I have had so much fun getting to know my students even more through the lesson The Ultimate Gift! This last week we began working on the lesson. First my students rotated around the room and enjoyed reading a few books that taught them that the holiday season is about so much more than the presents they get under their tree. Here are my favorite books that I used:
Before class let out for the day, I had the students share what they learned from the books. What was the theme behind the stories?
On the next day, we made a list of gifts that we could give that-
1. wouldn't break next week
2. would not go out of style next month
3. something we wouldn't want to trade for something different next year
It was a great conversation had with all. Once we made a list, students chose one of the gifts that they felt they could commit to giving in this next year.
I chose generosity and completed a modeled sample with the students on What does it look like to give, and Why is it important.
Once we were finished with the Detail Generation Questions chart, I modeled how to combine the details from the chart into sentences to use in our paragraph. I also pointed out how to use sentence starters to add variety in the piece. I encouraged the students to use a mixture of compound and complex sentences as well and modeled a correlative conjunction in my sample.
During my modeling, I always want to have a teaching point that provides opportunity for me to show the students what revising looks like in their own writing. So as I was rereading the first few sentences, I told them that there was a couple of sentences that I felt like would sound better if they were switched. As we reread they were able to point out that the sentence with It is important... should come before the sentence that gives examples- Either a random note... I starred the sentences so that they knew that we would switch them and then reread the difference that it made! Try it now- Look at how much just changing the order in which my details were presented affected the impact of the message I was wanting to send. POWERFUL modeling includes opportunities to make your own writing better. My samples should never be perfect, but rather offer a chance for connections to be made between my writing, my students, and myself.
After I finished my sample with the students, I went in and pointed out the sentence starters and word referents that I used to add sentence variety. Students then began working on their DGQ chart. On then next day, they wrote their own pieces on the gift they would like to give. Let me tell you... some brought tears to my eyes. This lesson ended up being a great social emotional lesson for the holiday season! Check out some of my 6th grade samples below!
If you haven't downloaded this lesson yet, get it here! Click here to download a copy of my google doc now! Looking for a digital version for your students? You're in luck! Click here for the digital copies.