Friday, July 11, 2014

Reflecting About Writing Instruction

Hey there teacher ,
Welcome to a new week of the Diggin’ Into Next Year series!

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The way I structured the “shared research” with 24 seven year olds.





If you teach the Common Core standards, you know that your students  must *participate in shared research and writing projects.* 
I must confess:
Up until this year I was horrified to tackle this standard. In the past, I found myself helping the children with their shared research about polar animals during the month of January (BIG MISTAKE #1). And I tell you what… the Easter bunny was ready to come out and my students and I were still at it!! SO frustrating!!!  I thought long and hard and I decided that my shared research lacked some serious structure and it needed to be moved to a different time in the year.

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Based on my reflections I made some changes:
  1. Instead of doing the shared research in January, I decided {with the help of my sweet teammates} to move this project to the month of June. Once end of the year assessments were done, and the data showed me that my firsties were quite proficient… then I had a little  more freedom to truly guide my students with the shared research. Instead of researching about polar animals, we researched about ocean animals!
  2. I divided my students into six groups of four and each group {with a team leader} chose an ocean animal.
  3. Once the kiddos were in their groups, I put together “source bags” with different information sources:


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4. I also provided my kiddos with writing frames and sections. You can find these frames in my “shared  research for any animal” unit on TpT!



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5. I took the time to CLEARLY explain clear expectations and directions, and used a rubric to outline behaviors, writing, and content expectations as well.

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6. One  of the things that I have learned throughout the years is to provide my writers with an audience. So they really had to go through the writing process to produce a top notch product. They shared their research during our end of the year awards ceremony and authors’ tea. They rocked it!!


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If you are interested, you may take a look at my shared research resource in my TPT little shop.