Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tried-It Tuesday: Writing

I'm actually linking up with Holly again for Tried-It Tuesday (as I dump some pictures from my phone)! Today was my last day before Thanksgiving break, and I know a lot of you have been off since Friday, but I still wanted to share this particular activity. Maybe you can add it to your list of things for next year!

Turkeys on Strike - a Thanksgiving Writing Craftivity

Obviously I've done writing in my class before, but I will admit that I'm not very good at teaching it. Now that I'm in a Title I reading room, we do even less because we focus more on reading. However, I really wanted to get my kids to do my Turkeys on Strike craft to go with my door. Let me say that it has been a mess, but I'm fairly pleased with the final products overall.

Here's my journey:

I originally figured this would be something fun for my 3rd grade students, so I showed them my door and we talked about what it meant to go on strike. Then we brainstormed a few examples, and I let them choose the one they liked most. Surely that was enough to write five focused sentences, right?

Umm...no. The writing was atrocious! And not only was it bad for my third grade students, it was terrible all the way up to 5th. So I tried to meet with the kids and discuss how they could stay focused on one topic. It just wasn't coming with my third grade kids, at all. We ended up switching to "My favorite food for Thanksgiving", where they mostly saw success and could give me five sentences on one topic.

For my fourth graders, I had them write it in a main idea graphic organizer. They chose their topic and then gave three examples. Then I showed them how easy it was to convert those into sentences. It was basically all done except for their closing sentence, and they were very excited!

With fifth grade, we stepped it up a notch. They had the same Main idea/Detail graphic organizer (just a simple big box with three columns underneath), but then they had to give three details under each detail. For instance, if they said that turkey was disgusting, they had to come up with three things proving how disgusting turkey was. I didn't make them write a whole introductory paragraph this time, so they just wrote a topic sentence and three paragraphs. But the writing was leaps and bounds better than the first! And once again, the kids felt successful and were excited that all of the work was done. A few mentioned that they wanted to use my format for essays in class.

We just finished today, so they won't get to stay on the wall for long. Still I'm proud of where they are. Could they be better? Absolutely! But these are kids who are terrified of writing, and this is a step in the right direction. I'll take it! Here are some pics of the final products (sorry for the poor quality):

What have you tried recently?


  1. Your "Turkeys on Strike" turned out fabulous! I will definitely need to keep this in mind for next year! Thanks, Melissa!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  2. Super cute idea! We don't eat turkey here, we eat steak! No particular reason, we just like steak better!

    Hodges Herald

  3. Very cute idea! I love how you changed it for each grade level.

    Happy Thanksgiving!
    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

  4. This is hysterical! Turkeys on strike...love it! Hmmm...now you have me thinkging about what I could do for Christmas!
    Fourth Grade Flipper

  5. Tell Zachary I'd rather have pizza, too.
    You sound like an awesome teacher! I love these teacher posts since I'm not teaching anymore!

  6. I love it. I will have to do this next Thanksgiving.