Writing Sundays: #14 Better Than "The End"

Hi friends!

It's great to be back for my regular Writing Sundays post.  I took a little Christmas vacation and I'm so glad to be back to teaching my kiddos how to write! Amongst other things, of course! {This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. }

You know that typical lesson where you give the students a word and ask them to see how many words they can make out of that word?  Well, we started our week that way, only a cool thing happened.  Students got really interested when we shared our word finds when I asked them if they think they had a word that no one else had.  It became really interesting when we found one and I stated - Wow, you outsmarted everyone!   It started to become known as OUTSMART. It's amazing the power of words.

This week we were also writing "ends" to stories.  Ends are really a complicated business! I LOVE teaching about ends! Why?  I think endings to stories are so misunderstood.

I start by telling the students that usually ends don't just END.  I tell my 2nd graders that endings to stories are very important because it ties up loose ends, answers the questions readers may have about the characters or events and usually gives the reader a happy ending.

To give the students an understanding of this, I ask them to choose a book we've already read (an old favorite) and I read it again.  This time when I read it I ask them to silently raise their hand when they think I've gone from the beginning to the middle and then the middle to the end.  What a GREAT way to promote listening.  I have told them before that the ending has a beginning, middle and end. Yes, you read correctly.  "This is the beginning of the end."  (LOL) It helps them to understand the perspective that the beginning and the end of a story are about 1/2 and the middle is the other 1/2. That way the beginnings and the endings are not so short.

This lesson is from my Interactive Writer's Notebooks set.

Now that they know about endings, we got to work.  I read them Leo the Lightning Bug by Eric Drachman. A little lightning bug can't light up yet. When a crack of lightning happens, he thinks it is he who made it and that his light must now work. It eventually does but I ask the students to now write a new ending to this story.

We got to work writing our new endings.

Also this week we started our penguins unit. We began by using the old familiar KWL (know, wonder, learn) strategy that we all know.  I added a "twist" to it by adding the "what I THINK I know".  This I learned from Tony Stead at a workshop once.  They might think they know something but let's verify it.

Students were given 3 sticky notes and asked to put their name on them in case we need to ask them a question.  Then they added the letters K W L (one for each sticky note.)  They were asked to write a K W L about penguins and then add it to our master chart.

What a great discussion ensued!  Next lesson we will discuss the sticky notes and see whether we can "verify" the information from a book or whether we need to find out more information.  This keeps the kids really thinking when they are silent reading penguin books.  They just LOVE verifying information!  A colleague told me about  a live webcam on penguins so we watched it here and there through out the day - they loved it!

Thanks for reading!  See you next week!

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