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Category Archives: writing

Poster Of Highlighting Strategy

Poster Of Highlighting Strategy

I was just making a poster for using highlighters and thought I’d share.  I will colour, or have my students colour, the code they want.  For example, blue highlighter for “important / main ideas”, pink highlighter for “ask” and yellow highlighter for “look up / find more info”.

I also made a blank poster for using when doing a research essay.  I have my students cut and paste lots of notes.  Then, when reading through the notes, students use different colour highlighters to show the different points they will make in their essay.  For example an essay about the danger of microwave popcorn could use blue highlighting for points related to the nutrition of microwave popcorn, pink highlighting for the chemicals in microwave popcorn, and yellow highlighting for the chemicals in the packaging of microwave popcorn.  Once this highlighting is done in the notes, students can easily write a rough copy, compiling the same colour ideas and putting them into their own words.

 

Highlighter Poster

Highlighter Poster Blank

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Pre-writing Skills to Writing

One of the most exciting things to see in my job is watching a young learner start to read and write. Amazing.

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Here we counted the phonemes in the word “rabbit”; we count the sounds we hear when we say the word slowly. We put a different block down for each sound. Once a student can do this oral blending (see previous blog entry “Turtle Talk”) we talk about what letter to write to match each sound. I point to each of the separate blocks as we write the letters to help children think about separate sounds. Later I will add things like two letters making one sound (like th, sh, ch). Today was one of those amazing times.

Learning How to Format a Paper MLA Style

My grade eight students are learning how to format a paper.  We just spent time reading a grade ten student’s paper and highlighting the in-text citations so that they could become familiar with “citing”.  Next they each got a non-fiction book about birds and read about hummingbirds (my favourite).  Each student had to come up with two facts about the hummingbird.  We compiled these facts into a few paragraphs which I typed out and shared on GOOGLE drive.  Tomorrow the boys will add their in-text citations to the hummingbird passage.

We are using MLA formatting.  I came up with these separate posters to show the students that they must choose which one is appropriate to use i.e. do they have a book with an author, a website with no author, etc. (Some citing is confusing to me, so if you find any mistakes, let me know 🙂

We will also use bibme.org to create a bibliography or works cited page and Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL)
to format the “other stuff”.

Helping Your Older Child Edit a Paper

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Helping a teen edit a paper – besides grammar, punctuation and spelling, look to make sure they stay in the same tense (if it is in past tense, it has to all be in past tense) and that it is all written in the same person (if it is in third person, it should stay in third person, not switch to first person.)  Thankfully my son was open to some constructive criticism.

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Did You Know That You Have Executive Skills?

I’m just finishing a book about executive functioning. Most people don’t go around using these terms but we all use and need the skill sets that they describe.
Executive functioning is the set of skills that allow a person to plan a task, figure out the steps involved, activate the best strategies for the task, stick to the task, inhibit impulsive behaviour, and change strategies if needed. It is our planning skills and our ability to control ourselves and figure out ways to get something done.
Executive functioning plays a huge role in the life of a student. Much of a child’s executive functioning skills have been inherited. Also important, are the child’s developmental level and environment.

How do you teach your child or student to develop these skills?  A great start is by modeling how you organize yourself and speaking aloud the ways in which you plan a task.  For example, I might explain aloud that we have to be at a birthday party by 4 p.m. so I work backwards and figure on a half hour driving time, so that is 3:30 p.m., a half hour “getting ready” time so that is 3 p.m.  I need to start getting ready at 3 p.m.  Explaining the steps you take to execute a task will promote executive functioning.  The next time there is a similar task, help your child go through the same steps. 

So often we get upset at our children or students for poor planning but this is NOT a strategy for improving these skills.  Try the modeling and thinking aloud strategy.  Walk your child through it several times before expecting independence.

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Graphic Organizer for a Report

Great writing this week from some of my favourite kids! They used a graphic organizer as their “map” to help them plan a report of an event that has just happened at school or will be happening soon. We discussed that reports and reporters stick to the facts (not opinions) and they answered the who, what, when, where, why, and how about an event.

The graphic organizer we used is here.

I think I am convincing them that a graphic organizer, or plan, is worthwhile. Today, in about 15 minutes, they had each written a short rough copy report from their completed graphic organizer.
They were successful (fact) and I think they are amazing (opinion)!

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You can find my rough copy paper here.

Rough Copy Template

I created this form (one with single spacing and another with double spacing for larger writing). I kept repeating to students that they had to leave room for editing but that seemed to be just one more thing to remember while they were writing. This is working well.

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Use this link for a copy:ROUGH COPY

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