Saturday, October 15, 2011

Writer's Notebook Assignment- Writing Workshop Freebie

Every year I plan to have my students keep a writer's notebook. Every year something everything gets in the way and they fall by the way side...not this year! I started off my Writer's Workshop program following the structure outlined in Denise LeoGrandis' book Launching the Writing Workshop. 

Now I will be the first to admit that I have not followed it exactly. I have added in some of my own ideas from past experiences with Writer's Workshop PLUS I am launching the Daily 5 at the same time so that has taken up quite a chunk of class time. (To be totally honest, I am a month and a half into the school year and I am on Day 5 of the plan outlined in the book!! I feel that it's okay since it's working for me and it's my room! I get to make the decisions...LOL) 

In terms of the Daily 5 my class is up to 20 minutes for Read to Self (R2S)and 16 minutes for Work on Writing (WoW). During our WoW time the students have been creating an I Am Poem, adding jot notes or long writes (ideas from the book), writing from prompts for the book Unjournaling, or writing of their own choice.

This year I have also added a "Try It" section to my homework board so that any students who are looking for extra practice have some ideas of what they can do. So far the only things I have listed are R2S and adding ideas to their Writer's Notebooks but some of the students have told me that they are doing it every night! Go kids!

I am responsible for covering a variety of text forms each term as part of the plans my Grade 4 team put together- this term we are doing recounts, narratives and reports! However, I also wanted to give my students lots of time to write on topics and in forms of their own choosing...hence, the draw to start the Daily 5 in my room. BUT...I am also responsible for reporting on my student's writing progress. Yeah for marking and report cards.

In order to mesh these two responsibilities I have taken to teaching the text forms during the periods I have dedicated to Writer's Workshop and then allowing the students to write on their own during WoW. I have been very impressed with my student's dedication to writing, conferencing and editing/revising during WoW. Sometimes I feel like I am running a little publishing house out of my classroom! I have created an assignment that will allow my students to showcase their writing while still fulfilling my text form requirements...go me. (As of right now, we have only covered recounts so that's the only text form you will see on the assignment sheet. I am moving on to reports next but the students will be completing an integrated assignment in Science for this text form.) 

Now I should preface this assignment sheet/freebie with the fact that I teach in Ontario so the attached rubric has been created using the Ontario Curriculum for Language Arts. Also, we assess using for different categories of achievement- Knowledge and Understanding, Communication, Thinking and Application. These categories are common across all our subject areas and I create my assessments based on these categories. I do not give my students one overall mark on any assignments, but rather they get up to four different marks based on the categories. I am planning to do a post soon on my assessment methods if you are more interested in how this works!

So without further is my Writer's Notebook Assignment for my Grade 4 class.

If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them below or to email me at thinkingofteaching {at} gmail {dot} com. If you are interested in an editable copy of this assignment (without the clip art of course!) please feel free to email me as well!

2 Brilliant Teaching Thoughts:

Runde's Room said...

I have Unjournaling, too - what a fun book! My students LOVE it! I wanted to start Daily 5 this year, but chickened out. This year I have "that class" - you know the one ... the kind of class that makes me wish I could have a fourth child just for the maternity leave. I spend so much time reinforcing rules and routines, and making the students go back and try it again to increase "muscle memory", that I thought I wouldn't be able to Daily 5 justice. I'll have most of these kids for two years ... small school, split grades ... but I do want to give it a go - if I can get them in line I'll give it a try next year, if not, there's always the year after. I convinced the SK/grade 1, and 2/3 teachers at my school to use the program this year - and they're loving the results!!!

Runde's Room

Beth said...

Jen...I bought Unjournaling after seeing it on your blog!! I haven't used it a tonne yet but I am looking forward to it!

I know what you mean about the Daily 5, I have a good class but I am still working on trying to meet with groups and individual students more often because at this early point in the year Grade 4's still struggle with completing work and not asking questions.

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