Write for Texas


Pegasus Social Studies Students Write Collaboratively

The gray skies and puddles didn't deter Pegasus social studies students from tackling some interesting topics today.

Every classroom I visited had students collaborating through writing. In the first class students built on their knowledge of two battles, the Alamo and Goliad, through the help of their peers. Then, as a class, they created two anchor charts.

In my next two classrooms students tried out an activity from a previous newsletter--Double Dialogue Journals. Every student was engaged in the activity while providing their opinion and insight into two different current event topics. Even I got to jump into the collaborative writing mix.

Since this activity was such a hit, I've included it again at the end of this flyer.

Quick Writing Activities for Warm Ups

Check out these two quick strategies!

Crystal Ball Writing Strategy

This activity prompts students to make predictions about the content at hand. As students enter the room have something posted on the front board. Depending on your content this may be an image, words, a map, a math problem or anything else connected to the content you are about to address.

Then ask students, "Based on [item], what do you think today's lesson will be about?"

Even if they are wrong, it will get them writing, thinking and engaged in the material. They will stick with it to see if their predictions are right.

Also if you google "crystal ball writing strategy" there are several templates of crystal balls with room to write. You would be surprise how much more some students write when provided a template/graphic.

Yesterday's News

Check students' recall from the previous class. What was the headline from yesterday's class? This activity forces students to sift through all the information from the previous class and express the main point concisely.

And, if they are way off, it is an easy formative assessment.

Double Dialogue Journals

This is a great paired activity that requires students to use questioning skills.

The Setup

1) Students must be given a guiding question to get the conversation started.

2) Tell students that they will be having a conversation with a partner, but the entire conversation must take place through writing. This is a silent activity.

3) Each student should use a different color writing utensil to distinguish the dialogue.

4) Set a time limit.

5) Students pass the paper back and forth asking and answering questions. • After reading an article.

When to Use It

  • To activate prior knowledge.

• Synthesize class notes.

• End of a unit.

• Vocabulary.

• Following a film.

• Following audio clip.

• Responding to a photograph or piece of art.