Personal Essay: Grade 4 Writing Unit 2



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Now I realize how important it is to help others who are being treated unfairly. I have talked to some of my friends about how we should include everyone who wants to be included and stick up for people who are being teased. It is not that hard to do the right thing. In fact, it makes you and everyone around you feel really good inside.

Session 8

Concept

Writers learn strategies for good personal essay writing.

Teaching Point

Writers include angled evidence as support for their point of view.




References

Materials

  • Comparing Narratives and Essays

  • Boxes and Bullets

  • Sample essay “Doing the Right Thing”




Note

  • Post on the daily schedule or verbally ask students to bring their writing folders and a pencil to the meeting area.

  • Plan to spend two days on this session. You will to devote one day for each angled body paragraph.

  • You might also decide to spend one day on each the four types of evidence: experiences, observations, facts, and events.

Connection

  • Explain that essay writers use their evidence to support their point of view in the two body paragraphs. Writers don’t just retell these experiences, observations, facts, or events; they angle them to support their point of view.

Demonstration/

Teaching

  • Remind students how to write focused stories and demonstrate as follows:

  • Make a movie in your mind, indent, and write a paragraph that explains how the experience, observation, fact, or event unfolds step-by-step.

  • Highlight only the parts that closely support your point of view. This is how you angle your evidence.

  • Include a sentence or two at the end of the paragraph that explains how the evidence illustrates the point of view.

  • Keep the evidence brief by including just the most relevant parts of the experiences, observations, facts, or events and by leaving out details.

Active Engagement

  • Do this same work using the essay idea from a student volunteer. Have the class work together with you and the volunteer to compose angled evidence that supports the point of view.

Link

Writers, today you will do this same work independently using your own essay ideas. Remember that when you compose your angled evidence, you need to keep the evidence brief by including just the most relevant parts of the experiences, observations, facts, or events.

Writing and

Conferring

  • Conduct individual conferences to support students’ efforts at composing their angled evidence.

Mid-Workshop Teaching Point

Share


  • Convene students in the meeting area.

  • Bring closure to today’s workshop by having several students read their angled evidence. Summarize the thinking the students used.

  • Have students recall and share one thing that they learned.



Session 9

Concept

Writers learn strategies for good personal essay writing.

Teaching Point

Writers create essay conclusions that link back to their point of view.




References

Materials

  • Lucy Calkins Units of Study for Teaching Writing, Grades 3-5, Book 3: Breathing Life Into Essays, Lucy Calkins

  • Writing folders

  • Anchor charts:

  • Sample essay “Doing the Right Thing”




Connection

  • Explain that essay writers use the conclusion to link back to their point of view. Use the following structure in your conclusions:

  • The first sentence links back to the evidence.

  • The middle sentences elaborate by reflecting back or looking ahead.

  • The last sentence leaves the reader with a memorable thought.

  • Refer to the Ways to End an Essay chart.

  • Refer to the sample essay “Doing the Right Thing.”

Demonstration/

Teaching

  • Demonstrate how to write each sentence in the conclusion using your own essay.




Active Engagement

  • Do this same work using the essay idea from a student volunteer. Have the class work together with you and the volunteer to create a conclusion that links back to the student’s point of view.

Link

Writers, today you will do this same work independently using your own essay ideas. Remember, try out different essay conclusions and choose the one that works the best. Make sure that your conclusion links back to your point of view.

Writing and

Conferring

  • Conduct individual conferences to support students’ efforts at writing their conclusions.

Mid-Workshop Teaching Point

  • Have students share their conclusions with a partner.

Share


  • Convene students in the meeting area.

  • Bring closure to today’s workshop by having several students read their conclusions. Summarize the thinking the students used.

  • Have students recall and share one thing that they learned.



Ways to End an Essay





  • As I look back on these experiences, I realize …

  • I learned that …

  • Now I know that …

  • I know one thing for sure …

  • From now on …

  • I will always …

  • I finally understand why …

  • Therefore …






Session 10

Concept

Writers learn strategies for revising and editing personal essays.

Teaching Point

Writers revise their personal essays for meaning and clarity.




References

Materials

  • Lucy Calkins Units of Study for Teaching Writing, Grades 3-5, Book 3: Breathing Life Into Essays, Lucy Calkins

  • Comparing Narratives and Essays




Connection

  • Honor student writing by complimenting their focused efforts in creating their personal essays.

  • Explain that today students will be rereading their essays to make sure that their point of view is clearly stated and that their evidence supports their point of view.

Demonstration/

Teaching

  • Demonstrate how to revise for meaning and clarity as you:

  • Reread your essay aloud to yourself one paragraph at a time. Make sure that the information in each paragraph all goes together and all supports the point of view. Rewrite parts that need revision.

