Writing Activity – Describing Feelings

My grade two students are blogging buddies with Jonah Salsich’s third grade class in Connecticut, USA. One of the great things about connecting with schools from around the world is the sharing of ideas. I loved this writing idea that Jonah came up with and blogged about on his class blog, read it here. I decided to give it a go too!

Like Jonah, I am keen to get my students adding more details to their writing to make it more interesting. So with this activity, students had to choose a feeling and use adjectives and other details to describe the feeling. Most students chose “strong” feelings (such as angry or scared) as it was easier for them to come up with appropriate adjectives and phrases.

It was a great activity to get the students thinking about different words and phrases to help readers visualise what was happening in their stories. I had my students work in pairs, and it was wonderful to see them collaborating and communicating their ideas with each other.

Here’s what my students came up with..

Do you have any great writing activities to share?

What literacy ideas have you found by looking at other class blogs?

 

2010 Edublog Awards – Nominations


The 2010 Edublog Awards are open for nomination. These awards, now in their seventh year, celebrate…

…the achievements of edubloggers, twitterers, podcasters, video makers, online communities, wiki hosts and other web based users of educational technology.

Here are the awards I would like to nominate for 2010:

Best individual blog: Integrating Technology in the Primary Classroom by Kathleen McGeady

 

Best individual tweeter: Linda Yollis
 

Best group blog: The Reading Roundup
 

Best class blog: 2KM Blog

 

Best student blog: Millie’s Marvellous Blog

 

Best resource sharing blog: iLearn Technology by Kelly Tenkely

  
Best teacher blog: Integrating Technology in the Primary Classroom by Kathleen McGeady

 

Best educational tech support blog: The Edublogger by Sue Waters
 

Best educational podcast: Ed Tech Crew

 

 Lifetime achievement: Sue Waters

 

 * I couldn’t decide on the student blog so my class had a silent vote!*

How to Nominate:

You can nominate your own favorites. Simply follow these directions:

Step 1: Write a post with your award nominates on your blog.

  • Link to The Edublog Awards Homepage
  • Make sure the blogs you are nominating are linked too.
  • You can nominate for as many categories as you like, but only one nomination per category, and not yourself :)
  • You can nominate a blog for more than one category.

Step 2: Email the Edublog Awards the link to your nomination post

 

Nominations: Close Friday 3 December!
Voting: Ends Tuesday 14 December!
Award Ceremony: Wednesday 15 December!

Nominate today and have your say!

Persuasive Writing

Last week I focussed on persuasive writing (or expositions) with my Grade Two class. As it is the genre for the writing task in NAPLAN (which is national standardised testing we have in Australia)  next year, it is important that my students are familiar with the structure and expectations of this tricky genre.

Jenny Eather’s terrific website Writing Fun is a must when introducing genres to young students.

Writing Fun

After looking at online examples of persuasive texts for students, and explaining the structure for the genre, my students and I wrote a text together, using the handy online proforma on the Writing Fun website, as shown below. Using this on my interactive whiteboard was a great way to have all students involved and they could clearly see the processes involved in producing a persuasive text.

Persuasive text proforma

Our topic was “All classes in our school should have a class blog”. This is a highly relevant and interesting topic for my students, given that our class blog plays a big role in our room every day.

The following day I used the NAPLAN example from this year, to show the students what they should expect next year. The topic for this persuasive text was “Reading books is better than watching TV”.

NAPLAN writing example

After brainstorming ideas together, students independently wrote their persuasive text, using the structure of an introduction, 3 supporting paragraphs and a conclusion.

Next week I plan to do a couple more lessons on persuasive writing to further develop my students’ skills. I’d love to hear what ideas other teachers have used in persuasive writing!

Please comment…

What topics have you used for persuasive writing texts in the past?

 

Teaching Comprehension Part Two: Inferences

At the moment I am focussing on making inferences with my Grade Two students.

