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Friday, May 9, 2008

THINKING CAPS - The Reading Writing Connection

During class time, a good teacher will want to pause when he or she finds higher level vocabulary words in the story. This creates a teachable moment. After that, however, where does the word go?
Unfortunately, most of the time it becomes like a mere acquaintance: out of sight, out of mind.... never to be thought of or used again. After noticing this fact, I began using an idea that has proven very effective in my classroom.
Recognize your Reading time as an excellent opportunity to make a stronger connection to Writing and allow the students to bring their own caps or hats from home to wear. From Dr. Suess to Davy Crockett and Nemo to the simple but fun "beanie" hat; you name it; at some point over my teaching career I have probably seen it! Encourage the children to express themselves creatively - some may even want to make their own.
As oral reading takes place, they can take out their hats and wear them as a reminder to make the Writing connection. Each student will need a multi-subject notebook with a separate section for each of these items: difficult or new vocabulary, sentences written in very unique ways, similes, metaphor, idiom, onomatopoeia, personification, hyperbole, etc. For greater impact, a teacher in the lower grade levels may prefer to decide which examples are to be included, while in upper level classes, students can take ownership in ;this activity by making these decisions on their own. In this way, each notebook becomes a reflection of the individual's ability and his or her life perspective.
Later, during Writing assignments, the students will use their notebooks as a tool to improve the overall quality of their papers. Your more capable writers will often drive a greater sense of pride from working with examples they've produced themselves than those they can get from professionally designed posters or other materials made by someone other than themselves.

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