No, hate is too kind of a word.
Some kids detest writing....loathe writing.....completely abhor writing. And not just the act of writing - I don't want you to think I'm talking about actual pencil to paper writing here, although some kids don't like that, either. I'm talking about actually WRITING - like developing ideas, forming an opinion or story line, putting these ideas down into sentences and paragraphs, revising, publishing....and all the grueling steps in between.
Writing can be tough, no one is arguing that. But today, I taught the kids the secret to all of those best selling novels out there:
Often times people confuse revision with editing: they are two VERY different things. Editing deals with mechanics and conventions - did you put a capital letter in the right spot? Does that comma actually go there? Indent those paragraphs, please!
Revision is much, much harder, which is why becoming a great writer takes 1,000,000 (or more!) easy steps.
But today, the kids continued their work on essay revision. We practiced first using the bellringer activity, and looked at a sample of my writing. We located transitional words and phrases, replaced the ones that were oddly used, and reviewed the importance of guiding our readers from idea to idea. Then we looked at sentence structure - did we start every single sentence the exact same way? How can we fix that snafu? We checked for verb tenses and analogy clarity, and then spent some time with main idea statements and the supporting details. (See how I skillfully used that transition "then" to show you the order and sequence of events? Pretty good, right?)
Where are we headed? Well, tomorrow, a final round of revision, this time involving technology!! Did you know that the kids' Chromebooks have an extension on them that will actually READ their text to them?! Tomorrow we are going to utilize this tool to help us revise! By having the computer read the text back to them, I'm hoping the students will hear the flaws in their writing that their brains otherwise skip over: verb tense shifts, incorrect word choice, missing punctuation... As readers reviewing our own writing, our brains often fill in the missing pieces or skip over inaccuracies, so we don't even know we made those mistakes. But someone ELSE reading out loud to us makes it easier to hear the blips and correct them.
I'm hoping that we can wrap up these essays tomorrow (aside from some final editing of conventions in the coming weeks), which means we can jump into the creative writing part of the book on Friday. I think the kids are really excited about the chance to be published writers - and I can't wait to see how their work turns out!
Meanwhile, in Social Studies, we are getting ever closer to the Revolutionary War - and I CAN NOT WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I love, love, love history, and this is the first time I've really been tasked with teaching AMERICAN history. I'm like a kid in a candy shop! Check in with your student about the Stamp Act and see if they can tell you what the British did to anger the colonists THIS time (spoiler alert: they made them pay a tax on paper products like newspapers and playing cards). If your kid passes that little quiz, you could ask them how the British Parliament felt (hint: they gave in and repealed the Stamp Act....but then REPLACED IT with the Townshend Acts instead, which taxed way more important products than the Stamp Act.....like TEA!!!).
The kids are currently working on illustrating the article we read about the Stamp Act. Sounds like just a coloring activity, right? Not quite. To do this, they had to first analyze the article and pinpoint the most important idea of the section they were assigned. Then they illustrated that certain concept or idea - this makes them use higher order thinking skills to weed through the "extra" information and get to the real root of the text. They're doing a great job, and I've seen some super artwork develop!
Thanks for sharing your kids with me this year and for joining us on this crazy ride in 5th grade!!