Teachers steal. We are unapologetic thieves. We are so hungry for the very best things for our students, that we will unabashedly take others ideas, use them, twist them, break them into pieces and parts, and USE USE USE them!
No idea, worksheet, or neumonic is safe. But the good news is there is honor amoung our guild of bandits. We all admitt it and thank our lucky stars that resources are things we should all share. Most teachers fall over themselves to help others. There is a reason why your average teacher has three hundred free tote bags: because they need everyone of them to stuff with good ideas from other people!
So, recently, when it was time to teach conclusion paragraphs, I did what all good teachers do: I Googled it! At this time we are using Lucy Calkins Writer’s Workshop, but I just wasn’t feelin’ the current lesson on it, so I did a search and found this wonderful post on the topic,.
I was looking for one of those great anchor charts that would let me bang out the instruction with the kids in ten minutes (per Lucy) and I had many choices. But I was so happy when I found Two Writting Teachers. This blog has a special mission:
Two Writing Teachers is a cooperative blog that unites a community of teachers through the practice of writing while inspiring and guiding the teaching of a writing workshop approach. It is our hope teachers will create and lead robust writing workshops, which will aid in the development of engaged and literate citizens.
I got giddy just reading this. Long story short, they provided a perfect post on constructing conclusions for the unit of study I was in. They provided this great anchor:
So after finding this great resource, all I to do was tweak it a bit.
I left out the chapter preview bit as it didn’t fit our current assignmnet.
Here’s how I would teach it:
“Today I am going to let you see how good writers create conclusion paragraphs”
First they read my example. We are writing about civil rights in a historical context, so I start with an example that is familiar and part of our mentor texts:
The story of Rosa Parks is familiar. Rosa became a hero for what seems like a very small action but at the time was a huge risk for an African American person: deciding to refuse giving up her seat to a white person. She took a stand,was sent to jail, and became an inspiration for many people in the civil rights movement.
Now read my conclusion paragraph:
Rosa Parks was a Civil Rights hero. She took actions that were not easy or always safe for African Americans at this time. She took action that then got her arrested, but she became famous and an inspiration. I have to wonder, if I were her, if I could have been so brave? If that were you, would you be able to stand up to a white person during segregation? I am glad Rosa showed us that one person could make a difference!
I let students answer these questions
How is the conclusion like the introduction? List two specific ways:
Circle a sentence in the introduction and in the conclusion that say the same thing, but in a different way.
What was different about the paragraphs? List two examples.
After that I have kids pair up and and complete this activity in like two minutes:
A good way to make a conclusion effective is to connect it to today.
With a partner, write a sentence that would do that for this topic.
Movements likie Black Lives matter could have never happened without the brave actions of people like Rosa Parks.
I then review answers, and restate the anchor chart points and release them to compse. Lucy would say I was wasting time by having them pair and answer and reviewing and she may be right. I’ll bank on letting my kids have time to process and think before I have them finish the process.
And here is the handout.
Have fun teaching!