Monday, December 7, 2015

Yahara River Writers Contest

Yahara River Writers Contest
This December, the English teachers invite all students at OMS to participate in the Yahara River Writers Contest!  This writing contest is open to all students 5th through 8th grade in Dane County.

What can you submit:
There are 4 different categories you can enter your work into:  Realistic short story, poetry, political cartoon, and editorial.  Students can submit to more than one category if they choose.  

Due date:
All submissions are due to your English teacher on December 14th, students have been given some time in class to work on their entries.

Requirements and more information can be found here


What can you win:
This is a county-wide contest where 33 school districts in the area send submissions. All entries will be judged and the top ten in each category, per grade level, will be selected.  From each top ten group, a first and second place entry will be identified.  All top ten entries will be published in the Yahara River Writers Anthology, and all authors of top ten entries will be invited to attend a workshop on the UW Campus.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Skyping with 2nd and 3rd graders #SkypeAThon

As part of our non-fiction picture book project, we spent part of class today skyping with our target audience; 2nd and 3rd graders in North America.  The students had all prepared questions to ask and they took notes during the call.  We learned that 2nd and 3rd graders like a lot of facts, bright colors, many topics, and that they expect all 7th graders to be great spellers.  It was a great day of connecting in 7th grade.










Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Our Non-Fiction Picture Book Project Explained

Non-Fiction Picture Book Assignment

Purpose:  To create a non-fiction picture book aimed at a 2nd-3rd grade audience.

Assignment:  Students will create a non-fiction picture book on a topic of their choice aimed at a 2nd-3rd grade audience.  Further expectations are discussed below.  

Due:  December 22nd, 2015.

Final Product:  All finished books will be created in Google Presentations for more creative flexibility.  These will be submitted via Google Classroom and then shared with 2nd and 3rd grade classrooms around the world for additional feedback.

Expectations:

  • Finished product should be a 15 to 20 page book that not only includes 4-5 or so "chapters/sub-topics" but also has a glossary, table of contents, sources, and front and back cover.
  • Font size of text should be at least 20.
  • Students will use at least one print research material and supplement with reliable internet sources.
  • We will use the website Easybib.com to cite all of our sources which will be done in conjunction with Jeri in tech tools.  She will assess that portion of the project.
  • We will spend time in class researching, writing, as well as sharing our work.  Students should be able to finish this in class if time is spent wisely.  

Sample:  Will be shown in class and linked to here.

  • Graphic organizers and templates can be provided for those who need to follow a format.  To access them, please go to this Google presentation and make a copy as needed.
Mini-Lesson Materials:
Every day, we will focus on a mini-lesson meant to bolster the skills and needs of the students.  The following mini-lessons will be taught (in order):
  1. Exploring NF picture books; what are their text features and why are they important?  Template for this discovery can be found in Google classroom and here.
  2. What do you want to teach the world?  Narrowing down topic and finding research materials.  Brainstorming research questions to guide their reading.  
  3. Who is your audience?  What do we know about 2nd and 3rd graders?  Preparing for our market research Skype call.
  4. Skype call to classrooms and then research time.
  5. Taking 3 column notes in notebook or Google docs.  Example template can be found here.
  6. Taking notes on notecards.
  7. Using Diigo as a way to take notes (refresher from Tech tools).
  8. Unscrambling a paragraph - parts of a paragraph  (example taken from here)
  9. Fill in the main idea and conclusion - found here
  10. Informal to formal paragraph - found here Alternate is writing a sample paragraph
  11. Teach to your partner, checklist can be found here
  12. Table of contents - what does it do, what does it need?
  13. Glossary - what does it do, what does it need?
  14. Self-assessment, peer edit if they want to and review, checklist can be found here
  15. Turn in (December 22nd).

Standards Assessed:

ELA 3:
Write informative texts to convey ideas; select, organize, and analyze content; summarize

ELA 5:
Draw evidence from texts to support written analysis.
ELA 6:
Command the conventions of standard English grammar, usage, and vocabulary.

Yahara Short Story Draft Rubric

Yahara Short Story Draft Rubric
3 separate summative scores are given for this best draft effort.

Standard
4
3
2
1
4:  Writes a narrative using vivid detail and powerful word choice.
The writer effectively uses precise words and phrases, vivid descriptive details, engaging sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences and events.

Uses precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and appropriate sensory language to convey a clear picture of the experiences and events.
The writer uses simplistic words and phrases, inconsistent descriptive details, and limited sensory language to convey a partial picture of the experiences and events.
The writer vaguely expresses experiences or events and uses confusing or incorrect words and phrases, little or no descriptive details, and little or no sensory language to convey an unclear or confusing picture of the experiences and events.
4:  Writes narrative using an ordered sequence following the story arc structure.
Effectively creates a sequence of events, real or imagined, that unfolds naturally and logically from beginning to end.  
The writer adequately creates a sequence of events, real or imagined, that unfolds naturally and logically from beginning to end
The writer creates an inconsistent and uneven sequence of events, real or imagined, that unfolds from beginning to end.
The writer uses little or no discernible sequence of events, real or imagined, to convey the narrative.
Standard 6: Command the conventions of standard English grammar, usage, and vocabulary.
Strong grasp of conventions and consistently uses it to enhance the work.
Strong grasp of standard writing conventions (spelling, capitalization, and punctuation). Correct sentence structure throughout.
Many errors in conventions (spelling, capitalization, and punctuation) which distracts from writing. Simple or inconsistent use of varied sentence structures.  
Conventions (spelling, capitalization, and punctuation) and/or sentence structure hinders readers from comprehension of work.