Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Workshop Wednesday

Hey, y'all! Jivey here!
Ideas by Jivey
I thought it would be VERY appropriate to post for Workshop Wednesday because, way back in the day (okay, last year...) I was the original Workshop Wednesday Girl! Check out some old posts here if you are interested!

Today, I am going to share with you what I have found to be the BEST way to teach grammar and writing... and I'm going to focus on lower grades (1st and 2nd grades). Make sure to hang in til the end of the post to grab a freebie and find out about an exciting opportunity! If you are interested in upper grades, there's plenty of info you can read here!

Mentor Sentences are THE BEST way I've found to teach grammar and writing. The idea is: students are exposed students to well-written sentences from quality texts that will help them become better writers and have a greater understanding of how the parts of speech work together.

First and second graders can absolutely benefit from mentor sentences, just as the kiddos in upper grades can! It might take a little longer for students to understand the routine than upper grade students, but just like with anything else, consistency is key!

Here is the schedule for the way I use mentor sentences in the classroom:
Here is a sentence from my first unit of mentor sentences for second graders:
Depending on your students, you might do all of this together just on chart paper, or you might have the students copy/write in a notebook, too. The things we hope for students to notice during Monday's "Invitation to Notice" in the lower grades are going to be different than upper grades- they are going to be more basic. This sentence includes proper nouns, which will be the focus of the week's lessons, so it will be important to talk about why there are capital letters at the start of names.
On Tuesday, the "Invitation to Notice Parts of Speech" will definitely look very different from the upper grades, especially in the beginning of the year. I have still included the list of all the parts of speech on the lesson suggestions page for your own information and in case you have some higher level kids that are ready to go more in depth...
But, I would focus more on the part of speech skill for that week- maybe labeling just those in the sentence, or making a t-chart, like this:
Having a discussion about just the proper and common nouns in the sentence would be a great lead to a lesson where they find their own proper and common nouns in their books! You could even have them write those nouns on sticky notes and put them onto your t-chart you've created!

On Wednesday, for "Invitation to Revise" it would be a good idea to help guide the students in how to revise a sentence. One of the skills required by common core is to expand simple and compound sentences. One way to do this is to add adjectives before nouns. Giving them the sentence with blanks in front of the nouns so that students can brainstorm and help you revise the sentence first is a great way to get them thinking before they try to revise the sentence on their own.
Thursday's "Invitation to Imitate" will be the hardest part for most of the lower grades students to grasp at first, but it will be the most important for students' writing progress! Don't give up- it will come! I would suggest giving them a sentence frame, almost like a MadLib:
You can have students brainstorm with you, or you can have them try on their own after you walk them through a think-aloud of your own sentence. You should use your own judgment based on what your students are ready to do.
I like to keep all of my weekly invitations up each day so the students can be reminded of the focus and see our progress. Also, because the week's focus is proper nouns, I would point them out when I see them in reading, as well as do some short lessons on proper nouns throughout the week during writing/grammar time.

On Friday, I would remove the chart and sentence from the students' view so they can't just copy on the "Invitation to Edit" quiz. In the lower grades quizzes I've made, I have included handwriting lines to encourage proper letter formation when the students re-write the sentence properly. The quiz will assess the skill that you've focused on all week. To give you an idea, here is the answer key to the weekly quiz that goes with the lesson I've shown you:
I hope this helps you understand how to use mentor sentences in second grade, and even first grade in the second half of the year! If you want to try them in your classroom, you can get a freebie here!
You can also get the first set here, perfect for the beginning of the school year:
You can see other mentor sentences that can be used for the lower grades by clicking here. You can also see a video of mentor sentences in action in a FIRST GRADE classroom (for the first time, too!) below:

And if you want to hear all about it IN PERSON, I am delivering professional development workshops this summer that you can attend! They are at Gwinnett Technical College in Lawrenceville, Georgia, so I know that might not be ideal for some of you... but I know there are some Georgia Peaches that read the Primary Peach so I wanted to make sure to share with you! If you'd like to find out more information, click here!

Please let me know if you have any other questions! I love to hear how they are working in your classroom, too! :o)