Who, what, were, when, and why? These are the five W’s that we discussed today for our continued study of Meet Kit from the American Girl Series. Again, we used the book Portraits of American Girlhood, POAG, as our backbone to our study and then added or amended to the lessons according to what would work with my dyslexic children and one reluctant writer.
I combined the Tuesday and Wednesday lesson on page 175 of POAG into one lesson which took three one hour meetings. Since Kit likes to pretend she is a reporter for a newspaper, the author suggests a lesson on writing a newspaper article about the Great Depression or something related to the Great Depression. I think that was an excellent suggestion but for my particular situation with various writing barriers, I thought it would be better to first write a silly story and create a silly newspaper and then, once they got the hang of the 5 W’s, write an article relating to the Great Depression.
So, we first looked through a paper and talked about attention getting headlines. Then we read an article and discussed the five W’s in the article. I chose a very simple article about a Halloween gathering in town. It was fairly easy for the girls to figure out the five W’s. I did not want to present anything challenging because I wanted to keep the mood up beat and enthusiastic. Here is a copy of the article if you would like to use it.
Ghosts And Goblins Will Fill
The Streets Of Groveland
Monday, October 31st, 5 PM to 8 PM,
will once more find Downtown Groveland
the site of a fantastic Halloween
Trick or Treating Party. Ghosts, Goblins,
Princesses and Pirates will fill the street
while the businesses pass out candy and
treats to all. Have your picture taken,
try out the s’mores around the campfire
and be ready for a spooky surprise at the
Groveland Community Center.
Last year everyone had a great time
and many of the same volunteers will be
returning to make things even more delightfully
spooky than before. Also, we’ll
be asking the community’s help with
new ideas as well as monies for candy,
games, books, film & other activities.
Our 1st Halloween Committee meeting
will be held Thursday, Oct.6th at 6 pm
at Tony & Linda Flores’ home. You’re
all welcome! This is an event where the
volunteers have at least as much fun as
the trick or treaters.
I think it is important to mention why I put copies of all their work and stories in this blog, as you will see below. I’m hoping that it will prove helpful for those of you who do have reluctant writers and that these samples can inspire you and your children by acting as a realistic comparison. So, what are you measuring against in the samples presented? My two third and fifth grade dyslexic girls and one forth grader who is a reluctant writer. When I look at work samples from curriculum, I would like to see samples from children who are really struggling so that I can better gauge my children’s abilities by having a true comparison and thereby curb my own frustrations with helping them. Seeing well written work samples from other kids when you have dyslexic children is depressing for the child and the parent.
Next, we discussed names of newspapers, such as the Washing Post, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, etc. and how the name for their newspaper should include in the title such words as times, chronicle, journal, daily news, etc. For example, my fifth grade daughter, Jeanette, called her paper “King Frodo the Dodo’s Daily News”. Frodo is one of our ponies. Her headline story was about the marriage of King Frodo to Princess Pony and, consequently, Bella’s jealosy. Pony and Bella are also our horses.
So we started with who is the story about? King Frodo, Princess Pony, and Bella
What was the story about? Frodo and Pony getting married and Bella getting jealous.
When did this happen? July 2011
Where did this happen? In the grand horse barn located in the palace walls of King Frodo’s lovely horse pasture (her words, not mine). At this point I was really excited about her creativity with the story because getting words out of her for writing is soooo difficult!
Why did this happen? Princess Pony and King Frodo loved each other, but Princess Bella also loved Frodo.
Jeanette recorded her 5 W’s on an enlarged work sheet from POAG.My fourth grade reluctant writer who is not my daughter but a child I homeschool, Janakai, called her paper, “Serious News from King Megelo”; Megelo is her cat. Her headline story was about how her other cat, Violet, liked catnip.
So, again, we started the story with who was her story about? Queen Violet
What was the story about? Queen Violet getting hyped up on cat nip coffee
When did this happen? The first weekend of October
Where did it happen? At the cat’s lounge which was located on Janakais patio
Why did this happen? Queen Violet discovered a coffee cup laced with cap nipMy third grade daughter, Ellie, called her newspaper, “The Great Pyrenees Chronicle” because we have two Great Pyrenees. Her headline story was about how the dogs got scared by the ghosts.
