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Here is a copy of my beginning of the year mini lessons. Many of these ideas are the ideas that I learned at my district's Writing Institute, so I cannot take credit for all these ideas. Purpose Activity Collecting A Writing Take a writing sample to stage so you are aware of the needs of Sample your students. I do assign a prompt for this task. It is easier for me to compare students if they are all wring on the same topic. I do one of two prompts. I either read The Mystery of Harris Burdick by Christopher Van Allsburg. It is a WONDERFUL book by an author I highly recommend. I purchased the poster set for this book. Then I have students choose one picture to write about and explain what is happening in the picture. We talk about a beginning, middle and end. I tell them that it does not matter how long the story is, just that it has a beginning, middle and end. I feel that students need to know that the work is theirs and they "own" it. I also mention that every story has as problem and a solution. However, these are the only hints I give. Another activity is a Dr. Seuss like prompt. We read the story The Sneeches by Dr Seuss. We discuss how he gives creatures made up names (like a sneech) and
I tell student they get to create
their own creature. They can decide how it looks, sounds and what its personality is like. The creature is called a fleezle. Then I get them to brainstorm what is going to happen in the story. Next I say I have made up a word. I don't know what it means but I do know it is something you DO called snoof. We brainstorm things the creature can do. Finally I give the prompt The Day the Fleezle Snoofed, This is a hard prompt, I am not sure if I would do this activity again. Students tend to get stuck. I DO stress that story does not have to rhyme like Seuss' but has a few silly words in it.
Writers Workshop Mini Lessons: Beginning the School Year By Mandy Gregory 2006
Use this to establish the norms of the workshop. 2. The first one that jumps out at me is Author Writes a Story by Marc Brown. Work quietly while writing so others can think Sound out words To help spell Have original ideas Try your best writing skills Work quietly so not to disturb others and don’t forget what you are thinking 7. I don't just want to hand Writers Workshop Mini Lessons: Beginning the School Year By Mandy Gregory 2006 . 3 Building a Community of Writers Discuss what Writers Workshop looks like and what it is. 6. Writing is reading 4. Here are some examples: Why We have Writer’s Workshop 1. 3. Click here to read about this book. Keep these posted. I have had several people email and let me know they have had difficulty finding this book. Always listen. I read aloud the book Albert's Story by Claudia long. 4 The Notebook/ Planting This is a day I REALLY try to build up to. I laminate and post this list all year long for those who get stuck. Then we brainstorm as a whole class WHAT topics students can write about. We can expand our writing by reading other writer’s work 5.I explain to the class the purpose for the list and refer to it A LOT the first few weeks.2 Finding a Story Some students find it very hard to know what to write about in their Writer's notebooks. From other authors we learn to write better and get information 2. most students will not use it after the first month or so. Apparently it is selling for over $100 now!!! You can use several other books for this same lesson. 5. Good titles from our work come from many ideas Our Norms 1. However. We can become better writers 6. We discuss how the little boy found his story and added more and more to it. To help solve this problem we brainstorm all the things you can write about and where to get ideas on "finding" a story. Have students help create lists of what it should look like/ sound like. Writing is thinking 3. 4.
Then I let students go and have some time to write. leaves (they didn't last too long!) fabric. For this mini lesson I show students where the dictionaries are. Then I tell each student since the book is theirs I want them to decorate it in some way because it is their special book. but I do walk around and check up on kids. the spellex's and how the writing center is organized. sentences and phrases (even from other authors). Whatever." Make sure they know it is their special. We meet together at the end to share some of our ideas. Yu-Gi-Oh (sp?) cards. 6 Storing Materials in the Classroom This activity is more a management lesson.) and the word lists I have created. I also make clear it is NOT a diary to write down what happens every day. If kids get stuck. I have had kids use stickers.. This is easier said than done. magazine articles. but it is ok sometimes to do this. photographs." 5 Using the Writer's Notebook This day is just that. lists of favorite words.Seeds and Watching Them Grow students their writers notebooks and tell them to give it a go. I have created overheads of some of my own pages and have why I choose to write about these snippets. Yu will get a lot of questions "Is it ok if I write about. pictures. dialogue other people say. magazine pictures. Fears. I do not conference yet. Beautiful words. time to use the writers notebook! First I start by having child bring their writer's notebooks to the circle and share how they chose to decorate their books and way. the thesauruses. this is an area I am working on. dreams and anxieties Artifacts like feathers. comic strips. etc. especially ones who are stuck and try to help them find an idea. Here is a list of things Ralph Fletcher recommended when I saw him at a conference: What moves you? What do you wonder/What is bothering you? What do you notice or see when you are about and about? Memories. I share how we use paper in the classroom (for drafts and final drafts) and when Writers Workshop Mini Lessons: Beginning the School Year By Mandy Gregory 2006 . I gather them back together at the end and we share what we wrote about.. I share the artifacts I have included (I don't have many. magical spot. newspaper articles. Then I send them off for time to write. refer them to the list the class created. baseball cards. They just need to make it "theirs. puff balls. One of the things I do is share my own writers notebook. I want to inspire them to write and to use the notebook.
looking at the classroom chart we created on day two (finding a story). I might guide kids to go to the class library and look at books and see if any of the books spark an idea. glued them on construction paper and laminated them I was thinking of making the pictures available as a source of ideas. I am really hesitant to include any prompts because I don't care for prompt writing (unless I am teaching it as a skill because this is how testing works) I would love to hear your ideas! Anyways. If kids get stuck they can always refer to this for ideas. my favorites. what if questions). We discussion things to do if you get stuck and brainstorm ideas. At the end of this mini lesson I students have time to work in their writer's notebooks. I have been saving interesting magazine pictures and calendar pictures for the last few years. I can't decide! 9 What to Do When the Teacher is Conferencing 11 Stages of Writing/ Anchor Papers Writers Workshop Mini Lessons: Beginning the School Year By Mandy Gregory 2006 . This year my students brainstormed "Using your time to write!" as one of our norms/ expectations for writer's workshop. And we open up the floor for discussion. Then we talk about how just sitting there is not a good idea. I have never done this before and I am really debating including this idea. we brainstorm lists that we could create (I wonder questions. An activity I did before we ever started Writer's Workshop was to give each student a large piece of white paper. cool words and phrases. 7 What Conferences Look Like 8 What to Do When You Get Stuck For this mini lesson I pull all my kids to the carpet.you can use the materials in the writing center. They were able to draw and label a favorite memory or dream or experience. I cut them out.