Fourth graders in my classes are working on opinion essays. Students are drafting this week as we work using transition words and giving supporting details, facts/examples about their reasons. I reviewed with each class yesterday a great time management tool. I invited each student to set three goals for themselves to do during their thirty minute workshop, since most students are at different stages. Some need support (conferences to finish first two paragraphs) others are moving ahead with the rest of their piece, others are finished and choose to revise/edit independently, others may work on other writing
During the mini-lesson, I modeled a think-aloud where I prioritized to make a list of three things to work on during my workshop time. “Let’s see, I said I know my first thing is to do conferences at the table, then my number two is walk around and do at least four desk conferences, and my third thing is sit down to write in my writer’s notebook. I might not always get to my number two or three, but I can finish at study time, home or possibly save until tomorrow.” I also modeled how much fun it is to check it off when I complete it! As I slowly looked around the room, I suddenly started to grin. The students were already jotting down their goals. “Alright,” I thought, “it is working.” I had modeled this time management stategy back in September, but many students still seemed unsure. Most students really got it this time.
Today, students actually continued to work off their plan from yesterday. I even had one student raise his hand and say, “May I get a sticky note today, I need to make a new plan!” This was music to my ears as I responded, “Sure, they are in the supply drawer, help yourself!”