Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Write About It Wednesday: "Say what?"

I worked with 4th and 5th grade teachers in Elgin today. We were reviewing our data from a recent District Assessment.  There was a question on said assessment about dialogue. Specifically, where the comma goes in relation to the quotation marks! Oh goodness!

It is in our student expectations that students know how to use dialogue in writing. Our students take a very special test in 4th grade in Texas. It's called the STAAR and we all know that a student who can use dialogue in writing, and use it well has mad skills as a 4th grade writer.  So, we want our students to know how to use it- and correctly. Also of note, our students have questions about editing and revising they have to answer... it is a tough test to say the least.

So it was my job today to think about ideas to support teachers in teaching our students how to use dialogue in writing.

Ummm... has anyone reviewed how to use dialogue lately? This is quite a complicated process in the English language.  Once I reviewed it myself (#notjoking) I thought about how I would teach it to students.

The first thing I had to do was break it down for students.  The easiest way I could think of was: leaders, followers, and interrupters!

In a leader sentence, dialogue leads a dialogue tag (What's a dialogue tag? he said, she said, Madelyn shouted etc.)
In a follower sentence, dialogue follows a dialogue tag
In an interrupter sentence, a dialogue tag interrupts the dialogue

I made the following anchor chart...

With students in front of my we would add examples under each type! And with our highlighters, we look at what is important about each example! Where are the capitals? That gets tricky in the interrupter examples! Where are the commas? When is there not a comma because there is ending punctuation? That gets tricky in the leader examples!

Getting kids to notice the differences, see the ways that writers can use dialogue, and to come up with examples is key!

I may give kids a handout like this  to glue into their Writer's Notebooks or to add to their writing folders as a reference.

I could also ask kids to go back and practice or create one example of each kind of sentence in their Writer's Notebooks!  Oh the possibilities! 

A second lesson on a second day might have an anchor chart like this one.... dialogue about dialogue!

** I looked at this so many times my eyes are spinning- if you find a mistake in my dialogue- please just make your chart NOT have any mistakes **

We'd want to mark it up- highlighting key features in each place where dialogue is used.  Then when students are working on using dialogue in their writing, they would have an example of a chart with dialogue in action!

This is hard stuff eh?  I am going to need more practice and so will your students. This will make a perfect work station don't you think? Editing passages with dialogue would be a great idea.

If you have an idea for how students could practice using dialogue in their writing as part of a Writing Work Station or Work on Writing in Daily Five, please share in a comment!


Thursday, October 2, 2014

October! WOO-HOO!

Goodness how I love this time of year! I used to think I was alone, but I know it is favored by many! What do y'all think of my fall blog design? Not enough glitter right?

What do I love about FALL??????

Pumpkin Spice Candles
Apple Crisp
Cinder Mills
Candy Corn
Jeans and Sweaters
College Football

If you've ever experienced this season I'm talking about, you'll understand that living in Texas in October can be challenging! Don't get me wrong, I love Texas, but I'm still bare legged and wearing peep toed shoes! I don't have cider mills to go to and the leaves will not turn yellow, orange or red.  I am changing out my closet tonight (after this blog post) and I have decorated my house with a few things that bring me joy despite the fact that it's still 90 degrees outside.

I am excited for this CUTE Currently by Farley. I will admit, I was ready to do this last night (October 1st at 5pm... and 6pm... and 7pm... but by 8pm I was reading a book in bed!)  So I'm
doing this on October 2nd- and trying to post it somewhere in the 100s... instead of the 700 that I usually am! (OMG- I was lucky number 100!!!!!)

So here goes!

Listening: I love country music! SO GOOD! I know County has changed a bit, but I still love it! I love the old stuff and 90% of the new stuff. Have y'all listened to Dirt by Florida Georgia Line? The lyrics are amazing! I just wish a country music LEGEND sang it! George... Garth... Toby... I'm sure they are kicking themselves if they passed on it!  If you don't know what I am talking about.... check it!

Loving: See above! What's not to love about FALL?!

Thinking: This week has just dragged on and last weekend went by so quickly! I'm ready for boat time (yes we can still be on the boat in October in TX). I'm ready for sleeping in. I'm ready for college football. I'm ready to spend some QT with my CUTE husband!  I might even do the laundry and clean the house...might.

Wanting: I constantly want ice cream and chocolate these days. Maybe that's what my body craves when it is under stress? I need some DQ and a Twix bar. But I won't... and I haven't since September 1st! Which is probably why I want it so badly...

Needing: Am I getting old y'all? My body aches! It cracks when I stand up! My hips... back... its awful! I need to make a massage appointment. Maybe that's how I'll spend part of my weekend.

Trick or Treat: If you don't already know, or haven't already been, I always have FREE TREATS on TpT! Please follow me so you'll know when the NEXT free item is uploaded!

Happy Fall Y'all!