Our personal essay unit is moving faster than I had anticipated. It seems my students are really getting into the rhythm of what writing looks like in our class. My fourth graders are working on their ‘borradores’ (drafts), and continue to revise their work. Many have started polishing their pieces by editing for clarity, word choice and usage, complete sentences, capital letters, punctuation and spelling.
Let me just take a step back though and take it from PART I of my post on personal essays. On that post I had mentioned how students generated ideas and started coming up with evidence to support their ideas/topic. I really took the time to make sure the body of their essays was well structured before moving onto conclusions. We spend a few days developing. They met with their writing partners, conferred with me, met with an intern (isn’t that amazing! – I love Ms. Rojas), etc. I make sure I am NOT the sole source of information in my room. I meet with them on an appointment basis (just post the names of who I will be meeting with on the board at the beginning of the day). Their writing partners are really the ‘first’ go-to person. This does not mean that if a child really needs to talk to me I reject him/her: I just try to meet with everyone one-on-one at least once in the course of a week.
We then moved to conclusions and as I have been doing throughout the unit, I presented them with ‘muletillas’ or sentence startes in Spanish (interesting fact: muletillas = crutches because they ‘help’ the writer get started). The photo below shows you the different ones they could use…but NOT limited to.
|Ways to start a conclusion in Spanish|
As that was being wrapped up, others started revising and editing. See the attached editing checklist below. Finally, the rubric (which was introduced at the beginning of the unit/and posted below as well) was put into good use as some children felt they were ready to publish.
|RUBRIC for personal essays|
To encourage my writers and to try something different, I had several students publish on CHART paper. That way I could use this for future classes and they surely felt ‘really important’ that their writing was published on giant paper, not just a regular 8 1/2 by 11.
Honestly, sometimes I feel that I am not getting where I want, but this time I am just really enjoying both the quantity and quality of their writing….did I mention they are writing in Spanish?
Let me know how you encourage your young writers. I am looking for ways to make my students want to write even MORE!!!