Sunday, April 17, 2016

Engaging Audiences

Long time no see friends! This school year has flown buy and I cannot believe that I am 2 weeks away from state testing! We get out of school on May 20th and our state testing begins on May 3rd, which means I have been in test prep crunch mode for the past few weeks. 

On-demand writing may or may not be the death of me. 5th grade students in Kentucky are testing on  reading, social studies, math and the dreaded on-demand writing. One of the biggest problems I've been having my with students this year is using the correct tone and word choice for the audience that they are writing to which is why I knew I had to find something to engage them with. 

I went to work researching some ideas on what I could do to have my students be engaged in their writing and be working on writing to the appropriate audience. I found an awesome lesson where students were to pretend that they were in the cafeteria and a food fight broke out. Their task was to describe this event to their teacher, their parent and their friend. 

This idea seemed great to me, but I still wanted there to be a deeper level of engagement. So, I started looking for videos on Youtube where there were food fights in the cafeteria and I found the perfect one.  There is a scene from the Bratz movie that shows a complete food fight and my kids LOVED watching this. 
In my room I paired kids up and had them watch the video on our Chromebooks, there was so much laughter that you would have never known we were doing writing! After they watched the video they had the job of describing the event to their best friend, principal or parent. Each group was assigned a different audience to write to. 

Before we actually began writing we discussed word choice, tone and the appropriate choices for each audience. I gave them a graphic organizer to use that I purchased from Butterflies and Daydreams

After every group had a chance to write to each audience we shared and then compared and contrasted the way we wrote to each audience. My students then had the chance to edit the opinion piece that we were working on at the time. 

If you would like to see the original lesson you can find that here.

I have also put some samples of my student writing on a Google Doc. If you do this lesson in your class please add on to the Google Doc so my students can see other ways to write to specific audiences!

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