My 4th grade students have just finished up a 6-week study of opinion writing, and we really learned a lot about the genre. Despite several stop-and-go weeks (thanks to the weather), we managed to complete six quality essays during our unit of study. If your day is anything like mine, then you consider yourself lucky to find 30 minutes devoted to writing. That’s the case for me this year, and I am loving every minute of our writer’s workshop. However, 30 minutes can fly by if you don’t make careful use of your time. Here’s how I structured my weekly writing lessons to make the most of every writing minute.
DIY Graphic Organizers
The first week of our unit was an introduction where we studied a model essay and looked at the characteristics of the genre. The subsequent weeks were practice essays before our final assessment week. One thing to keep in mind when preparing students for a writing assessment is that they often are only allowed scratch paper – no charts or graphic organizers such as the ones they might have used with the practice prompts. Get kids used to that idea right away. In my room that means we take just a few minutes to discuss how to create our own organizers on blank paper. If you prepare them for this situation in advance, your students will be able to focus on their writing and not get lost in the creation of organizers.
In tomorrow’s post I will share the prompt statements I use to really get my students fired up and ready to write!