  • Then read your essay aloud to a partner. Have your partner identify the point of view after listening to your introduction. Then, have your partner explain how the evidence supports the point of view after listening to each body paragraph. Rewrite parts that need revision.

Active Engagement

  • Do this same work using the essay idea from a student volunteer. Have the class work together with you and the volunteer to rewrite parts that need revision.

Link

So writers, today you will read your essay twice. Read it first to yourself to make sure that your evidence supports your point of view. Then read it to your partner. Your partner will identify the point of view and explain how the evidence supports the point of view. Rewrite parts that need revision.

Writing and

Conferring

  • Conduct individual student conferences to make sure that the students are rewriting the parts that need revision.

Share

Choose one

  • Bring closure to today’s workshop by having one or two students who revised a part of their essay that lacked clarity and meaning share with the class.

  • Have students recall and share one thing that they learned.



Session 11

Concept

Writers learn strategies for revising and editing their personal essays.

Teaching Point

Writers use revision/editing checklists to edit their writing.




References

Materials

  • Lucy Calkins Units of Study for Teaching Writing, Grades 3-5, Book 3: Breathing Life Into Essays, Lucy Calkins

  • Writing folders

  • Personal Essay Revision/Editing Checklist for each student

  • Chart-sized Personal Essay Revision/Editing Checklist




Note

  • Put a Personal Essay Revision/Editing Checklist inside each student’s writing folder.

Connection

  • Explain that students have been learning strategies that writers use to write personal essays. Today students will learn strategies they can use to edit their writing.

Demonstration/

Teaching

  • Read the first item on the checklist (Will this make sense to a stranger?)

  • Pretend you know nothing about the essay idea. Read and mark places that are confusing.

  • Go back and rewrite parts that need revision those parts so they are clearer.

Active Engagement

  • Continue reading through the lens of each item on the Personal Essay Revision/Editing Checklist, and then edit your essay with the students’ input.

Link

So writers, as you work today, find the Personal Essay Revision/Editing Checklist in your writing folders and use each item as a lens when you edit your own essays. Reread with that lens and revise or edit your work. This is your last chance to make the writing as perfect as you can get it.

Writing and

Conferring

  • Conduct individual student conferences to support students’ efforts using a checklist to edit your work.

Share

  • Have students show each other what they’ve done, what they’ve learned, and what they’ve resolved to do next.

Note

Say, Tonight I’m going to look over the personal essays that you’ve edited today. I’ll be your copy editor. Tomorrow, every minute of the day will be reserved for making final copies of our personal essays.


Personal Essay Revision/Editing Checklist
Name_______________________________________________Date______________
Title_________________________________________________________________
Reread your writing carefully. Put a check in each box under Author as you complete each

item. Once all the boxes are checked, give this checklist to the teacher for the final edit.




Revise and edit for the following:

Author

Teacher

1. Clarity. Ask yourself,

“Is my point of view clearly stated?”

“Does my evidence support my point of view?”

Rewrite parts that need revision.









2. Effective use of words and phrases. Ask yourself,

“Have I used the most effective words and phrases?”

Rewrite parts to make your writing better.

Choose more effective words and add details.









3. Complete sentences.

Check to make sure that each sentence is complete.

Rewrite fragments and run-on sentences so they are complete.








4. Capitalization.

Use capitals at the beginning of each sentence and for every name.

Make corrections if necessary.









5. Punctuation.

Use periods, exclamation points, and question marks.

Use commas with conjunctions.

Make corrections if necessary.









6. Spelling of high-frequency words.

Refer to various resources.



Make corrections if necessary.











Sessions 12 and 13

Concept

Writers publish and share their personal essays.

Teaching Point

A writing community celebrates.




References

Materials

  • Assessing Writers, Carl Anderson

  • Notebook Know-How: Strategies for the Writer’s Notebook, Aimee Buckner

  • Lucy Calkins Units of Study for Teaching Writing, Grades 3-5, Book 3: Breathing Life Into Essays, Lucy Calkins

  • Writer’s notebooks




Day 12

Publishing

  • Have students rewrite their revised and edited personal essays.







Day 13

Celebration

  • Plan to celebrate the fact that writing gives us new eyes to see and understand ourselves. Students have grown taller as writers. Their notebooks are fuller. Their texts are longer. Their voices are stronger. Take a moment to look all students in the eyes and help them feel celebrated.

  • Have authors read their essays aloud in small groups, leave a little bit of time for silence to let the essay sink in, and then have the authors answer just one writing question.

  • Post student writing to celebrate the achievements of each student.

  • Assess students’ personal essays using the Personal Essay Assessment Rubric.

  • Consider assessing the students’ writer’s notebooks.
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