This week, we spent time elaborating on details that we can add to our reviews that would be the most convincing. We strayed away from details like, it’s cool, fun, awesome…and worked on adding comparisons where the students told us why their idea was better than another.
Red Robin is better than McDonald’s because you get endless supplies of french friends.
We then challenged the kids to add all the key features of a convincing review to their own writing. We spent the week fixing up our reviews and adding more to them.
On Friday, we celebrated the work that we have done in this unit by building a book of reviews and sharing them with our classmates. Look for this book to come home and enjoy reading them!
This week, we worked hard to build our REVIEWS with all the important and most convincing parts. We started with a catchy introduction, by asking a question. After stating our opinion and listing CONVINCING reasons, we worked on adding details to our reasons. We ended our reviews by restating our opinion and then telling our readers to do something. We’ve been working hard to produce more and more each day to add to our collection of completed reviews in our writing folders. Ask your first grader how many reviews they’ve completed so far!
This week, we transitioned back into opinion writing. The first graders used their collections, brought from home, to be a judge and choose their best object. We then wrote a review of the object they chose. As they were writing their review, we started to see features of their writing that reminded us of our persuasive letters that we wrote back in December.
As we worked on a shared review together, we took note of key features that we’ll see in our own Reviews. We’ll build on these few features to build more persuasive reviews throughout this unit.
This week we wrapped up our unit on Nonfiction Books. Once all of our books were finished, we went through and carefully edited and revised our favorite book.
We ended the week by adding a cover to our book and finally getting to color the pictures we have been working so hard on the past several week. Way to go first graders!
We continued with our nonfiction chapter books this week in Writing. We learned how good writers can add details to their books by adding comparisons and examples. For comparisons, we tried comparing things that might be a little hard to understand to things that are easy to understand. For example…
Sharks teeth are as sharp as a knife!
– or –
A first grade classroom is like your school home.
We also practiced giving examples to help the reader understand what we are trying to convey. By giving examples, we are helping our reader learn all the information they can about our topics. For example…
Hudsonville has lots of restaurants like Subway, Jets, and Sprinkles.
– or –
Monkeys eats lots of fruit. They eat bananas and oranges.
We continued to work on writing nonfiction teaching books. This week, we worked on organizing our books with a table of contents and we expanded our books to include four different chapters. As the kids start a new book, they first pick a topic and write down four different chapters that they will teach about for their topic. We worked on using these chapter titles to organize our ideas in our table of contents.
This week in writing, we asked ourselves “How Can I Teach My Reader?” We need to think about who our reader might be and think about the questions they might have about our topic. For example, if we were writing “All About Dogs,” chances are that we would be writing to someone who doesn’t know much about dogs. If one of my facts is Dogs chew bones. My reader might want to know “Why do they eat bone?” or “What kind of bones.” Its our job as the authors of our books to think about the questions readers might have before we write and answer those questions before our reader has to ask those question.
We also focused on writing twin sentences to focus in on key words that will help teach our readers more about our topic. Here are a few good examples of twin sentences from our students’ writing:
Great Wolf Lodge is a hotel. A hotel is a place where people can spend the night.
Dogs need exercise. Some kinds of exercise are walking and playing fetch.
Dinosaurs are predators. Predators eat other animals.
This week in Writers Workshop, we started a new unit about Nonfiction Writing. We are just at the beginning of the unit but we have already learned so much! First graders are so excited to be teaching about topics that they know a lot about! We began the week by talking about when you write a Nonfiction book, you need to pick a topic that you are an expert about. The way that we do this is first to think of a topic that you know a lot about. Then you plan your pages across your fingers. We want to make sure that we know around 5 facts about our topic so that we can write those facts across our pages in our books.
After you plan your topic across your fingers, good teachers and writers quickly sketch their plan across the pages in their books so that they don’t forget what they want to write on that page! Once you have sketched you plan then it is time to write the words!
We continued in our Persuasive Writing Unit. We reviewed how persuasive letters had to do with things that were important to us and that helped make our home, neighborhood, or school a better place.
Next, we learned that persuasive letters try to make someone agree with our opinion. We stated our opinions in our letter using the “I think….” sentence starter. When we state our opinion, it becomes clear what we want the other person to think as well.
We then realized that it is important to think about our audience for our letters. If there is something we want to change in our home, then the best audience for our letter is probably someone at home, not at school.
We also talked about giving good reasons in our letters. Just saying that we really want something is not good enough! We need to share with our audience why it is important to us. We also discussed mini-moment reasons. These are little stories where we share a time when we saw the problem in our own lives. After our mini-moments, we also discussed how we need to add a solution to our letter. This is how we are going to help fix the problem.
We will continue to send home letters throughout the next week or so, you might receive a letter from your first grader. I encourage you to write them back! If you do, send it along with your child’s letter back to school. We would love to share responses we get with the class!
I also ask that if you receive a letter, make sure they are working for what they ask for! Don’t just let a “please please please” letter convince you. Look for a letter that gives good reasons and ideas before agreeing to what they ask for and a solution of how they can help make this happen. Don’t worry – I also warned them that it is likely that you might not agree with their request!
These letters are so fun to read – first graders sure are creative! Thank you for your help in making this process so fun for these first graders!