Sunday, June 17, 2012

Focus Instruction Model #3

Woo Hoo!  We were having so much fun learning how easy it is to teach focus instruction for ten minutes or less.  Remember, your students needs should drive the focus instruction that you choose.

Focus Instruction:  Revision

For this lesson, Michelle chose to use a piece that she had written about an experience she had in a graveyard with her sister.  She projected her story and talked through this lesson out loud with us.  In her instruction she let us know that she was looking for words and phrases in her writing that spoke to the meaning of her piece.  As she read through her story, she highlighted important words and phrases. This is very easy to do and for your students to see if you are working in Microsoft Word.  She made sure to tell us as a class that we might have the urge to interject as she read her story to us, but that it was important that we noticed how she modeled her thinking, so we couldn't blurt out.  After Michelle chose the words she wanted to use, she moved them to a different document.  She played around with the organization of the words.  She could add words or leave out words if she chose.

After walking us through this strategy, Michelle instructed us to find a piece of writing in our notebooks that we would like to work with.  We walked through the same process that she modeled for us with our stories.  After we highlighted words, we were instructed to move them to a new sheet of paper.  We were allowed to move them around, add words, and delete words.

My original piece was written about the day that Leia had a febrile seizure.  My story was about nine paragraphs and written in a narrative format.  After trying this strategy, I felt my piece cut right to the heart of what the story was about.  My long narrative turned out to be a poem written in two voices after I was finished.  The blue text is the voice of my husband and the white text is the voice of my babysitter.  The red line at the end is both voices.

Busy season
Sun beating on my back
Refreshing drink

Aspirin isn’t working
Haunting eyes roll back
Turning blue

Recap my day
nagging customers
Ragged workers
Busy season

A warm connection
“What do I do?”
Shaky fingers dial
I hug all my love into her
Our breath is one

Finally, relaxation hasn't rang
Quieted mind
Head home

Kiss my baby girl
On the head
This has never happened
In 25 years of experience

“What a day from hell it’s been.”

Note:  The highlighted words are from a revision strategy that I learned in a different focus instruction lesson.  We were asked to highlight words that related to our five senses:
After highlighting words, you can notice whether or not you focus on one or more senses more than others and rearrange your writing accordingly.  More about this strategy in a different post!

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