Big Ideas

I know it has been a few months since my last reflection online; however I have been very busy with my own studies.  I’m done practicing my own writing for my classes for the next few weeks, so hopefully I will keep writing online and reflect on my practices of writing power.  As the title of the post states, this will be about my reflections teaching the big ideas of writing.

Big Idea #1 Set a Purpose of Writing

I have discussed this idea in a pervious post and I believe it is an important part of any lesson; whether it is reading, writing, Science or Math.  As a teacher, I set a purpose for learning a particular outcome.  My students need to learn to set a purpose of writing and reading.  My focus this year was setting a purpose to write.  So, why do we write?  I write to reflect on my learning and use my own ideas and thoughts to stimulate the ideas of others. The purpose in the framework of power writing is to invite readers to think.

Big Idea #2 Sources of Writing

I find students struggle with ideas to write about when I give them time to free write.  It is not just free writing though.  If my writing assignments are not of interest to the students or they don’t have background knowledge about a topic the students struggle writing.  The lesson in Power writing to help students the ideas, which is a writing trait, is to create brain pockets.  A brain pocket is where writers get their ideas or sources of writing.  My brain pockets are memory, fact and imagination.  Fact pocket students would use to write non – fiction writing and imagination would be used to write stories. I found students enjoyed creating their brain pockets.  Now during free write, when they are unsure of what to write about I know refer them to their brain pockets.

Big Idea #3 Types of writing

There are two different types of writing narrative and expository.  Power Writing by Arienne Gear focuses on narrative writing.  It is going to be my teaching of applying the tools of writing to expository writing.  There are two narrative text style writing.  There is the walking story, which is linear writing and very descriptive. This is the type where I can focus on expository writing.  The other type of writing is the climbing story; students are most familiar with this type of writing, as it is the type of writing the students read the most.   I found the walking story a harder concept for the students to grasp vs. the climbing story.  To help students understand the walking story concept I used the book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. The key to a walking story is the anchor line.  An anchor line is a line which repeats throughout the story.  Students recieve lots of practice in the two types of writing as the students learn to write inviting readers to connect, visualize, question or infer, and transform their thinking.

Big Idea #4 Tools for writing

The tools for writing are mini lessons on adding details, similes, anchor lines, six senses, voice, triple scoop words, writing in third person, personification, first impressions, and dialogue.  Working with these tools and teaching the tools used by writers to help readers interact with their writing,  I found some of these tools matched up nicely with the 6+1 Writing traits.  The tool of Voice is one of the writing traits, so I used Ruth Callum’s writing trait box book suggestion to introduce the students to using voice in their writing.  Triple Scoop words was a great lesson, as I introduced the students to using the thesaurus and how using the thesaurus is a way to improve their writing.  I know have students pulling out their thesaurus looking for triple scoop words in their writing.  This is making their writing more detailed and expanding their vocabulary at the same time.

I taught the tools for writing lessons seperate, so the students had background knowledge and have brainstormed about them.  When I use this again, I would teach the power writing lessons as well as have the students learn about the tools of writing.  This will be a longer mini lesson; however I feel it would make more sense to the students and they can work on using immediatly in their writing.


About Candy

Mother, Wife, Elementary Teacher, Grad student. Looking foward to using this blog as a reflection of my professional learning.
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