Here is one of my favorite lessons.
I do it every year.
I do it several times a year.
And you should too. :)
Are you familiar with The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown?
It’s basically a book that details simple objects. There is a pattern to her writing. It is such a wonderful example of “organization” if you teach Six Traits. You can peak at the inside of the book here.
I think the best thing about this lesson is that it can be used with any subject area and at every grade level. For the younger learners simply make a template for them. For the even younger learners let them dictate it to you. Older learners can write it on their own.
I read the book. I discuss the pattern and organization to her writing. We chat about how she finds the details in simple objects.
I reread the book. During the second reading we discuss each page. We talk about how she intertwines the writing with the illustrations.
I model an example of how they need to write it. I even work in one of my sad little drawings.
I am creative. I am not artistic. I firmly believe they are two very different characteristics.
I start the year with them writing about themselves.
Example: The important thing about Jane is that she is a great friend. She is funny, she walks her dog every day and she cries when she gets hit with a ball in gym. She is ticklish, she loves to eat oatmeal and she is saving money to buy a new American Girl Doll. But, the important thing about Jane is that she is a good friend.
I have them write about a content area:
The important thing about magnets...
The important thing about Pilgrims...
I have them write about math:
The important thing about a (insert the name of a geometric solid)
The important thing about multiplication is...
It’s a really good way to assess what they know. The final products make beautiful displays. They also make fabulous class book.