Wednesday, August 15, 2012

WBT Oral Writing & a few pictures

“Make it physical and you make it visual. Those are the two biggest areas of the brain.”

Watch live streaming video from wholebrainteaching1 at

If you can get kids to speak paragraphs and even short essays, writing is so much simpler. I need to practice using wait time so kids have a chance to prepare their sentences. This was a great webcast. I am so glad I watched it. I tuned into the first week goals webcast yesterday and this was on the list. I said to myself that I just had to watch this video because writing is going to be a huge part of my class this upcoming year.

In Texas, we have a state assessment in writing in 4th grade. I am told that we are responsible for bringing their writing up to par, because the younger grades don’t always do it justice. I know the truth in that. Unfortunately, there is never enough time in the day when you are working against yourself. I am going to change that in my classroom this year by using WBT techniques. I am very excited.

After I finished watching the webcast, I immediately posted a link to this video on my Facebook page. I tagged a teacher in my building from very grade level. I am hoping they will take a look, come ask me about it, and begin to use oral writing in their classrooms.

These are my notes for implementing oral writing:
  • Teach your students that every question you ask must be answered with a complete sentence. Be consistent!!!
  •  Teach the wrong way to answer questions first (one or two words)
  • Teach the right way to answer all questions (complete sentences). The answer must repeat part of the question. I am going to let my students know that I expect intelligent speaking in my classroom. The slang and incomplete sentences they use outside of the classroom doesn’t belong in academics. I want to give them the sense of the right time and place.
  • If they forget to answer with a complete sentence just smile, cup your hand behind your ear, and say, “I didn’t hear your complete sentence.” It becomes a silent prompt.
  • Teach kids to add a detail sentence to their answer, called an adder. The cue is spinning your fingers like a wheel.
  • The answer to the question is the topic sentence. Everything else develops the idea.
  • Teach kids to add a conclusion after adders, called a concluder. The cue is waving one hand above the other like “safe!”
  • Say in conclusion or to sum up or finally with air comma (zoop!)

We need to do this hundreds of times before they will consistently transfer it to their writing. I am really in love with this. When I was in school, I always knew what “sounded” right when it came to sentences and grammar. Most of my students don’t have that, because the language they hear is not even close to correct. I am really going to focus on this every day.

If a student doesn’t know what to say next, they just say help me (throw their arms up) and everybody else can give suggestions.  It is a continuous safety net in the classroom.  The kids listen to the suggestions and then finish their sentence with one of the suggestions or something that comes to them.
Whatever you want in writing, think of a gesture, and get the kids to orally practice. That way we get lots of practice and train the brain.

If an adder is off topic, show them the bungee jump off topic routine. Walk your fingers down your arm, when a sentence is off topic leap them off your arm and shout, “Aiiii! Off topic!” Then bring them back to show they need to bring their sentence back on topic

This is another one of those, “Why didn’t I think of that?” moments. I mean really? It is so simple, yet perfect. I know this will make a huge difference in my student’s writing.  I just have to commit to teaching and using it daily.

I love the high five switch! Divide the class into ones and twos. Number one starts, prompts herself, and gets through it. Number two is mirroring her gestures. When one is finished, she high fives two and they switch roles. Kids can use oral writing as a pre-writing exercise with each other. I think I will find myself saying, “Talk through it so you can write through it.”

Oral writing is all about higher order thinking and I love that. This is going to stretch my student’s brains and get them thinking in new ways. Once we get this down as a group, I really want to have my class do this with a partner daily. This will help with writer’s block. It will get them thinking about how to start writing from a prompt and develop several coherent paragraphs without breaking a sweat. Isn’t that wonderful?

I am hoping this will really show them the link between speaking and writing. Telling a story orally is easy because we do it all the time. We just have to treat our writing the same way. We first generate our thoughts, use oral writing techniques, and then put it all on paper. I can’t wait to share this with my colleagues and students!

Can you use this? I know I will be using this. Just another WBT technique to add to the list!

Classroom update pictures.

Right beside the door

I love my desk!!!


Amanda Kendall said...

Hey Becca! I hadn't seen this video and watched the WHOLE thing right here on your blog. My plan was to spend my morning read my 93 unread blog posts, but this simply couldn't wait. Thanks for sharing the video. I took copious notes and look forward to implementing this into my classroom this year.

The Teaching Thief
Fiction Friday: A Celebration of Children’s Literature

Amanda Kendall said...

P.S. Your room looks so good! I love the blank border with the purple. Your desk is uber chic!

The Teaching Thief
Fiction Friday: A Celebration of Children’s Literature

Becca Morris said...

Thanks Amanda! I think Oral Writing is amazing. I can't wait to get it going this year.

Miss Foote said...

Your room looks great! I also love your almost makes me wish I had one to cuteify.

Chickadee Jubilee

Amanda Kendall said...

Becca! Oh my gosh! I've been so inspired by Oral Writing today, I made posters! I'm posting all about it tomorrow on my blog so be sure to check it out and grab your freebie! I'm sending everyone to this post for all the info. You said it perfectly! Thanks for all the inspiration!

The Teaching Thief
Fiction Friday: A Celebration of Children’s Literature

Becca Morris said...

Amanda - I am so glad you are inspired!!! I will come check it out. Thanks for linking back to me! I love your comments.

Christine said...

Thanks for sharing! I found your blog through Amanda at The Teaching Thief. I'm your newest follower.

Tales From Rm 17!

Kelly Benefield said...

I had to check out your notes on oral writing. I found you through Amanda's blog. Best wishes in 4th grade. I hope you love it as much as I do!

Teaching Fourth

Unknown said...

Love your information and resources about oral writing. I think it'll be really good for my students. I found you through pinterest and am your newest follower.

Kristen said...

Thank you so much for putting your notes on here! Such a big help, I am very excited to start using more oral writing in my classroom!! :)

A_Hust said...

I love your desk! What material did you use for it?

Lisa said...

Oh no! Someone said that your video on oral writing was really informative, do you still have it somewhere by any chance?

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