Summary and Context:
Today, I will continue with the lesson we started yesterday with a modification. We are still working on Common Core State Standard: W.2.1, and the students will still write an opinion piece. The modification I am incorporating given their writing from yesterday is to let them either write an opinion about the book or about the character Velvet. This is a follow up based on the analysis I did of student work from yesterday's lesson that told me I needed to revise my writing prompt to make the task more straightforward for students. In the end, this decision serves the greatest good because they will still need to provide evidence to meet the task of the standard. Expressing an opinion, finding evidence from the text, and putting it altogether in a well-structured written piece is a lot to ask in one lesson, so it makes sense that we needed a follow up.
As in yesterday's piece, they will need to provide reasons that support their opinions after they state their opinion. And, again, I am looking for them to use the linking words: and, because, and also. I am also looking for them to use evidence from the story and for these reasons to clearly support their opinions. Finally, students will take their evidence and write a paragraph that supplies reasons and include a concluding statement.
To support their fact-finding, I am rereading Odd Velvet and having them take additional notes to the ones from yesterday.
I start by reviewing facts and opinions on the rug. I review the chart we created yesterday about apples. I have students pair share their response journals from yesterday. I believe in reviewing as I feel it is an important part of helping our brain establish long term learning/memories. Also, my students benefit much from various opportunities to practice academic language.
I am rereading Odd Velvet and giving the students additional time to add to their notes because I noticed a good amount of them did not write down evidence to support their opinion. I review with them how they need to support their opinion. For example, if think Velvet is odd, then they should listen for evidence that supports that. If they do not think she is odd, then they need to listen for details to support that. The same applies to whether they liked the book or not.
I am asking them to choose one of their pens from their pencil box to write the additional details. I do this because I want to bring attention to the new knowledge they are adding. For some the new details will be written with a red pen. I also doing this so that these details show up in their writing. Being able to use a different colored pen or pencil also makes it fun for them. And, I want them engaged!
Here are some of their work samples:
Rereading the book brought about some more questions from the students:
And, I was able to listen to one of students express his opinion of Velvet: SheisNotOdd.
Since they will be writing next, I ask my students to take a brain break. I take two minutes where I ask the students to stand. I move them through breathing exercises where I ask them to breathe deeply. I ask them to move their hands/arms and legs. This movement helps their brain wake up and reenergize. Playing music during this time makes it fun too.
I tell them that today, I am teaching them how to include a concluding statement. I give them the following steps:
During the revision process, I will have a chance to look at their concluding statements again to give them additional guidance.
My students are using the information gathered in their response journals and writing their paragraphs. I am looking for them to indent correctly. I am looking for them start with their opinion. I am looking for them to supply reasons that support their opinion. I am looking for them include a concluding statement. And, I am looking for them to use neat printing. This is something I have been working with them.
Here are some of their work samples:
Repetition is a technique that is very beneficial when working with English Language Learners. This is not the easiest read aloud because of the rich language and the structure of the language. So I am glad I reread the story and gave them the opportunity to add details. I feel this worked well with them.
In writing their paragraphs, I wanted my students to have a choice about what details to use, and that is another reason I chose to reread the book. Rereading aids my students' comprehension too. I had planned to use the website: tubmlebooks.com to make the reading more interactive and fun for them. But that didn't happen and while technology is awesome, it's always a good idea to have a low tech plan when one cannot access certain websites.
It was interesting to read on one hand that Velvet is not odd and that Velvet is Odd. Both students do a good job of providing evidence for both cases, which is what I was looking to see them be able to do.
What else did they do well? Teaching students to indent is not easy. It takes practice. But they did well indenting. Their printing is improving because this is something I have been working on with them. Most of them had an introductory sentence, sentences that supported their opinion, and a concluding sentence. I liked how they used their linking words of because, and, as well as also. And, they made good use of transitional words.
I was glad to see different skills emerging and being mastered. It was interesting how the lesson morphed into the objective being forming an opinion of the book to forming an opinion about Velvet. Again, this is the holiday season with plenty of distractions. But, I feel in the end, my students will still benefit much from practicing supporting their opinion, so nothing is lost.