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Sunday Scoop!

Linking up with the Teaching Trio for the Sunday Scoop!

I love this linky, I have to admit. It's so much fun to take part in!

Have to do:

I am last minute Lucy this weekend. I haven't made an anchor chart I need for tomorrow's writing lesson! Eek. I always get to work an hour or so before the day begins AND I have prep first period, so it should be ok.. but I hate this last minute feeling.

I need to grade the writing prompts from our practice PARCC test tomorrow. I've been putting it off a new days because I'm just not sure what they are looking for! There is a rubric, but no exemplars. I really don't like the thought of not having something to compare against. I am also a bit frustrated with the fact that there is no PBA practice test released for math, and yet we are taking the test in 5 weeks.... Arg.

I make all my little guy's baby food, and he is getting low. I have to whip up another batch. I love doing it! I cook a couple weeks worth of food in one afternoon. It's actually way easier than I thought it would be- I buy the produce, steam it, puree it, and then freeze it. I put the food that is "to go" with him during the day in 4 oz glass mason jars, and the food that we feed at home in silicone baby food trays. We are trying sweet peas this week!

Hope to do:

I need a new homework chart! My current one is a pocket chart with little slips of paper with names on it. It's falling apart! I am doing something with ribbons and popsicle sticks. Super not creative, but I am crunched for time lately.

My classroom library is super dusty. Well, if I'm honest most of my classroom is. Anyone else have this problem? I feel like my classroom is always so dusty and gross! Yuck. I'd like to empty the bins out and really clean them. We'll see if I get there!

Happy to do:

Although it's not official, I am sure we will have a snow day on Tuesday. The news stations are calling for 2 - 3 feet of snow. I am looking forward to a snow day with my guy! We had a small storm yesterday (6 or so inches) and I took him sledding for the first time. It was so much fun. :)

Happy Sunday- enjoy your week!

Writing with Colors

This year, my standardized test scores were pretty good. I had some seriously high growth, especially in ELA. My kids all totally kicked BUTT on the open response questions, which I think made a huge difference. How'd they do it? Well- I really think it was a professional development course I went to last year called writing with colors.  The concept is simple- color code your writing to make sure that you have hit all the important points! Here is the quick and dirty of what we learned about.

To start off, the topic sentence of your writing is pink. It seems simple, but so many of my kiddos simply didn't understand the concept of a topic sentence. They thought saying "I am going to tell you about polar bears" was acceptable. Um, no. Turning the question into a statement or PQA (put the question in the answer) is an easy way for all kids to be able to succeed in this area. Equally as often, they just jump into the meat of it and forget to include it at all.  To make sure they don't forget it, they highlight the topic sentence in pink.

Is it just me, or does anyone else have kiddos that love to ramble? No sequence or transition words, they just go, and go, and go.... 

Starting to get into the meat of it! Quotes or other paraphrased text evidence are highlighted in green. You also use this color while reading the text to highlight the information you plan to use for the open response. Keeping one uniform color for the text highlighting is helpful to see how accurately the kids are highlighting, too. Once the kiddos are writing the response, the text they quote directly is highlighted in green as well. 

Explanations of the quotes are BLUE. This color is also used in annotating the text, but is a little bit tricky. After you highlight the text in green, you write WHY you chose to include a quote in the margin of the text. Why is it important? What makes this bit of text relevant? After it's written, you highlight it in blue. Once you are on to the open response writing, you highlight the explanations in blue as well. 

This one is my favorite! The magic color is for whatever "magic" you want the kids to focus on. For me, I don't change mine up. It's always the SIM starters, which we use to explain text evidence. They are:
This shows that...
This is important because...
This means that...

I think this was the game changer for my kiddos. They were pretty good about selecting the text they needed to reference to prove their thinking, but they had a difficult time remembering to explain the quote. The SIM starters have been the game changer for them! The secret formula for us has been:

topic sentence
SIM starter
SIM starter
SIM starter

Once the response is all written, it comes out looking a bit like this...

I wish I could give you a link to a PD book or course you could take, but I couldn't find anything! All the credit goes to the Writing with Colors people (whose names I do not know) because this fabulous idea is all theirs. Enjoy!

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