Thursday, October 17, 2013

Corn-tastic Writing

A few weeks ago a friend of mine had her students shuck corn. They read a story about corn and she used the activity make the story a bit more interesting (I was told that it wasn't very high interest).  Well, the idea of shucking corn stuck with me and I ran with the idea.

This week I went hands-on with our writing and gave my kiddos some corn to shuck. Before they started their shucking, we talked about the parts of the corn and what they could expect to encounter as they worked.  I paired the students up and they worked together to get to their corn.



They loved it! One student described the experience as being "a blast." 

After the students shucked their corn, we talked about the steps taken in order to complete the task: remove the husk, peel off the corn silks, and clean up the mess that was created (I wrote this on the board-no pic, sorry).  The students then used this organizer to write about how they shucked the corn and I encouraged them to add details when appropriate (click the image to grab a {free} copy of this organizer and writing paper to match).


The next day, we ate our corn.  I cooked it for them the night prior.  It was seriously the best corn I have ever had, so sweet and so very, very fresh.


Then, I shared this paragraph with my students. 


My purpose for sharing a model paragraph the next day, was to encourage the students to go back to their own writing and look for opportunities to add detail, whether it was in the form of an adjective, or a short phrase.  So, before they did that, I had the students tell me which parts of my paragraph provided detail/information.  I underlined the words/phrases that they told me provided them with more detail/information.

I then tasked the students with going back to their organizer from the previous day and to add more detail to their writing, in two places.  Then, I paired the students up and they shared their writing with their partner.  They were told to help each other add one more piece of information/detail to their writing.  This went surprisingly well (which makes me all kinds of happy because I will definitely be using it again and again and again...).


Finally, the students sat down and started writing their paragraphs.


I was really pleased with how their paragraphs turned out.  They were completely invested in this writing assignment simply because they got to do something fun and engaging that they were then able to reflect upon as they wrote.  I'm definitely looking forward to providing more hands-on writing opportunities this year!

Toodles!

P.S. You can grab a copy of the organizer and writing paper by clicking {here}. No need to ask me to share the file, I've already done so.  Simply select "download" from the File pull down menu and save it to your computer.
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4 comments:

  1. Stop it, this is adorable and brilliant! I'm keeping it in mind for our "How-To" unit we are working on right now! Thanks!!

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    1. I'm so glad you like the idea! I'm telling you, the kids were all about it! Now I'm racking my brain for more hands on activities like this. I hope you give it a try soon!

      Aimee

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  2. Seriously, Aimee...shucking corn! Shut the front door! I love it! I think I will be buying corn this weekend for next week's writing assignment. Thank you so much for sharing this fabulous idea!
    -Jaime

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  3. What a wonderful experience! I'm sure most of the kids in my class have only seen corn coming from a can. this is going on my to do list. Thanks for sharing!
    Kelly
    I'm Not Your Grandpa, I'm Your Teacher

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