emphasis will be placed on using their imaginations and using descriptive language. Then students will pair up for peer feedback/review. Student actions: Use the paragraph from yesterday as an introduction to a story. Each individual student will write their own story body of 23 paragraphs. Each individual will turn in their own paper, but discussion may happen in the small group. Day 4

Topic: Writing a conclusion to the descriptive story, building on the previous work. Teacher actions: Using the previous paragraphs, each student will write their own conclusion to their story. Remind the students that a summary is shorter than the original story, and that it has to use the same elements of the story and it has to make sense. Model writing a wrap up concluding paragraph for them, using student input. Have open discussion to get the ideas flowing prior to having the students writing. Read the concluding paragraph (or 2 paragraphs) to The Phantom Tollbooth or Pipi Longstocking and ask the students if they feel if that wraps up the story for them. Ask them if there is anything else they though should be in the conclusion. Point out how the story does indeed end clearly there with what happens with Milo (or Pipi) and how they are back where they started. (You can also use Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing for this whatever the class enjoys the most!) Student actions: Write a conclusion to your story. While writing, refer back to your previous written paragraphs to make sure your conclusion makes sense. Share your conclusion with the students in your group. Day 5 Topic: Reviewing and editing in the writing process. Teacher actions: Explain the reviewing and editing process, including the difference between reviewing and editing. Model the process on the board using your previous paragraphs. Break students into different small groups (3-4 students) and have them read each others stories. The peers will offer constructive criticism for review and editing, using your model as a guide. Student actions: Observe the teacher model, and refer to it as necessary. Using proper language, critically review the other students stories. Write down suggestions and ideas for improvement on another sheet of paper. After the review period, look at your own paper and comments from your fellow students. Start thinking about how to revise your writing. Day 6 Topic: Writing the final draft/publishing.

Teacher actions: Explain how to put all of the previous elements together into a story, and show them what to look for in the publishing (final) draft. Model this, and show the students a final product of your creation (can be a previous work, just so the students can see what a published work looks like). Have the students do the final draft today, and if possible, take the students work and bind it in the work area (either into a class book or as individual works). Student actions: Write the final draft and get it ready for publishing. Observe the teacher model of the finished product and use it as a guide to create your own. Review your peers works.

Assessment plan: Assessment will be ongoing and formative, and the results of each days assessments will be used to drive the instruction for the next day. In broad terms, if students are struggling with concepts, then reteach those concepts the next day and offer opportunities to re-do the intended paragraph from the previous day. Use modeling and refer to the mentor texts to help clarify concepts and to help the students get creative ideas. Assessment for day 1: Teacher observation, both of the discussion and the interactive writing portion. Pay attention to those students that seem to be getting it and those who dont. Watch body language and facial expressions for feedback. Review the graphic organizer for completeness and check for student understanding. Assessment for day 2: Teacher observation during the modeling. While the students are in their groups performing their collaborative writing, walk amongst the desks and observe and facilitate. After class, review the collaborative works to ensure student understanding. Assessment for day 3: Teacher observation during the modeling and the white board discussion. As the students perform individual writing, circulate around the classroom and observe the writing. Guide and facilitate as necessary. At the end of the class, collect the individual works for quick review to ensure the students are on track. Assessment for day 4: Same as before teacher observation while at the board, and also while walking around the room. Collect each concluding paragraph and review to see if basic criteria are met: it is a short wrap up, and it makes sense.

Assessment for day 5: Review both the draft work to see if students understand the concepts of reviewing and drafting. Observe the students in the class, and facilitate as necessary. Assessment for day 6: This will be the assessment of the final product. Compare the previous drafts to the final/published draft to see if the students understand all of the concepts taught. Look for descriptive writing (using adjectives, adverbs and the power words). Review the story as a whole to see if there is a clear intro/body/conclusion. Look for evidence of reviewing and editing between the initial works and the final draft
GRRM notes: This entire unit follows the GRRM. Day one is very teacher-centered, day two is collaborative in nature (the students collectively write paragraphs), and on days 3+ the students start doing individual work, increasing in independence as the unit progresses. I detail this more closely in the provided lesson plan.

Lesson Plan for Day 1 of Writing Unit Materials Needed Pipi Longstocking by Astrid Lingren The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume White board and markers and/or large chart paper for modeling on Each student will the graphic organizer and a pencil Intro: Hold up the three mentor texts. Ask if the students enjoyed them. Ask which was their favorite. Ask why they enjoyed these texts. Ask if the students felt if they really were in the story (should see lots of head nodding here), then explain that because of the descriptive language the authors used, it really felt like you were there participating in the story. Lesson: Tell the students that they can write their own stories, just like these authors. Have the students turn to a partner and quickly discuss something they would like to write about. Randomly select a few students to share their ideas.

Tell the students that one of the keys to good writing is the use of descriptive language. Ask the students to explain what an adjective is. Then ask what an adverb is. Ask for examples of each and also ask for the difference between the two. (Explain or guide the answers as necessary). Point out the list of power words on the wall (the word wall) and go over a few. Explain that varying your use of language can make a story come alive and be more interesting for the reader. Now read Chapter 3 from The Phantom Tollbooth. While reading, have the students write down any descriptive and/or power words that they hear. At the end of the reading, have the students share the words that they heard, and write them on the side of the board. Have them tell you which is an adjective/adverb/power word as you write them down. Have the students give examples of adjectives/adverbs/power words, and add them to the list (have the students write them).

Interactive Writing: Tell the students that they are going to collaboratively write a descriptive paragraph on the board. Randomly select a student for a topic, and then write an introductory sentence on the board, using at least one of the descriptive words from the list. (GRRM I do) Now share the pen. Have the students alternate writing sentences on the board until you have at least 4-6 sentences. (GRRM I do with you) While they are writing, have them refer to the list, the word wall or simply to exercise their imaginations. Students should be helping each other; they can shout out words or ideas to the student at the board. (GRRM You do together) After the paragraph has been written, go through it and circle the adjectives, underline the adverbs and highlight the power words. Explain that we are starting a writing unit and that they will be writing a descriptive story over the next few days. Note: ensure that this paragraph is saved, either on the board, on chart paper or elsewhere so the students can refer to it later in the unit.

Now, have the students use the graphic organizer to list some descriptive vocabulary words, and then write a descriptive paragraph (3-4 sentences) of their own. (GRRM- You do) As the students write, walk around the classroom and observe and answer questions as necessary. Differentiation: For ESL students this unit may be difficult. Allow them to do the initial work in L1 (if you have someone that can help translate it) and/or have them illustrate their work as they write. Also, modify the assignments so they are writing less than the native English speakers. If the student has little to no English ability, have them work on an alternative task such as listening to books on tape or using the language arts program on the computer. For struggling students: modify the assignment to a shorter writing assignment (fewer sentences and fewer paragraphs). Also allow them to use simpler language, based on their vocabulary level. For advanced students: Encourage them to use more power words, and have them write longer paragraphs. Encourage them to write a longer body (4-6 paragraphs). Also, allow them to mentor their peers in the small groups; have them help the other students and allow them the opportunity to help teach/explain in their groups. Graphic Organizer for Lesson 1 of the Writing Unit Adjectives: Adverbs:

Power Words:

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