Thursday, January 28, 2016

Revising and Editing Checklist

It's time for a FREEBIE!

If you want a fun and memorable way to get your students to check over their writing, CLICK HERE!

You will find 9 categories along with guided statements/questions for each category.

The categories included are...

1. The introduction
2. The conclusion
3. Style
4. Transitions
5. Arrangement (structure of the essay)
6. Growth & Development (did they answer all parts of the prompt?)
7. Reasoning & Explanation (support what they have to say and explain
8. Audience
9. Mechanics

I bet your students will just love this checklist! Mine remembered all the steps of revising and editing so quickly using this mnemonic device. By the end of the year it is our little joke to just say "INSTAGRAM IT!"


Monday, January 25, 2016

Word Choice Mini Lesson

Retired Words Anchor Chart 

Making better word choices in writing makes for better writing. It's really easy to get in the habit of using the same words over and over again, even as adults! 

Create a list of old words with new choices and put those boring words into retirement! 

Personal Reading Book 
Paper & Pencil 

Total Time: 25-40 minutes 

1. Have students scan a few pages of their personal reading book and have them pick out descriptive words. After 5 minutes, several students should share their findings with the class. Pretty quickly, you will find that the students have words that repeat such as happy, good, tired, cold, angry, pretty, small, ect.... These become the tired, old, boring, and overused words that we will replace with a better choice. 
2. If words have appeared multiple times, put them on the "retired word" list. (Keep going if you have no repeat offenders!)
3. Next, have the students brainstorm alternate ways to write the retired word in new exciting way. 
4. Then, have the students look up the retired words in the thesaurus or dictionary to come up with even more new choices!
5. Create an anchor chart as you go! 

CLICK HERE for a complete lesson on revising and editing for word choice. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

A Complete Short Answer Response

Here's a challenge, how many times in a day can you write on students paper "RESTATE THE QUESTION?" I am joking.... But really, they should make a stamp of it so that grading takes less time.... hum....

In all seriousness students need to restate the question to get the full credit on quizzes and tests so here is what they need to do.

1. Restate the question
2. Provide an answer
3. Provide evidence.
4. Put it all together in 1-2 sentences.

Use this formula over and over and over and encourage the kids to stick to it! It really becomes second nature to the students in a week or less.

These steps however are really for simple, short answers. I know there are lots of strategies like "RACE" out there but I really found success in using something simple initially. When we got further into the year and were writing entire paragraphs as answers, the "RACE" strategy was so helpful because they explained their answer even further.

Apply this strategy to other subjects too like science and social studies and see what stellar answers you start getting! I co-taught and I did ELA and social studies while my partner teacher did math and science and she LOVED the answers she would get for extended response math questions and science questions because they students were in the habit of explaining their answers.

Want a complete weeks worth of mini lessons on how to restate the question? Click HERE!