Category Archive: personal essay

Think More, Say More, Write More: Elaborating with Personal Essay

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How do you help writers bridge the gap from paragraph writing to essay writing? What are your favorite strategies for elaboration?

Pausing to Reflect: Personal Essays

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My third graders are wrapping up their unit on personal essay. While some have grasped the structure and have articulated reasons and examples to support their argument, others have struggled to understand the concept of an essay. I want to take some time to think about what went right when teaching this unit and where the breakdowns occurred.

Making Structure Visible

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Teaching structural elements sometimes takes a visual touch.

Personal Essay Body Paragraphs

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Where are the paragraphs and what are they suppose to look like?

Stepping Into Personal Essay

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GAH! I’ve never taught an essay unit! Watch me stumble, watch me fall, and watch me pick up all the pieces as they come together!

Supporting Organization in Persuasive Writing

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Color-coding is a quick and simple way to support students with that all-important skill of organization. Persuasive writing is a case in point.

Basic Comment Sheet

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Need a basic comment sheet for your students’ next Publishing Celebration? Just make a three-column table in Word like this:

It’s going to be a busy week!

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Week of December 1st, 2008 Originally uploaded by teachergal I just finished planning out the upcoming week and wow… there’s a lot going on! However, when I realized my kids were publishing and… Continue reading

I’ve Got My Work Cut-Out For Me Tonight

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Nearly all of my students turned-in the first drafts of their personal essays today so that they could get my feedback. Awesome, right? YEP! The only thing is that they’re huge in length!… Continue reading

“It’s like a hard-working office in here Ms. S.”

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“It’s like a hard-working office in here Ms. S.,” my student said to me as I stood back admiring how diligently all of my students were working this morning. I nodded, “You’re absolutely… Continue reading

Turning a Quote Into a Patch of Thought

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Today was the last day my students were collecting patches of thought for their personal essays. This is a copy of the end-of-the-workshop teaching share that I did on how to turn a… Continue reading

Boxes & Bullets: Framing Personal Essays

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News & Announcements Chart for Monday, 11/10/08 Originally uploaded by teachergal In order to keep my demonstrations fresh, I’ve come to believe that I have to craft a NEW piece of writing each… Continue reading

Graphic Organizer for Personal Essay Thesis Development

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I’ll be using this with my students tomorrow. Just wanted to share! The topic I would like to write my personal essay about is: _______________________________     The big thing I really want… Continue reading

Just What Are PATCHES OF THOUGHT?

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Yesterday I was asked to expand “patches of thought” Essentially, patches of thought are little pieces of paper (could be index cards) on which students write mini-stories, lists, or other items that support… Continue reading

She showed it to me!

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Great news! The student who I blogged about yesterday went home and did the first of the graphic organizers last night. WOO-HOO! She really did a nice job working within the structure I… Continue reading

Helping a Student Generate Non-Narrative WN Entries

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One of my students seemed to be stuck as she sat in her writing focus spot today. She was supposed to be collecting entries and growing some thinking, but her pencil was barely… Continue reading

Collecting Ideas As An Essayist

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Today’s lesson is one of my favorites of the school year. It’s the day when the kids really start to notice the world around them with a heightened sense of awareness. The teaching… Continue reading

Launching Personal Essay

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It’s nearly November, which means it’s time for me to start teaching my students how to craft personal essays. I use Calkins and Gilette’s book for my teaching points, but deviate from their… Continue reading

interviews + personal essays.

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Dave Eldridge & I have been working on a personal essay unit in his sixth grade class.  As the week went on, I’ve gotten more & more excited about this unit of study.… Continue reading

On-Demand Writing

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I’m planning on having my students complete an “on-demand” personal essay for the next two days before we begin our unit of study on persuasive letter writing. These are the guidelines I put… Continue reading