Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wild About Writing Wednesday

Last spring I learned about "spider legs" from Melissa at Joyful Learning in KC. I liked the idea so I read more about it in the book No More "I'm Done!" by Jennifer Jacobson.

The purpose of using "spider legs" is for young writers to have a way to add more information or details to their pieces. 

This example of "spider legs" came from one of Melissa's students. 

Students use another sheet of writing paper to write a detail or more information that needs to be added to their piece. They cut out the detail to create a strip or a spider leg. They tape the "leg" to their original piece in the place where the detail or additional information needs to be added. Students can fold the leg over when filing their writing away.

I love the idea of using "spider legs" for our youngest writers because how many times do they realize they need or want to go back and add more details or information but feel defeated at the thought of erasing everything or starting over. "Spider legs" are a simple and neat way of encouraging students to add more details and information.  

I came across this idea in the same book and wanted to share it too...
It is using "binoculars" to focus a topic. Use the phrase "put on your binoculars" to get students to focus in on the details in their writing. Demonstrate to your students how to make a list. It is important to differentiate between making a list and writing about a focused topic. 

For example, model how to write a list of things you like. 
I like my family.
I like my friends. 
I like my house. 
I like my dog. 
I like to write. 

When it is workshop or writing time, explain to your students that you do not want to write a list but that you want to write with focus instead. Use your hands to make binoculars and encourage your students to do the same. Tell them to look at the list with their binoculars and choose one of the items to focus on. Choose one for yourself, circle it, turn to the next page of chart paper, and write several sentences about the chosen topic. Explain to your students that you have now written a focused piece. Have students use their pretend binoculars again to explain the steps in adding focus to their writing. 


First Grade Fun said...

Great ideas April! Thanks for sharing.

block letters for nursery said...

I really love seeing kids who is trying to make some improvements on their own :D

Mrs. Clancy said...

April, Thanks for mentioning my blog! I am reading your post getting excited about teaching writing in a few weeks! Melissa