Monday, March 5, 2018

Expository Writing Program for Special Education Students

Do your students struggle with expository writing?  It's hard for students because they often lack the background knowledge necessary.

Product cover to help students take notes and turn them into complete sentences.

I created this set of notes for my students.  Each page is a different animal.  Notes are written in fragments.

Example of notes for elementary student expository writing.

Here is an example of what a note sheet looks like.  I project this on my smart board so everyone can see it.  I also give students their own copy.  

Students use color pencils to underline important information.

We read through the notes together.  Then we decide what information we can use as a detail.  We underline that information with red.  Then we look for facts that give more information/examples.  We underline that fact in blue.  We find at least 3 sets of facts that can be used as a detail/example.  Once we have the "meat" of our paper underlined, we start writing.

Since we are just beginning to write, I have taught my students a very generic topic sentence.  I tell them it's a generic topic.  It will get the job done, but it has lots of room for improvement.  We use the sentence frame:  _____ are interesting animals.

After students write their topic, we look at the first pair of facts we underlined.  We make them both into complete sentences.  We do the same with the remaining details/examples we identified.  Then, we write a conclusion.  For right now, we are using a generic conclusion.   As you can see, _____ (restate the topic).

As students write, I ask them to underline the topic and conclusion in black, details in red, and examples in blue.

Here's an example from 2 different students.  The top example is from a student who worked with me in a small group and needed lots of support.  The second example is from a student who wrote the entire paragraph by himself after we discussed details/examples from the notes.

Finished student work example for expository writing with color coded sentences.

Finished student work example for expository writing with color coded sentences.

If you are interested in using notes for expository writing, you can find set 1 here.


Sunday, March 4, 2018

Fraction Anchor Charts

multiple ways to represent a fraction.
Example of Fraction Anchor Chart

Do you use anchor charts?  I love them!  They are a great reference for students during independent work.  Here are a few of the anchor charts we made during class over the last few weeks.

multiple ways to represent the number 1
Ways to Represent 1

 This has been a great reminder for my kids on fractions that equal 1.

visual way to represent fractions that are less than and greater than one.
Quickly compare any fraction to 1

My kids really struggle with looking at a fraction and being able to determine immediately if it is less than or greater than one.  This anchor chart has allowed me to quickly review this concept with the kids and it's a great reference for them during independent work.

Multiple ways to represent a fraction.
Represent the same fraction in more than one way.

Students often forget the different ways to represent a fraction especially when they are trying to solve word problems.  This chart helps them decide the best way to organize the information in the word problem to make it easier to solve.

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