Monday, October 26, 2009

Jay MS Visits, October 26, 2009

Teacher: Colleen S.
Content: Language Arts
Grade: 6th
Focus: Selecting a method of generating ideas for writing.

Idea Source: Halloween (personal connections)

Activity: This is a culmination of several lessons.  Students are being presented with several methods of probing ideas to write.  The class has looked at brainstorming and free writing.  Today they will look at clustering.   The teacher modeled a cluster using the five senses - Halloween night. 
The class shared the activity and offered suggestions.  Teacher asked why?  Looking for connections as a rationale.  Colleen cautioned not to be too descriptive! YEAH! Keep it real:)

The students were very involved, enthusiastic, and shared equally.  Student/teacher reaction to phrases produced provided a real, instant audience.  Students responded well to this.

After exploring the 5 senses, Colleen clarified a sotry needs an idea or a problem - briefly.  She accepted several ideas, i.e. creepy house with old man. 

Next, as the class reviewed each strategy for ideas, Colleen recorded terms and guidelines on a chart Pre-Writing Ideas.  Class generated definitions. 

Students then tried out clustering and were asked to choose what strategy worked best for them.

To bring the lesson to closure, Colleen modeled her thinking around using a cluster for writing a story - her favorite - urging them to always write for meaning and use this just to get their thoughts flowing.
She explained to the class that topic might determine the strategy.  Students will be expected to choose one strategy to start on their writing later this week.

Students ended the lesson by sharing webs at their tables.  They were very excited about the process and gave positive feedback.  Colleen followed up by assuring students this is one way good writers get ideas.
Purposeful Language:  
  • perspective
  • okay to ... so you might find me trying out some language I might use later
  • audience - who are you writing for?  what do they need to know?
  • might write more out so don't loose in mind- monitoring
  • for a good story, I need something to happen
  • excellent conversation around what we need to provide for readers in order to engage them
  • students responded with connections as readers

AHA!  - The reading-writing connection supports writers when developing what Graves calls, "the other self."


Anonymous said...

I like the way you got the students thinking about reaching the readers' 5 senses as a cluster. I'm sure this made the descriptive ideas flow faster.

Anonymous said...

I would like to know more about is referred to here as "clustering." It sounds like the kids were rsponding well to the activity with creativity. Is it organizational as well?

Anonymous said...

Don't you just love it when your students get excited about sharing and all want to contribute? Sounds like that's what was happening with your activity today! Have fun with them as they get ready to use their idea gathering skills to plan their next stories!