Sunday, June 17, 2012

Focus Instruction Model #2

I hope you read the previous post before reading this one!  This post is meant to show you yet another example that focus instruction can be taught in ten minutes or less with your children during your writing workshop!  In our second lesson, Julie used a lesson she read about in Jeff Anderson's book:  Mechanically Inclined.

Focus Skill:  Revision
Julie started out by telling us a story.  She said she was with her daughter and heading to the store.  She said that when she was shops for a few quick items she likes to take a grocery list so that she can get in, grab her items, and checkout in the express lane.  She told us how her list helped her to stay focused in the grocery store and get just what she needed and get out.  Five minute trip...Yes!  You can relate, right moms?  Julie then taught us how we could use this same strategy when revising a piece of our work.  She called it an express lane edit.  Julie walked us through how to complete an express lane edit by using a piece of work written by one of her students.  She projected the student's work and helped us get started by creating a shopping list.  Shopping lists only need to have a few quick items listed on them.  Julie said she would discuss with her students some of the conventions they had been learning about.  This is the shopping list that her class created.  Students could also create their own individual shopping lists and write them on Post-It notes:

After the students created their shopping lists, they posted them to their work and wrote out a receipt of what they noticed in their own writing.  They made note of places where they noticed they needed capitalization, ending punctuation, and apostrophes.  The receipt was listed on a separate Post It.  This is what we noticed and listed when we read through the piece that Julie's student had written:

You can see that as we read the story written by Julie's student we noticed that she was using capital letters often in places that lower case letters were needed instead.  After constructing her receipt, her student could then go back to her work and correct what she noticed in her revision.

After modeling for us, we were assigned to think of a convention that we needed to work on in our own work.  I listed "verb tense" on my shopping list because I often change verb tense in my stories not meaning to.  I read through my piece with my receipt ready to note places in my story where I needed to make changes.  I did not find any mistakes in my piece.

What If...What do you do with children who say, "I have created my grocery list, read my work, and I don't have any mistakes?"

  • Ask the student to read the piece a second time.
  • If they still cannot find any mistakes, ask them to read it backwards.
  • If they are sure of no mistakes after trying both of these strategies, have them write down that they have read their piece three times, there are no mistakes, and sign their name to their work.
A few, "AHA!" moments I had with this lesson:

  • this activity is a great replacement for Daily Oral Language
  • students should not just revise their work before they publish
  • students should be periodically revising their work
  • as a teacher, you could keep an anchor chart of conventions you've taught during the year and have students refer to it when creating their shopping lists

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