Now, onto the WBT part of the day! I decided this year to be a bit creative with my Genius Ladder. I loved seeing all the pictures of cute ladders last year and my poor kiddos just had a white board with the levels written on it. They had cute little personal Genius Ladders they kept in their desks for reference but not something cute and exciting in the classroom.
Well this year we are stepping up our game. Since I will be looping with my kiddos this year most of them will know how the Genius Ladder works and what kind of writing expectations I have. This is one area where my husband and I will be team teaching. I will teach writing to all the 1st graders and he will be teaching Science/Social Studies. So they will rotate between us for instruction. I am super excited to be teaching writing this year. It will be the first year that Writing (in addition to Language) will be taught. We will start the year off with the WBT Writing game (find more information at www.wholebrainteaching.com) and transitioning into the Genius Ladder.
My goal this year is to have each of our 1st graders become a published author by the end of the year. Of course they will be 1st grade published authors but what a goal!! I believe that with the writing game and the Genius Ladder we will reach our goal. It might be a poem. It might be a short story. Whatever my students decide to come up with we will work hard to reach our goal.
To set up the pictures let me lay out the foundation of the the Genius Ladder. Our students writing abilities have declined. It is a shame that students in high school are struggling to writing simple paragraphs that have meaning and complexity. In college, there are workshops offered for students to have their work proofread and revised. We just don't put alot of focus on writing these days. In comes the Genius Ladder.
This amazing tool helps students take basic (BLAH) sentences and turn them into complex and meaningful (GENIUS) sentences in a systematic way. In kinder, this is done primarily orally however, two years ago I had a class that could do the ladder on paper with partners. The sky is the limit. In 1st grade our goal will be for each student to be able to take a blah sentence and and turn it into a genius sentence independently. Here are the levels we will be working with in 1st.
BLAH: This is your basic sentence. Students will understand that all sentences have a noun and a verb. They will be able to identify the noun and verb and replace them with different nouns and verbs to create their own blah sentences. EX: The dog runs.
SPICY: Adding and adjective always make a sentence more interesting. Students will learn what an adjective is and be able to label them along with the noun and verb. They will also be able to interchange with other spicy words. EX: The black dog runs.
EXTENDER: This is where students get to add more information to their sentences for the reader. In upper grades this would look like prepositional phrases. In kinder/1st we will simply refer to them as MORE INFO! EX: The black dog runs over the hill.
GENIUS: Oh TEACHER HEAVEN!!! This level is where it gets good. Our 1st graders will learn how to use BECAUSE to tell us why the noun in their sentence is doing what it's doing. After the "because" clause is mastered we will add the "because/and" clause. EX. The black dog runs over the hill because he sees a rabbit. EX: The black dog runs over the hill because he sees a rabbit and he is hungry.
I hope this gives you some help on how you can take your kinders and firsties all the way up the ladder. Once we are able to writing sentences like the last example we will begin working on paragraphs by using adder sentences. More on this can be found in the WBT Writing Game.
If you made it this far THANK YOU! Here are some pictures from my classroom work today! ENJOY and WIB ON!!!!!
-----NOTE: When blogger stops acting weird I will upload some more pictures. But the main one of the Genius Ladder is here!!!