After the last Bright Ideas post, I had several requests for a response my kids complete for our school's last Book of the Month - Nothing to Do. So, I'm linking up with the fabulous Deanna Jump to share it with you!
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Nothing to Do is a book about everything you can do during those rare moments in life when there's (sigh) nothing to do. I love the way the author guides readers to use (gasp!) their imaginations to explore the great outdoors and the magic in everyday objects. I don't know about you, but sometimes it seems as though this is something my students struggle more with every year!
After we read the book we talked about the things we could do to avoid boredom. My two classes were very different this year. In my morning group, we sat and brainstormed out loud before the kids went back to their seats to work. In my afternoon group, I made a chart listing the key words they would need to write their responses. In both groups, I used a set of thinking stems to model a response for my kiddos.
Thinking stems are a great way to get your reluctant writers putting pencil to paper. If the first half of the sentence is there, they have no excuse for not finishing it! :) They also provide a solid model for your kiddos who need the extra support in writing stronger sentences.
I always have a group of kids who ask if they have to use the thinking stems... this is usually how I know they've outgrown that strategy. :) I tell them to write 2 sentences on their own and then stop by for a quick conference. This lets me give them the independence they are seeking without letting them run wild into a writing piece they may not be ready for yet.
I asked the kids to use at least 2 of the thinking stems. Again, giving them more options than necessary lets them have more control over their final piece. It also ensures that your hallway displays won't be boring and repetitive! :)
It's always interesting to me to see which kids pick different thinking stems. Their "voices" start to appear as they make different choices.
So, if you think this is something you'd like to use I have it here for you! I've included the thinking stems chart and two different publishing pages - one with primary lines and one without.