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postheadericon Collaborative Writing in the Classroom: A writing lesson using Project Read Written Expression


We read the story, "Life in the Forest". At the end of the week, it was time to do some writing.  In my classroom, writing has been modeled throughout the year. I have modeled everything from the sentence frame, to barebone sentences, to sentence structure, and  using expanders to create a detailed sentence.

We are currently writing sentences with a subject, verb, a "where" expander, and a "when" expander. 


In this lesson, I wanted students to:

1. Respond (in writing) to a prompt.

2. Brainstorm and use a graphic organizer to organize their ideas and thoughts.

3. Write at least 3 sentences using a where expander and a when expander. 


4. Students were going to work in a small group, in pairs, to brainstorm and create a sentence that would later be part of the bigger writing assignment. In a sense, this was a jigsaw writing lesson. 


So, let's get started! 



In this lesson, I am using our "Framing Your Thoughts" book. This lesson incorporates writing a sentence with a subject, verb, and two expanders. 



In the story, "Life In The Forest" there are lots of animals. Kids love animals, have lots of knowledge about animals, and therefore can write a sentence easily about a given animal. 


I used plan ol' index cards and chose four animals from the story. I wrote each animal on a card. The students were then placed with a partner and received an animal card. They were instructed to work together to create a sentence about their animal. 





Using our Written Expression curriculum, I quickly created three graphic organizers (for students to write on) that would incorporate a subject, verb, a "where" expander, and a "when" expander. Students worked in pairs to create a sentence about their animal. 

This student wrote "Birds eat bugs in the trees in the morning"

NOTE: We haven't done the "what" expander yet, so the student put "eat bugs" under the verb for the time being. As the year goes on, the student will learn that "bug" is a "what" expander. 



When each partner group was done and their sentences were looked at and corrected, we were then ready to put all our sentences on the graphic organizer. 

I asked each partner group to share their sentence. As they did so, I wrote their sentence on the board for the group to copy onto their graphic organizer. We did each sentence one-by-one. 

The sentences they created say:

Animals eat in the forest all day. 

Birds eat in the tree in the morning. 

Woodpeckers peck in the tree in the morning.

Bugs live in the forest all day. 



Once the graphic organizer was done, the students were able to write their paragraph. For those who didn't finish at the teacher table, they were given the graphic organizer to finish independantly in a center. We have done a lot of writing this year and the students have had lots of practice using this graphic organizer, so they are comfortable writing sentences with a completed graphic organizer. 

Below, you will see a finished writing sample. 




How do you incorporate collaborative writing into your writing curriculum? Educator Station would love to hear from you! 



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