Tuesday, November 25, 2014

December Writing Bundle

Do y'all love Thanksgiving week as much as me?  I get the WHOLE week off, so that means I get lots of naps, lots of free time to create, and oh, just a few dozen hours to watch Hallmark Christmas movies.  Don't get me wrong.  I LOVE my class, but weeks like this are perfect heading into the three weeks before Christmas projects, rotations, parties, and all things that make school fun.

Anyway, last Thursday I was talking to a friend about teaching writing.  It is one of my favorite things to teach and honestly, I love how it looks in the hallway.  I think most of the time it is the best representation of the personalities in my room.  Does it take forever?  Sometimes!  However, I have to tell you, I skipped writing projects for the last few weeks to get in assessments and my kiddos actually asked me when they were going to do writing projects again.  They missed them which makes my teacher's heart happy.

So, now that I've gone off on a trail, let me get back to my friend.  We were talking and she needed a good writing activity for December.  I started thinking about it, and I have great activities for January, but not for December, so I told her I wanted to create something - a December Writing Bundle.

This bundle might be my favorite writing packet ever.  I created four separate writing activities so you can choose which ones you want to do.  I also tried to make sure that all types of writing were covered.  I also made the handwriting paper where it can fit K-2.  There are multiple sheets, so you can pick what fits you best.  The graphic organizers and the rubrics are editable, so they can be adjusted to fit your requirements.  If you want to check out my packet, click any of the images.  It will take you to the packet.
Now, I know what you are probably saying, "Faith, I don't have time to do this.  It takes too long and I'm one person."  Well, here's how I do it.  I have a parent come on Tuesdays for an hour.  She takes my lowest group.  We have a STEM Lab, so she usually takes them there to work.  That way they can focus a little better.  Then, I work with my middle students.   Since that group is a little bit bigger, most of the time I put a few of them on Headsprout or Nook Kids (iPads).  Once my middle students finish I rotate them out with the technology kids.  My high kids work independently.  Part of the reason I take my middle kids instead of my lowest is it helps me decide when they are independently writing.  Once I see that they are starting to write on their own and they aren't needing my guidance, I move them to the high group.  Many of my lower students are going to need ongoing help, so my goal is to get my middle and high kids working independently so that I can then focus on the lower students.  I am not going to tell you that this is the only way or that it is always perfect, but it has worked great for me 90% of the time.  I also see them transferring the skills we work on weekly into their writing assessments, so I feel like they are getting more of a foundation this way.

Another thing I do is we really only do this type of writing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  On Mondays and Thursdays, I usually do 6+1 Writing Traits lessons.  This way when we are writing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays we can talk about how what we learned the day before applies to our writing.   I picked Mondays because Mondays are usually crazy, so I want something a little easier on Mondays.  I picked Thursdays because if the final draft carries over then it's pretty easy to adjust the 6+1 lesson.  It isn't as easy for me to adjust my Fridays since a lot of our assessments and special school activities fall on Fridays.

If you have any questions, let me know.
Have a great Tuesday!

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