• Writing

    It's something we do every day, whether we're signing our name, making a list, sending a thank you note, or jotting down a homework assignment.  Writers write to communicate - to share and remember their ideas, feelings, and plans. 
     
    This year in third grade, we will learn the steps of the writing process: plan, draft, revise, edit, and publish.  We will explore the 6 Traits of writing: idea development, organization, word choice, voice, sentence fluency, and conventions.  We will use what we've learned about writing to craft thoughtful, interesting, and effective poems, personal narratives, and explanatory papers. 
     
     
    Maybe you're feeling less than confident about your writing skills, or perhaps you love writing and want to get better.  Well, the best way to get started down the path to better writing is to pick up a...book!  (You thought I was going to say "pencil", didn't you?)  Seriously, books are a great source of inspiration for writers.  Find a favorite book or a series that you enjoy.  While you're reading, notice what the author does to make the book too good to put down.  Now think of those books as your mentor texts - books you can refer to as you write when you need inspiration or ideas. 
     
    Once you have a mentor text (or texts!), the next thing to do is start writing.  If you want to get better at a sport, you practice, right?  The same is true with writing (or anything else you're trying to learn).  Think of the author of your mentor text as your personal writing coach.  Try to do what that author did, whether it's varying your word choice, choosing details that paint a clear picture, or zooming in on the most important information.  Don't worry about making it perfect just yet.  That comes later when it's time to revise and edit.  For now, just get some words down on the paper.  Andrew Clements, author of Frindle, posts this advice on his website:
     
    "You don't have to do everything at once. 
    You don't have to know how every story is going to end. 
    You just have to take that next step, look for that next idea, write that next word." 
     
           Remember, I'm here to help you, too!  
     
     
     
     
     
     
     Fourth Grade Units of Study
     
     
     
     Personal Narrative
    We will begin the year by working on personal narratives. 
    A personal narrative is a true story about something you've experienced.
     
    Students will:
     
    • write about personal experiences
    • plan their narrative using a web, timeline, or story map
    • use sensory details and figurative language to create vivid images
    • use structural elements of narrative writing to organize their thoughts
    • write multiple rough drafts
    • revise drafts for detail and clarity
    • edit drafts for capitalization, use of grammar, punctuation, and spelling
    • publish several personal narratives
    • respond appropriately to a personal narrative prompt
     
     
     Poetry
    We will wrap up the first semester with our poetry unit. 
     
    Students will:  
    • distinguish between different types of poetry
    • know the meaning of common poetic terms such as sensory details, figurative language, rhyme, rhythm, repetition, stanzas, and line breaks
    • write about a variety of self-selected topics including nature, common objects, and personal experiences, thoughts, or feelings
    • use sensory details and figurative language to create vivid images
    • use conventions and structural elements of poetry to give poems shape and structure
    • write multiple rough drafts
    • revise and edit drafts
    • publish at least one poem
     
    Explanatory
    We will work on explanatory writing in January, February, and March. 
    Explanatory writing explains how or why.
    This type of writing is assessed on the STAAR test in late March. 
     
    Students will:
     
    • establish a clear central idea
    • use details, facts, and examples to support their central idea
    • use structural elements of expository (nonfiction) writing to organize their thoughts
    • use vivid verbs to create clear mental pictures for the reader
    • plan their paper using a web or outline
    • write multiple rough drafts
    • revise drafts for detail and clarity
    • edit drafts for capitalization, use of grammar, punctuation, and spelling
    • publish several explanatory papers
    • respond appropriately to an explanatory prompt