I know it is Fall ::settle down:: BUT with Target, Hobby Lobby and Michaels already pushing Halloween out and bringing Holiday decorations in, I can’t help but think about one of my favorite Winter Writing assignments of all time.
Last year, motivating my students be engaged during our writing block in last couple of weeks of December, before break, was tedious to say the least. I was talking with my husband, who is also a teacher, about how I wanted to think of a new assignment that would be engaging to get them through until Winter Break. A little tidbit about my husband is that EVERY day he teaches in December he wears an Ugly Christmas/Holiday sweater. His high school students LOVE it and look forward to see what sweater he will be wearing. So as I was talking with him about this writing issue, a giant Christmas sized lightbulb went off in my mind:
Why not make writing fun with this creative project that allows them to create their very own Ugly/Tacky Sweater and then defend WHY there’s is the ugliest?!
The students were so excited when I told them what we were going to do. They said it reminded them of the Disguise a Turkey activity that they had worked on in the primary grades.
Included in this set is an Expanding Sentence Mini Lesson Activity- we did this first and it was a great pre-story writing review of moving beyond simple sentences & into complex ones. This can be done in centers, as a whole group or small group activity. I did it during centers, but it can easily be used as a morning warm up or for sub plans during the winter months. After this mini lesson, they were able to use their epic sentence to expand upon into an entire story!
I created some thinking Maps (in Color and B&w) where the students were able to planning their argument as to WHY their holiday sweater is the ugliest! There were some synonym pockets addedmt0 help the students add more percise wording and more colorful language to their writing. There was also a Comparative/Superlative Chart that helped the students practice those tricky grammar rules and make their arguments more compelling. All of these mini lessons made this lesson span over a week and a half long time period, which made my post-break planning a breeze!
I am a big fan of thinking maps, so I provided a Flee Map-Planning Page To help organize the student’s arguments as to WHY their Holiday Sweater is, in fact, the Ugliest!
After all of those mini lessons and planning, I threw in a Writing Template, where the students can write their compelling, well constructed Final draft. After all that hard work, they get to design and DECORATE their ugly sweaters. There are 3 Sweater Templates to add a little diversity to this awesome bulletin board.
The students brought in materials from home to help create their masterpieces. We hung them up and other classes voted Anonymously for the ugliest! Some kids even wore an ugly sweater on the day of the voting! This was such a blast, and I can’t wait to do it again this year. Check out this AMAZING resource here.