So, who was her story about? The Great Pyrenees
What was her story about? Fefe and Addy were afraid of the ghosts
When did it happen? Last Friday
Where did it happen? On the spooky deck at Ellie’s house
Why? Because noise the ghosts made scared the dogs. This really is true with our fake ghost that makes a haunting ghost like noise when it’s motion detector is triggered. The dogs got so scared that they literally tried to jump in our car when we were trying to leave; we had a very difficult time pulling them out of the car. Needless to say, the ghosts were disconnected.
Next, we took the outline of the five W’s and created an article which proved to be more difficult. I was not looking forward to this as writing is very painful for my dyslexics. I was most concerned about Ellie who is 8 and she was really struggling with this assignment.
Jeanette was excited about her story so that really helped her get her ideas on paper. Again, I followed the copy work format where she would think of what she wanted to write, I would write what she said, we would edit together, and then she would copy it. You will notice in her sample that even with copy work, there are still spelling errors and grammar issues. I did not expect perfection and to go back and correct every little mistake takes the excitement out of the lesson. Being a dyslexic, when she looks at her work, it looks correct. She does not easily recognize that letters are reversed and words are spelled incorrectly. I will help her correct some of the mistakes, but when I see her proudly showing her work and it has been difficult to reach this prideful moment, the last thing I want to do is say, “That’s great Jeanette, but look, you reversed this word, you missed this word, you forgot a comma, you need a period. Erase and rewrite.” For those of you who have dyslexics, you know how difficult it is for them to produce a work sample that is legible and comes with excitement. For her, just the fact that she was making up a story and writing it was the victory. Eventually (over years) we will work our way to detailed editing but for now, I just encourage her to do her best with some corrective work.
Frodo the Dodo’s Big Wedding Day
Recently, King Frodo the Dodo fell in love with Princess Pony. But Bella loved Frodo. So when she heard this news, she was heart broken. So, she became very jealous. Princess Pony and King Frodo the Dodo decided to have their wedding in July 2011. After they decided on a day, then they decided to have a wedding in the grand horse barn located in the palace walls of King Frodo’s lovely horse pasture and they lived happily every after.Jeanette’s article artwork and captionJanakai’s Article
The Queen Drinks Catnip Coffee!
The first week of November, Queen Violet drank coffee laced with catnip. The coffee cup was left out by her mom on the coffee table and then a few days later, sneaky Janakai stringed catnip around the coffee cup, Queen Violet would say, “laced around the coffee cup.” The second her tongue touched the cat nip, she flipped over, her tougue started to hang out, she started drooling and rubbing her tummy. Her curiosity took over and she wanted to see how the coffee tasted. And that is how Queen Violet got hyped up on coffee.Janakai’s article drawing and captionEllie’s Article
The Great Pyrenees and the Ghosts
Addy and Fefe were on Ellie’s deck last Friday. Then the cuddly dogs were barking when the ghosts came and scared them. The ghosts came and they made scary noises and Fefe got scared of the noises so they ran. Fefe and Addy got away from the ghosts and lived happily ever after.Ellie’s article drawing and caption
As usual, I followed a copy work format. So, I would ask a question about their story. Then I would write their answer to their particular story on the board or paper for them to copy, depending on what was easier for them. As I mentioned from a previous post, some kids find copy work from the board extremely difficult so writing sentences/words on paper, putting that paper directly in front of them, letting them cross out the words as they write it, may be a better method for copy work. Why frustrate an already frustrating situation–try to make it easier. I think copy work is the way to go for dyslexics and reluctant writers because the most important function of writing is getting your thoughts down on paper in an organized fashion. Spelling and grammar can come later. Below is an example of my writing on the board from their dictation and then they were to copy my writing.
I have to admit that Ellie was struggling so much that I was constantly questioning myself with my expectations. Also, this assignment was very guided. I certainly did not tell the girls what to write, but I helped guide them and encouraged them to use their five W’s outline.
Our next lesson will use the five W’s again, but instead of writing silly articles, I’m wanting them to write something about the Great Depression. My hope is that this assignment will enable them to write about the next one more easily.
As usual, please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions and I apologize for my own dyslexic grammatical errors and spelling.