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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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Description Direction

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I often hear, “I don’t know what to write.” This is my attempt at a visual to direct descriptive writing. (Don’t judge – this was a quick pic I put on the white board.) Students were given small pictures of different aliens and then asked to write a description. This lesson worked well – the visual gave a direction and the fact that they were describing a fictional character meant the description could not be judged as wrong.

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

Daily Five

Another new incentive after the Christmas break has been The Daily Five (although we don’t get to all five in a day). The Daily Five is made up of five stations: working with words, working with writing, reading to someone, reading to self, and listening to reading. The Daily Five was designed by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser. You can read about it here: Daily Five

I want to adapt the daily five to the resource room for three reasons: I want my students to read independently each day, write each day, and have regular conferences with me.

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There are some big challenges to adapting this format to the resource room. One challenge is finding reading passages that are at an independent reading level for my students but at the same time are age appropriate (and appealing). Over the break I took different black line masters from teachers in other grades, cut off any grade level labelling, cut off any babyish pictures, laminated and levelled. This has become our “Read to Someone” station. This is working well so far since the levels are good and the length of the passages is very manageable. I feel like students have been pleasantly surprised at their success and enjoyment of daily reading (keep in mind that these are self professed book haters).

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I am excited to think through each of The Daily Five.

Lovin’ this App!

I enjoy the excitement of a fresh start. Rearranging furniture, redecorating, reorganizing, refreshing… I wanted this new year, this return after a break, to renew my students’ motivation. One of our areas of renewal has been getting comfortable with a new app called Word Q.
This is a more expensive app ($25) but a license for Word Q on the PC is $199. Word Q is a word predictor program – it predicts possible word choices as the student types. The student can choose one of the predicted words or keep typing. Each word is read back to the student. There are other great features – it will read back the whole passage, give word suggestions, give definitions, to name a few.

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Along with getting familiar with this app we now have an air-print printer, so that students can print from their iPads, and wireless keyboards to make typing easier. Add headphones and we have a very productive class.

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I felt so encouraged yesterday to watch four students, each with headphones on, typing away at book reports. They were motivated! The best part was their confidence that they had spelled words properly and knew that what they had written made sense because they had heard it read back to them. I was impressed with the clear thoughts that they were able to express with very little help from me.

I think my students were re-energized but know that I felt rejuvenated! A writing assignment went from groans to cheers. Yay!

The Sentence Police

It can be difficult to provide students with the necessary repetition of a concept while keeping it fun and motivating. This is one way I’ve tried to rev up our editing every once in awhile.

20121128-163743.jpg I wear the hat (I know, I am weird) and hand out tickets. As students fix their errors they hand the ticket back. It keeps us laughing about mistakes but also attentive to details.

The tickets say “Capital Offense,” “Omission Error,” “Punctuation Violation ,” and “Spelling Infraction.”

Focus, Focus

Today I put together these folders. I remember being in the university library and needing to read behind a study carrel or I could not focus – there were too many people to watch, friends to talk to and, well, pretty much anything seemed better than studying.

These folders are to help my students focus. I added helps for paragraphs (an idea from Pinterest), spelling helps, and punctuation.
These could also be used for privacy for a test or just as a signal to others that concentration is needed and talking is not a good option.
I often tell my students that I had to use strategies to focus. A study carrel was one as well as giving myself a deadline to meet before meeting friends at the university coffee shop. I will still feel motivated by a really good cup of coffee!

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