Thursday, February 7, 2013

Learnzillion Is Worth a Million-Looks

Ok, so I've been busy clicking away and this site is awesome and free! Whether you are looking to teach about :
  • sentence structures and conjunctions (click on 3rd grade)
  • how to use the writing process to answer a constructed response (4th grade)
  • how to add transition words to their body paragraphs (4th argument prompt writing lesson). Um, 5th, we are so on this one!
  • read a poem fluently
  • MATH- hardly ventured to that whole section, but I hear it's pretty good.
  • ...and on and on and on!

I am not saying the lessons are perfect, but they are pretty well done. And the grade level lesson can be shown above or below it's posted "level", so don't be afraid to check out lessons from adjacent levels.
Use with kids. Build your own schema. Post on Edmodo for reinforcement or enrichment. (great idea, Heather!)
But before you naysay, click away. 

(Oh,and the passages are timely for your units...I dare say these curriculum maps are used by many in our nation. Unit 4 here we come!)

Happy clicking,

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Moving Our Mindset: The Shift to Opinion Wriitng

Argumentative, Persuasive, Opinion, Oh My!!!

Getting ready to teach a unit that asks kids to share their OPINION, rather than persuade? The shift is not only a movement in your mindset, but an evolved sense of voice and emotion. Gone are the days of heated letters, sassy tones, and bargains. Check this link to gain more schema for our mode: OPINION.

The Common Core has many teachers and literacy coaches pondering how to teach students to write in ways that mix fact and emotion. In this essay from the archives, Jennifer Burton looks at the difference between Argumentative, Opinion, and Persuasive Writing in the Common Core with her colleagues, and tries out some lessons with students:

We use many of the teaching points from our former "Persuasive Unit," now known as the "Argumentative or Opinion Writing Unit." We just make sure we leave out that emotional appeal and add a counter argument. What we're most concerned about is how to make the writing meaningful and authentic for students. We don't want to give everyone a prompt, but instead are helping students find topics they are interested in that lend themselves to this type of writing.   Finding mentor texts can be a challenge. While we'd probably seek some higher level models than this site provides, we certainly can appreciate the efforts the children are making to support their opinions.   Good luck and may the mindset of opinion writing guide you and your students. :)