I have, however, made it my professional goal to find ways to make writing meaningful for my students and to incorporate more writing activities into my students week. It did not start out with a big project, it started very small, as a transition activity after lunch. Each student now has a writing binder in which they answer a simple question or fill in the blank and then add a picture. Now after a few weeks of getting my students desensitized to this, I expanded with this project.
We started with our pre-writing using the basics of Expanding Expression. My students are familiar with Expanding Expression; we often use it during Language Arts instruction (more blog posts to follow about that). A few of my kiddos already knew what they wanted for Christmas and were able to verbalize this to us; for those kiddos we found it online, to confirm it is what they wanted, and then printed a picture of the toy so we could help if they ran into difficulty. For my kiddos that were not able to verbalize what they wanted we pulled out the Toys R Us catalog and went from there.
We did not do all of our pre-writing in one day, it took a few days to complete. Green=Group; Blue=What does it do?; White=What does it look like?; Brown=What is it made of?; White (with triangle)=Where do you get it?; Pink=Details-Why should Santa bring it?; Orange=Anything else/Thank you.
Here is a sample of what it looked like.
Over the next few days we worked on the final product. The kiddos really seemed to enjoy this product and one student has even wrote another letter to Santa which we have mailed to the North Pole! I had the Santa paper in a folder, but I'm sure I found it online somewhere. I also hand made the Santa parts, except the mittens; click here for the sketch: SANTA
And the final product.....