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Language Arts Curriculum Guide - page 40 / 70

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Journal Writing: Journal writing is a medium for students to develop writing, reading, and thinking skills. Depending on its purpose, a journal can provide a place to reflect personal thoughts, record independent reading, write or illustrate a response to literature, establish a private dialogue, or write down ideas. Journals are not evaluated. Students can feel free to write, explore, construct meaning, and gain valuable insights about themselves. Examples include:

Diary – on going record of student’s thoughts, feelings, and observations Response Journal – Students record responses to literature (predictions, personal reactions,

comments, questions, connections, a character analysis, evaluation of the author s writing).

Dialogue Journal – The teacher regularly responds in writing to students’ entries, reacting, sharing, and asking, or answering questions. It becomes a personal line of communication with each student.

Learning log – In a learning log, students summarize or respond to lessons, record observations about class activities or experiences, and link what they have learned with prior knowledge.

Double-Entry Journal – Each page is divided into two sections. For every entry that students write on the left page/section, they write a corresponding entry on the right page. The left page/side is for recording objective information—facts, quotations, reports, retellings, summaries. On the right page, students record subjective response to that information—personal observations and reflections, judgments, and questions.

Language Experience: A language experience activity is usually an activity that learners do together. It could also be any experience an individual or group has had. After the experience, a teacher or leader helps the learners write about what they have experienced. The Language Experience approach to teaching reading and writing builds on the learner's own language and knowledge and is an effective way to encourage self expression and build awareness of the connections between oral and written language. Students learn:

  • What I can think about, I can talk about.

  • What I can say, I can write.

  • What I can write, I can read.

  • I can read what I can write and what other people can write for me to read.

Making Words: An activity in which students are individually given some letters to make words. It is an active, hands-on, manipulative activity in which children discover letter-sound relationships and learn how to look for patterns in words. They also learn that changing just one letter or even just the sequence of letters changes the whole word.

Mini Lessons: A mini lesson is a brief opportunity—often only five to ten minutes—to teach a new skill or one for which you’ve observed a need in students’ writing. Mini lessons may focus on a wide variety of issues from elements of composition, voice, word choice, grammar, usage, etc. Examples of mini lessons:

  • Writing a rough draft

  • Writing descriptions

  • Varying sentence structure

  • End punctuation

  • Using proofreading marks

  • Giving reasons to support an opinion

  • Using a Thinking Map to organize writing

  • Writing dialogue

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