We have been determining the big idea by reading several writing pieces and discussing what makes up a personal essay. The students have generated their own big ideas and supported their ideas with 2 mini-stories. In this unit, the students will write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons. They will use transitions to connect their opinions and reasons together. Their essays will have at least 4 paragraphs.
We have been focusing on personal narratives. Your child should be able to tell you that these stories are “absolutely true and all about you.” The children are learning to sustain their attention for longer periods of time (believe it or not they will be writing for an hour by the end of the year). When they can’t think of anything to write about, they can generate ideas by thinking about special people and places in their lives.
We had many entries in our composition book to choose from and have started a rough draft. The children developed timelines that included action, feelings and inner thoughts to include in their story. The focus today was replacing common verbs with stronger verbs. They enjoyed working with a partner to look up verbs in the Thesaurus.
“Because of Winn Dixie” was a wonderful story to supplement our personal narrative unit. We often referred back to specific examples that we could incorporate into our own writing. The children were encouraged to:
- close their eyes to make a movie in their minds of a small moment
- focus in on exact details and specific moments rather than general sentences
- zoom in on the most important part of the story
- leave out the parts that don’t matter
- story tell the events in their story step-by-step across their fingers
- tell the internal story by including their thoughts feelings and responses
- begin with a strong lead (action, setting, description, dialogue, or thoughts)
- close with a strong ending (action, dialogue, thoughts, images, and whole story reminders that leave a lasting impression)
- reread the story with a partner, look for confusing parts and revise for meaning
At school we are working on writing an ALL ABOUT book. They want to learn as much as possible so that they can share it with their readers. Today they brought home a topic that they chose and the chapter headings that they want to include. Could you please help them find more information either online, in books, or from your experience. It would be great if they brought it to school by January 24th.
The students have had approximately 45 minutes a day for the past 3 weeks to gather facts and begin generating paragraphs about a place. They have had the opportunity to look through books and articles to locate facts. If your child brought home his/her composition book this evening, he/she needs to add facts. Please encourage them to do this so that we can continue to progress through our research unit. Thanks!