This blog post is a part of a monthly series entitled "You Oughta Know About" hosted by Buzzing with Mrs McClain.
This month, I'm writing about Weekly Paragraph Writing. It's something new that I added to my classroom this year with amazing results. I definitely plan on doing this for years to come.
I don't remember what I read or saw last summer that inspired me, but to whatever or whomever it was : thank you, thank you, thank you. Because of you, my students became better writers. I mean, way better writers. They became proud to display their progress on our bulletin board, and when I go in to visit them (I'm now on maternity leave and my replacement kept this up), they are eager to show me their new paragraph!
**All pictures are in French since I teach at a French school :)
It's fairly easy to implement in your classroom, with a little work at the beginning on your part (or you can check out my Weekly Paragraph Writing here - I've done the work for you! See below for a special deal until tomorrow morning!)
The schedule goes like this :
It's important for students to practice brainstorming properly and not just be fixated on the first idea that pops into their heads. When I give them a topic, they have to brainstorm and even write little notes to explain a bit further. Yes, this student in particular didn't seem to put much effort into her brainstorm!
This day, my students will pick 3 ideas from the brainstorm and develop them a little bit more with examples.
For example, if my students brainstormed about their favourite colour (pink, let's say), they would have to choose 3 ideas from their brainstorm (ie : it makes me feel good when I wear it, it's an attractive colour and I love the different shades of pink available).
Introductory and Concluding sentences
On this day my students will work on their introduction sentences and their concluding sentences. The introduction sentence (1-2 sentences) will always introduce their topic in a vague manner and their concluding sentence will resume what they have said.
At the beginning, the introductory sentences I would get looked a lot like My name is Rose and I will talk to you about my favourite colour. My concluding sentences would look like Thank you for reading about my favourite colour. or That's why I like the colour pink.
Yes, lots of work was needed! lol
On this day, my students will put all of it together, making sure to add transition words so that the paragraph flows well together. They will also spend some time revising their draft, getting it ready for tomorrow.
I booked the computer lab for 15 minutes every Friday morning for the whole year (I did this back in August when I thought of this). Every Friday morning, my students don't come into my classroom first, they go right to the computer lab and start typing their weekly paragraphs. They then use a spell/grammar check program we have on school computers to correct their paragraph and then they print.
The fun part is what happens next! I made a bulletin board with 12x12 scrapbook paper. Each student picked a square and every Friday, they staple their most recent weekly paragraph on top of the old one. They only staple the top, so you can easily flip through and see their progress. And that's the amazing part. The first paragraph they ever wrote is still there, and when they compare it to where they are now, they are amazed at their progress! And even more fantastic, they are proud of their progress.
So there you have it! I'm glad you now know about Weekly Paragraph Writing. I hope you can take some ideas from here and implement them in your classroom next year.
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