It's that wintery time again! Time to start a brand new year but really, many of us are in the middle of our school year. So, between making New Year's resolutions and getting the usual organization bug in January, you are probably thinking about the units you will be teaching after the holidays.
I created a brand new writing resource for my students to help us this January with learning opinion writing, procedural writing and narrative writing with a winter theme. As this is a brand new unit, it is not classroom tested yet so I will outline my ideas for how I plan to introduce it.
I will be starting this unit with LOTS of discussion. First I will model for my students how to do this. I will pick a topic such as one of the items below and I will ask one of my students to tell me how to do it. I will model good listening skills and then I will ask my student pertinent questions about their description that will help me understand it better. Think like a reader.
Next , I will pick a topic again and ask the class as a whole to help me explain how to do whatever the topic is and I will write that on chart paper. This is an interactive writing technique that is used often to model for students how to use the particular writing strategy you are teaching.
Next, I will break my class into pairs and my students will describe how to do something verbally to their partner - what is the procedure? Partner A will describe how to do something in simple terms while Partner B listens. Afterwards, partner B will ask partner A any clarification questions. Once the questions have been answered, the partners will switch roles and topics and do it again so that they both have a chance. At this time, students should be ready to try it on their own using these ideas that are available in my pack.
Don't we all love the "would you rather?" games? I thought I'd put a little spin on that and make a few for the classroom that will appeal to those of you that will be teaching opinion writing. Students choose a "would you rather?" question and answer in their journals giving their opinion of the question and making sure they defend their answers. Ideally, students will be able to discuss their opinions with others at the writing center because it is important that students hear others' perspectives on some of these types of questions. The better a student can defend their opinion, the more others' will be interested in reading it!
One of my favorite sections of this unit is the Arctic Animal Snip-its. These are just fun facts about 4 different Arctic animals - not your typical facts. Students read the "snip-its" of interesting facts and then have a non-research based critical thinking question at the bottom for them to ponder.
Students do not write research facts, they CHOOSE their favorite 3 facts from the reading. Why? They must read it to choose them and then their opinion on the facts is valued as they are asked which facts they found the most interesting. It helps students with meta-awareness as they are reading as they know that they will be asked for their 3 favorite facts. It will also make a good conversation topic with others - what were your favorite 3 facts? Why?
The critical thinking question just gets students to think outside the box and have their brain move from research and true facts to opinions to a more critical, and even moral mind set.
Lastly, this package has a section on narrative writing. There are pages that have titles already but the ideas for content would be all up to the students. Of course I have also included a blank sheet for open-ended stories. This is the pre-planning sheet that students will use to do their pre-writing. I will have my students work in pairs sharing ideas before they plan. In fact, I often have them share in their A/B partners and then ask them to do it again with someone else.
Once the planning is done, let the writing begin!
This set is now available in my TPT shop. You can take a closer look by clicking the picture below.
(Thank you to Dots of Fun and Hello Fonts for the graphics and fonts in the blog button).
Some of my blogging friends also have new winter resources and best selling winter resources you may want to consider. Check them out here!