P1010627

 

Making inferences is a vital comprehension skill in which the reader draws conclusions using key words and clues within the text to infer what is happening. I believe it is essential to explicitly teach young students how to figure out what the author is implying and I have been using worksheets created by David Newmonic during the past few weeks.

 

These worksheets consist of a series of sentences which allow students to infer what is happening, when things are happening and where things are happening. During Guided Reading sessions I get my students to read each sentence, identify the inference and then highlight the key words.

 

Here is an example of one of David’s inference sentences…

 

The wolf lay flat on its stomach, not making a sound. A herd of deer ate grass just downwind of it. The wolf shuffled forward inch by inch, its mouth salivating.

 

Students would hopefully infer that the wolf was hunting the deer to eat. They would identify the key words or clues and discuss any unfamiliar vocabulary.

 

Check out David’s excellent inference worksheets which can be downloaded as PDF files.

inferences

Do you have any ideas for teaching inferences to young students?

Teaching Comprehension Part One – Super Teacher Worksheets

I have been wanting to blog about teaching comprehension to young students for a while now, but it is such a big topic I didn’t know where to begin! I have decided to break up the huge area of comprehension into several different posts.  Today I am explaining how I use question and answer worksheets to help develop comprehension skills. 

This year I have found myself constantly reinforcing how important comprehension is to my Grade Two students. With NAPLAN testing looming next year for my students, I am trying to prepare them in the best possible way to confidently tackle a variety of tasks. In my classroom we discuss why good comprehension skills are important and how the students can improve their comprehension development.

I focus heavily on comprehension during my whole class reading introductions and of course, during Guided Reading sessions but last term I explicitly taught a few stand-alone sessions. I found this to be very helpful as I could spend the time going through the process to gain full comprehension of a text. I sometimes make my own activity sheets but I recommend Super Teacher Worksheets for a variety of comprehension question and answer tasks from Grade levels 2 – 5.

Super teacher worksheets

Early on in the year I used the following process for teaching comprehension using worksheets: 

* I read the text to the students, discussing any unfamilar vocabulary along the way.

* I would then read each question and explicitly demonstrate that all of the answers were located in the text by highlighting the key passages or words which would help me answer each question.

* I showed the students how to write in full sentences to answer the questions.

* I reinforce the importance of using the text to find the answers, not just writing what you think. Even if the text is about a subject the students know a lot about (eg. dinosaurs), they must remember to always look in the text to locate answers rather than write from their own knowledge.

* I explained that any questions beginning with “what do you think” are opinion questions, not fact questions. The answer won’t actually be within the text, but you can use the information to support your opinion.

Now that the students are working more independently, I read the text but I no longer go through the questions in detail. I am pleased that my students automatically reach for a highlighter when it comes time for them to begin answering questions. I am hoping this strategy will prepare my students for NAPLAN, and consequently improve their overall comprehension skills which is the main aim.

  

How do you use question and answer worksheets to improve comprehension?

Do you have any other good websites that provide comprehension activities for students?

Commonwealth Games Activities

The upcoming Commonwealth Games has certainly been in the news a lot lately! I always like to do lessons and activities with students that revolve around important national and international events so I plan on covering the Commonwealth Games with my Grade Two class during the first fortnight of Term Four.

 

Behind the News (BTN) is a fantastic online resource that I regularly use in my Reading introductions on the interactive whiteboard. BTN covers a variety of interesting newsworthy topics which are updated weekly and are presented in a child-friendly format.

 

Check out the BTN story below about the Commonwealth Games.

 

Commonwealth Games BTN

 

I made a comprehension activity (see below) for my students about the Commonwealth Games. I plan to read the information page with my students as a whole class, discussing vocabulary and any unfamiliar content. Students will then complete the question sheet.

 

 

 

And for an easy way to introduce the Commonwealth Games or for early finishers here are some colouring pages of the mascot Shera.

 

 

The resources I have made can be downloaded and printed for your own use. I hope they come in handy for you! Go Aussies!

 

Do you have any resources or teaching ideas for the Commonwealth Games?