Sunday, April 24, 2016

sentence of the week

Hi all! I've been busy this month working on grammar stuff. After seeing my cousin Mike at Easter (he's a High School English Teacher) and talking to him about the papers he was grading (we're always grading, aren't we?) we got to talking about Kelly Gallagher's Sentence of the Week, which may or may not be like the Mentor Sentences I've seen around the teaching blogosphere. Since then, I've been busy trying this out with our third graders, and it's been awesome!

Sentence of the Week is a strategy used for the purpose of having students construct knowledge about grammar and mechanics. The principle behind this is that we want to show students correct sentences (rather than incorrect sentences that you might find with Daily Oral Language (DOL) activities). Don't use those crazy, error-ridden sentences with your kiddos!

If you teach with a Writing Workshop model, you might be wondering how to make Grammar a more consistent part of your writing instruction - and this is perfect for that. Sentence of the Week is a 5-10 minute bit of instruction that happens daily, whether you are in the editing phase of the writing process or not.

Sentence of the week works on a five day cycle - you will stick to the same grammar pattern for five days. Following this, you can find a brief explanation of the first two days of the cycle...I'll be back later this week with the rest.

Day 1: Notice
Begin with three sentences that use the pattern you hope to teach. In this case, we were working on Possessive Nouns, so we wrote three pairs of sentences:

My mom has a dog.
My mom's dog is a Pug.

Miss Amenta has a pineapple hat.
Miss Amenta's pineapple hat makes her happy.

Damian has a fake mustache.
Damian's mustache looks real.

We began with the blue, pink, and red sentences. We wrote them about our kids and this particular class so they were more meaningful. First thing I did was read them to the students. Then, we asked students to turn and talk about what they notice. After, students shared out and we charted what they said:

I notice...
the pairs are alike - they are about the same topic
Should there be more commas?
It says what they have

As you can see, students were able to compare and contrast the sentences (one of Marzano's high yield strategies!) to construct meaning - they found the pattern (apostrophe and possession) and even though they could not name it academically, they were most certainly able to find it!

This little bit concluded day one.

Day 2: Imitate
We continued by sharing the academic vocabulary & meaning for what we were working on and three more examples:

You can find the teacher work in black ink. Then, the sentence in blue is the demonstration I did with our classroom teacher to model for the students how to imitate sentences, which is the next step they will complete. You can find teacher think aloud coded {like this.}

I said, "If I wanted to write a sentence with a Possessive Noun, I would first ask myself, 'Who is this sentence about?' Miss, Kriegl, who should we write a sentence about?"

She replied, "Mrs. Maldonado."

Then I asked her, "What does she own or have?"

She said, "A school."

I demonstrated, "Okay, then, Mrs. Maldonado {students, I'm starting my sentence with my person} 's {remember, I have to put the apostrophe s} So, Mrs. Maldonado's school {and then I just finish the sentence} is the best. Let's read it together."

All, "Mrs. Maldonado's school is the best."

Then I directed students, "With your partner, please imitate me, write a Possessive noun sentence. When you finish, hold your index card up, and I'll take it from you, and you can do another."

In pairs, students went on their way writing sentences. I collected them, and then added them to our list. You can find the student sentences in the picture above in pink. We continued to look for the pattern, and were also able to clarify a misconception, where a pair of kiddos wrote, "Ms. Kriegl owns Zach." (Side note: Zach is her fiancé!) We just reminded them of the pattern and then revised the sentence to make it correct.

All of that in just 15 minutes. Great conversation, great learning, awesome way to find trouble spots where students have misconceptions about the lesson at hand.

Because I don't want this post to get so long you don't read it, I'll be back later this week with another post to finish up the five day cycle of Sentence of the Week.

Has anyone used this as a grammar strategy? Please share your thoughts in the comments below! And be sure to check out the grammar presentation my colleagues Jennie, Amanda, and I put on last week in our district!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

currently april

I'm late, but it's go time! Thanks to Farley for hosting this partay!

Listening to Taylor Swift

'Cause, baby, I could build a castle
Out of all the bricks they threw at me
And every day is like a battle
But every night with us is like a dream

I'm in love with Taylor's new song. Looked for the Vevo to no avail, but check it out on iTunes!

Please take my hand and
Please take me dancing and
please leave me stranded
It's so romantic

Loving Spring Break
I've been on spring break this past week, had parents in town, was confirmed Catholic at an amazing church, have had time to just chill and relax, and will be going to Lake Geneva this weekend (went already) to the spa. The breaks we get were meant for teachers - we need to get away and have time to recoup so we can be our best selves at work. I am so thankful for this much-needed time to myself!

Thinking about my friends at Two Writing Teachers
Have you been to their blog? Well, in March, there's a writing challenge and everyone writes every day for the whole month. It was my third year participating, and this year, even more students and teachers joined from my school. Although I didn't write every day, I did half the time, and also welcomes a fresh new crop of teachers and students to the challenge. Then, yesterday as we ended, Kathleen Sokolowski wrote an awesome poem about her experience, and I've taken a stanza to share with you:

Here's to us. 
Who teach from a place
of authenticity,
Who don't require of students
what we won't try ourselves.
Who know writing isn't
really about rubrics and grades
but communicating and creating,
Who know writing is life-work.
Here's to us who've 
walked the walk 
each day
in March.

So so good. I know I write about a lot of nonsense here, but it's because I love writing so much, and want to walk the walk I expect my students to. (And also, the blogs I love the most are the blogs where I get to know the writer, personally!)

Wanting to go to the Outer Banks this summer
When I moved to Chicago in '09, I would occasionally see stickers on the backs of cars with "OBX" on them. I had no idea what this was. Fast forward to now, and I have a few friends there right now (last week) and another friend who goes every summer. I want to go there, where those little beach fences stand, and tall grasses grow beside them and blow in the wind, and waves crash on the shore. I actually want to go there with my writing friends and spend a week tanning and writing. So, who's in?

Yes, this.

Needing summer weather
Dear Chicago,
I'm over your moodiness. Snow then sun then cold and hail. Enough already. Spring, it's time for you to make your grand entrance!
Love, Michelle

Whatever: I'm moderating a Twitter Chat!
Are you guys on Twitter? Well, if you are, save the date: Tuesday, April 19th @ 8pm CST. Together with my AP, Jean Suchy, we will be moderating a discussion on Content Area Literacy! We tweet under the #D100chat, check out the feed and we have a twitter chat tonight, too. It's all about ELL strategies!

That's it! Much love, friends!
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