Sunday, December 4, 2016

Improved Student Work with Guided Writing and Adobe Spark video

"Are we writing today?"  
"No, not today.  It's not Friday.
{Insert sad face here.}

This is the second part of a two-part series about improving students writing.  And their happiness about writing.  You can read the first part, about coming late to the mentor sentences party, here.

I was THRILLED with the results of this writing assignment I came up with for my students to work on together. My students couldn't wait for Fridays, our "Student Writing Days."

I started off by saying:  
“Close your eyes.  Imagine that you are walking home from a friend’s house.  You live about a ten minute walk away.  It’s dark now and you’re heading home.  Can you picture it?  Visualize what this looks like in your head.  As you are picturing this, start to jot down responses to these questions."
Each step of the way, I led them through a visualization and then a set of questions like this.  There's something about the power of being guided that gives kids confidence.  Their writing is more descriptive and they don't tend to get as stuck.  
This year, we started the week before Halloween, so I had "spooky" music playing in the background.  The students begged me to turn off the lights and pull down the blinds.  I was surprised they could work that way, but they loved it! 
After students had been writing for a while, they could share some of what they'd written.  Sometimes we'd share it on my Activboard, sometimes they read it aloud to the whole class, other times to a small group.  An important thing they learned was that reading aloud helped them see missing words and missing punctuation.
Mini-lesson:  Become friends with periods and commas!
Once editing was over, they started to cut and paste onto Adobe Spark video.  Adobe Spark lets you choose a layout, backgrounds, pictures, and even music, if you want.  Students had a lot of fun making their video slides their own.

Finally, when the slides are all together, students go back and record themselves reading their stories. This was so amazing!  They totally got into doing this and read with so much feeling!

For a first try, I was over-the-moon thrilled with how well this project worked out!
Although the cover has a Fall "feeling" to it, it can be used at any time of year.  Click on the picture to take a closer look at this product on TpT.

Have a great week!