Monthly Archives: March 2010

>Classroom: An Essay in 8 Easy Steps

>How to Write an Essay in 8 Easy Steps

(Any Age, in Any Grade)
If you were a fly on my classroom wall you would see my students using the writing process outlined below. 
Every week students are given a new assignment to complete, but they follow the same process from September until June. 
I have used this process successfully with students from grade one all the way to grade seven. 
All the best,
Ally
Write an Essay in 8 Easy Steps
1. Read the assignment carefully.
Now’s the time to ask questions if something seems unclear.
Example:
“Write a persuasive essay either for or against wearing school uniforms.”
2. Read a little, google a little.
Example:
Do a google search. 
Even though you may have chosen your side to the argument read both sides. See what you are up against. Make notes! 
(It should go without saying that you must to be careful not to plagiarize! 
This step is just to get your creative juices going.)
3. Think a lot.
Example:
After mulling it over, put the assignment away. 
Simply think about the assignment every now and then. Talk about it with friends and relatives. 
Let your ideas simmer, gel and grow.
4. Get your hands on a graphic organizer.
Example:
Use a search engine! Google: “graphic organizer persuasive essay”. 
Find the one that speaks to you. Print and complete. Use jot notes only.
(e.g.: http://www.cheney268.com/learning/organizers/Persuasive.htm)
5. Just write!
Example:
Reread the organizer. If you think of anything to add (e.g. ideas, words) do that now. Use jot notes.
Now grab some lined paper or your keyboard and write! 
Don’t worry about spelling or “sounding good”.  
Just get your essay down on paper in proper essay format.
6. Let it get “cold”.
Example:
Put the essay away for a day. 
It’s best to go back to it later with fresh eyes. 

7. Edit, Edit, Edit!
Example:

After allowing your essay to get cold return to it for the editing process.
Read your first draft. 
What do you think? How can you make it better? For example, consider voice: Does your personality shine through? Are you convincing? 
Is your writing focused, clear and engaging? Does your word choice energize your writing? Have you varied your sentence structure?
Note: Make sure that your first sentence captures the reader’s attention. For suggestions see: http://ezinearticles.com/?Speech-Introduction:-How-to-Write-a-Speech-Introduction&id=312341 (This article refers to writing speeches but I believe that it applies here as well.) Make sure to end on a strong note as well!
Remember: We write to entertain as well as to inform!)


COPS” your work: focus on Capitalization, Organization, Punctuation, Spelling.

(Oh! & How many times should you re-write your essay? Well, that’s up to you!)

8. Publish
Example: Now its time for the good copy. Whether you type it or write it: Make sure that it “looks good” as well as sounds good!
Now share your essay with those around you!
Be proud of what you have created!
Well done!

Ally

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>Parents & Teachers: Working Together

>Tips for Parents & Teachers: Working Together — Partnering for the Success of the Child

If you were a fly on my classroom wall this is what you would see …
Sincerely,
Ally

(A) Teacher (that’s me!) Supporting Parents

Partnering with Parents!

Contacting parents/families before the first day of school. Introducing myself and sharing my excitement about the upcoming school year.

Establishing an open door policy … and making it known!

Taking the time to learn as much as I can from parents. Asking them about their children’s strengths, needs, interests, hobbies, friends, etc. No one knows their child better than they do. (This helps to guide my program as it unfolds.)

Creating a parent survey. Surveys allow parents to tell me more about their children/my students. Information gathered helps me tweak my program accordingly. (Survey questions include: What is your child’s favourite (least favourite) subject(s)? What are her strengths/needs? What are his hobbies? What are your goals/hopes for your child this year? What else would you like me to know about your child?)

Finding out the best way to contact parents (email, phone, notes in agendas, etc.).

Providing feedback on a regular basis.

Keeping parents involved in the school lives of their children. Doing my best to ensure that parents understand programs, processes and individual student progress.

Contacting parents often. When communicating I am sure to share successes as well as concerns.

Immediate, honest and sincere praise.

Expressing concerns as clearly and concretely as possible. My concerns are always coupled with concrete steps/proposed solutions.

Demonstrating respect for the ideas, opinions & feelings of parents. Being open, understanding & empathetic.

Being supportive!

Showing that I value parents & children: their feelings, experiences & opinions. Being positive and professional.

Smiling & showing enthusiasm! Partnering with parents: Working together: It’s a great year!

(B) Parents Supporting Teachers (that’s me!)

Partnering with Teachers

Sharing introductions

Making note of the various ways to contact me (email, phone, notes in agendas, etc.).

Attending “Curriculum/Meet the Teacher Night”. Taking notes, reviewing handouts, asking specific questions. Being supportive! Being sure to start off on the right foot!

Posting the school’s calendar in a highly visible area in the home, and attending as many school events as possible.

Sharing their ideas, expertise and suggestions. I really value parents’ input!

Volunteering (e.g. coming on field trips; gathering materials for special days; sharing their expertise, etc.)

Feeling free and eager to present any concerns immediately and clearly.

Saying/sending a simple thank you (e.g. a simple card or call, a note in the child’s agenda/log book).

Telling my principal when they feel that I have “gone above and beyond”.

Helping their child write a special letter to me on National teacher Day. These letters really do mean the world to me (& I have tucked them all away)!

Demonstrating respect for my ideas, opinions & feelings. Being open, understanding.

Showing that they value my training education, experience & opinions.

Smiling & showing enthusiasm! Working together: It’s a great year!