Sunday, May 7, 2017

Brainstorm, List, and Write!

I have found this method very helpful when teaching writing to our littles.  Some struggle with ideas, others struggle with formation of letters, and some struggle with sounds in words.  This strategy helps those strugglers.  I begin with the whole class and I often start by having the class watch a video about the topic.  For example, if we are writing about pigs, I might show this video Pig Video.

After the video we will brainstorm what the students have learned, or what they already know about pigs.  I have some butcher paper with the topic in the middle ready to go and will record what students say.  Before they begin raising their hands to tell me the answers, I ask them to turn to a partner and share ideas.  This way my students who are learning English or need time to think, can hear an answer given by another student before answering.  When we are done, it looks like this:



From here we begin to make lists.  They have already generated some things when they brainstormed, I put the brainstorm paper next to my list paper.  Now we begin to categorize them by what pigs, "have", "like", and "are".   Again, before I pick students I will tell them, "We are going to list what pigs have, tell your elbow partner something pigs have."  I ask students to answer in a complete sentence. As they say their sentence, I point to the word Pigs, the word have then write the word they are adding.  In doing this we are checking that it goes under the right list.  We do one list at a time.  When we are done the completed list may look like this:






I put the subject in black  and make each list a different color.  Then we practice by reading the sentences we can make.  So a simple sentence that may be made would be "Pigs have curly tails."  I model this by showing students how I write the black word and then I'm going to pick a color and I have to write the word in the rectangle and then pick one thing underneath.  This way students do not just copy everything.  I can now easily teach students who get how to make a simple sentence to make it more complicated for example, Pigs are omnivores, smart, and cute.  I can also teach students to add because.  Many of my student's know how to spell "because", I sing a little song to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star".  It goes like this:  b-e-c-a-u-s-e, I can spell because.  It's simple, but for some reason catchy.   Those students who are ready may write something like, "Pigs are omnivores because they eat meat and vegetables."  I encourage students to sound out all words by themselves.  This gives them sound practice and I can also see where there is some sound/letter confusion.  This simple method has proven helpful to my little writers.  I hope you give a try and it's helpful for your littles, too.