November is a month filled with so many fun activities to do inside the classroom. We always start the month off by celebrating Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead.
I love using Sailing into Second’s Day of the Dead brochure as a little opening activity give the students some specific information about this holiday.
There are also a lot of cute videos on You Tube and picture books to help build background knowledge. My personal favorite picture book to read is Rosita y Conchita. This book is so sweet.
We always start the year writing narratives, so in keeping with Dia de los Muertos, we always honor a loved one who has passed by writing an essay for Day of the Day, In Remembrance of their lives. By using Ideas by Jivey’s Mentor Sentences each week, my students have been able to notice and apply strategies in constructing quality sentences. Along that same train of thought, I wrote two exemplars of this narrative topic to help start the conversation about what a well constructed essay looks like for this prompt in particular. The first exemplar is a poorly written one that is pretty confusing while the second one is emotional, to answers the prompt and is focused. As a class, we read each exemplar and the students interact with the text and also to analyze and compare and contrast two different writing samples- pointing out their strengths, weaknesses and asking questions on how they could both be imroved. After this, I have them make a circle map to start thinking about who they want to honor. Some students write about pets. If they choose to write about someone they were to young to remember, or who they didn’t get the chance to meet, I send it home and they get to interview their family members for facts and details. The parents love sharing about their loved ones with the students and is a really special component to our writing.
One day two- they construct their flee map and start their first draft.
After they write their first draft, they use a Self Editing Checklist to go over their writing before they turn it in. Again, this reinforces my expectations AND it made the editing part of our writers workshop so much easier!!! I provide sentence starters for my more hesitant writers if they need them and it gives them just one more tool to be successful.
Afterwards, they edit and publish and it makes the most adorable bulletin board of them all. I always put it up in time for Parent Teacher Conferences so that the parents can see their hard work. Check out this writing unit here at my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.