Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Oral Writing

Have you ever heard of Whole Brain Teaching?  It is not new, but it is new to me.  My friend Christina from Sugar and Spice introduced me to it and the amazing benefits for kids.  When I retuned to school after Christmas break, I began to implement some of the strategies from Whole Brain Teaching.  I saw incredible results in writing.  My kids struggle to write a complete sentence.  We have been working on writing a basic complete sentence all year, and no matter what I have done, most of my students still have not mastered this concept.  Until now!!!  With the use of Oral Writing, my kids are writing paragraphs.  We went from unable to write a complete sentence to writing a 4 sentence paragraph in just a few weeks.

On Friday, we discussed our favorite vehicles.  Since I have almost all boys, this topic grabbed their attention immediately.  We made a list of vehicles on the board.  When a student volunteered an answer, they had to back it up by using a "because" sentence.   For example, one student said, "I like limos because they are long."  We proceeded in this manner until we had a list of several different kinds of vehicles on the board.

Then, we used this frame to write an oral paragraph.

 Each time we orally wrote our paragraph, we would use different vehicles with different reasons.
After the class had practiced many different versions of the paragraph, they were turned loose to write their own paragraph independently.

I'll be honest, this is the time my class falls apart.  It seems no matter how much I explain and we practice, the class completely loses it during independent practice.  I always have a line of students around my desk with questions and a couple who have given up and have found something to play with.  Sound familiar?  Well, this no longer occurs in my classroom.

This is what happened:

This first student is almost a non-reader.  She wrote this entire paragraph without any help.  She didn't even ask a question.  I didn't see her until she brought me her paper to look over.  It is AMAZING!!
(Three of my favorite vehicles are Mustangs, yellow taxi, and Hot Rods.  I like Mustangs because they are fast.  I like yellow taxi because they can take us anywhere.  I like Hot Rods because they are fun.)

 These are two more student examples.

Not only did the kids write complete paragraphs, they all had complete sentences.  Each sentence began with a capital letter and ends with correct punctuation.  They also capitalized proper nouns.  Oral writing has been a miracle for my kids!

I hope you will check out my friend's blog for more ideas and more info.


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Lucky Leprechaun Snatch Game (Freebie)

This year has been crazy busy!  This is a quick post to share a game my kids LOVE to play.

 It's super simple.  This is a partner game.  Each student needs 7-9 tokens.  (They both need the same amount, but a different color than their partner.) Each set of partners will need 2 dice and 1 game board.  Students take turns rolling the dice.  Student 1 rolls both dice and adds (or multiplies) the numbers.  Student 1 takes a token and covers that number on the game board.  Student 2 rolls the dice, adds the numbers, and covers the space.  If Student 1 has already covered the space with 1 token, Student 2 can "snatch" the spot by removing Student 1's token and covering the space with his own token.  If a student rolls a number that he already has his token on, he can "lock" it by placing a second token on the space.  Now this space cannot be snatched by the opponent.  You can get this game {here}

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