Thursday, November 17, 2016

What if You Were Hired By . . .

I knew I had to teach students how to write for expository purposes. I thought long and hard about teaching kids the standard 5-paragraph essay. Then I did some research of my own. I came to the conclusion that no one writes that way anymore. Expository is to inform so I wanted to provide my students with an engaging writing experience to teach them this kind of writing.

I had an AHA moment. What if my kids thought they were going to be hired for Wonderopolis and they had to write a wonder of the day? I went online and printed out the wonder of the day, which coincidentally tied right into our social studies unit. I wanted students to do a close reading of it.

The day of the lesson I told the students the exciting news! They were hired by Wonderopolis to write the next Wonder of the Day. A lot of buzz went around the room. Is she serious? Can we really do that? Will she really share our work? YES! YES! YES! I opened up the site online for the class to see and handed out the printed copy. We discussed features on the page, and students recognized the heading, image, caption, questions, and paragraphs. There were 10 paragraphs, as some were short. We discussed expectations would be similar for their own wonder. We then transitioned to talking about main idea. Students were able to tell me how it could be what the paragraph is about. We discussed how it could be sentence of a few words. I asked if it could be an interrogative sentence. A few hands went up and said yes. We reviewed what type of sentence that was. Then I asked about a declarative sentence. Nice to tie in some grammar!

Then students met in random groups by using the agent stick mug. They were tasked with reading the passage and highlighting the main idea.

Students and I reviewed the main idea of each paragraph, learning about the importance of supporting details. Some students still get confused about the difference so seeing how a main idea has to capture the essence of the whole paragraph is important. Students were then asked to give me three wonders of the day. I will be taking these and forming PLCs within the classroom of students interested in a similar wonder. Students will then be paired with someone to collaborative work on their wonder of the day together using Google tools. I am excited to see what they create. Our next lesson will cover research tools!

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