Jul 7, 2014

Kindergarteners CAN Write Paragraphs!!

Hello everyone! Continuing the re-launch and I’m grateful to be a part of such a dedicated group of individuals working under the umbrella of bilingual education. This is a new beginning for me as well, since it has been about a year since I last blogged! Lots of changes happened since last year, including the birth of my second daughter, so in between the nausea, preschool for my first daughter, moving apartments, giving birth in April, being out of the classroom since March, and losing internet connection, blogging went downhill. But I just couldn’t give up this opportunity, so here I am again, determined to be more faithful. I don’t boast a TPT store, but I do plan on bringing you teaching strategies every 7th of the month that hopefully you will be able to use in your classrooms.
Just a little recap about myself. My name is Pamela and this will be my 7th year teaching kindergarten in a 90/10 dual immersion charter school in California. I spend 90% of my day teaching Spanish Language Arts (SLA) and Social Studies and 10% teaching English Language Development (ELD). In my school we teach only 1-2 core subjects and then switch students with our partner teacher who teaches the other subjects. It has its advantages and disadvantages, but I am grateful to still have a job after the tumultuous time that teaching has had in the last few years in California.
Since I’ve been out of the classroom for a while I don’t have the best pictures but I would like to share one of the last strategies I used with my kinder students before I left. Our school uses GLAD strategies a lot! Although it might not be new to you, one of the most intimidating for me to teach was the co-op strip paragraph. This year I finally tackled it and was ecstatic with the results. My students were able to write an entire expository paragraph! Yes, it was in groups and together as a class, but considering at least half of my students came in speaking and understanding little to no Spanish, it was an awesome sight to see.
I spent a number of weeks giving students input in a variety of ways on famous Americans who have contributed to our society. We then concluded our unit of study with a co-op strip paragraph. In general, here is what we did:

Students writing

Using their finger space!

Sharing the pencil
Tracing with a marker
Day 1:  We chose, at random, one of our American heroes and reviewed what we had learned about him. As a class we referenced our pictorial input charts, books, videos, and process grid (other GLAD strategies). I put students into groups of 3-4 students and told students that they had to write a sentence based on one specific area of our American hero; in this case it was César Chávez. Each group got one sentence strip (more if they needed it). The process grid is like a table specifying the different areas, so students just had to reference this grid in order to write their sentence. Students had to share the pencil so that everyone got to write at least one word. After they read me their sentence I gave them a marker (anything but black) to trace over their words. Place the sentences in a pocket chart. That’s it.
Day 2:  We read the sentences that were in the pocket chart and as a whole group we revised them. Our GLAD trainer really helped me understand the difference between revising and editing. On this day we cupped out hands around our ears because revising means making our sentences “sound good”. Together we switched sentence strips around, but words apart, and changed words so that they made sense.  Any corrections were made by myself using a black marker. That’s why none of the students could use a black marker. Black is so much less intrusive  than red, don’t you think? We stopped once the entire paragraph “sounded good”.
Our final Cesar Chavez paragraph
Day 3:  We read our paragraph again and this time put on our glasses because it was time to edit. Editing means making the sentences “look good”. We took one sentence at a time and edited it for spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. We then read our final paragraph and congratulated each other for having written an awesome paragraph.
I then typed up the final version and sent it home so students could share with their parents. The best part of this is that it becomes something that practically all students can read even if their decoding skills or fluency is not the best because we read it SOOOOO MANY TIMES and they knew the content very well.
My other class wrote about Martin Luther King Jr.
Do you use GLAD in the classroom? Have you used the co-op strip paragraph? I would love to know! Drop me a note J.
Rayos de Kinder

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