Friday, February 24, 2017

my planning to the kids' papers

Today I taught my kids how to use a narrative lead in their introductions better than I ever had. I did more demonstration than I ever had, which made all the difference. Here's the scoop from planning the mini-lesson to delivery and beyond.

Planning Process
I grabbed my notebook and started to think about how I would draft the introduction of my essay with a narrative lead. Just explaining to kids what a narrative lead is and showing some examples (what I've done in the past) isn't enough, you need to actually demo the whole thing. So I got to thinking, how would I draft my introduction? Here's how I thought through the planning of this mini-lesson.

1. Write your claim. (Mine was, "I believe people create their own happiness.")

2. Make a list of things related to claim. (in this case, things that make me happy, including but not limited to glitter, puppies, tacos, teaching, friends, church, family, traveling)

3. Look back at your claim (creating *your *own happiness) and then choose something from the list that could go with it. I choose church.

4. Close your eyes and picture that moment. Think about how you feel, what you saw and heard, who was there. This makes the writer show rather than tell. On the anchor chart below, you can see my ideas in green.

5. After you have a list of ideas, quick write about that moment on your google doc.

6. Add your claim to the end of it and your introduction is complete.

Teaching Demonstration
When I did the demonstration, I created this chart with the kids. On the left hand side of the chart, I did the steps I listed above, first. The kids watched me. After I finished all the steps, I asked them to look back at my work and tell me the steps for this process, and so they helped me author the right side of the chart.

Which brings me to my Quick Writing, which I did on the third draft of my essay. I show you this picture below because I want to make clear that this first version of my introduction is definitely far from perfect. It needs some simple changes to make it better, but it's important for kids to see me create a first draft that isn't perfect, so they understand that I myself don't just arrive upon perfection.

After all of that (I didn't watch the clock but I'm guessing I did this in 10 or 15 minutes) the kids went to work on their own introductions. And again I was reminded, the clearer my demonstration, the more specific I get, the more I put myself out there for kids to see... the better they do, the less disruptions I get in workshop, the better quality work I get.

Teaching is such a journey, isn't it? I couldn't have ever even envisioned the teaching I'm doing today 10 years ago when I was just trying to keep my head a tiny bit above water. I wonder what my instruction will look like 10 years from now...?

What does your planning process look like for mini-lessons? Leave a note in the comments below!

Happy Friday!


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