Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Monsters Galore (part 2)

Monsters Galore part 2 (teaching capital letters with a highlighter)

There's nothing like reading and learning through a monster to engage a room full of first graders.  I chose to use monsters to introduce capital letters to start a sentence.  

Let me first stop here to mention and thank my co-worker Trish for all of her amazing writing ideas and lessons.  Writing is her passion and when I grow up I want to be her! Many of the ideas for writing you see are inspired by this amazing friend and teacher.  One day I'll be able to convince her to start her own blog...    

In my room this year I have introduced one writing rule at a time.  I taught each skill in isolation and worked on each rule for 1-2 weeks, until as a class, we were ready to move to the next rule.  So far my board looks like this:
Good Writers...
use finger spaces.
write from left to right, top to bottom.
stay on topic. 
use capital letters to start their sentence and for proper nouns. 

To begin our first capital letter lesson, we first created our monster.  From there, I led students to the carpet where I used a Bubble Map to describe possible sentences that could be used to describe our monsters. I modeled heavily how to write about a monster and this is when I introduced where the capital letter should go and why.
Examples of sentences/story: 
My monster has sharp red teeth.  He looks scary.  My monster can dance and scare people.  

We also stopped to discuss how a monster could be a "he" or "she" and that using this pronoun would help make our writing sound better.  

During my modeling, I went back over all the capital letters that were used correctly with a different colored Expo marker.  This 'highlighted' the capital letters to show where a new sentence starts.  As I moved around the room when the students were highlighting, I would use my highlighter to highlight their capital letters on their paper.  This helped them see where they were placed correctly and at times, where they were not.  As an added incentive, for the first lesson, I offered one Skittle for each capital letter used correctly.  
I think they turned out super cute! Here are a few samples. 

My monster is a boy.  He is silly.  He is scary.  He is fuzzy. 
My monster has red teeth.  She is a boy.  She is creepy. 
(Ha! My ESL babies need some work on he/she and boy/girl.)

*This monster pattern is from a Mailbox Magazine and is NOT in my Monster unit. 

For more monster ideas/lessons, check out my Teachers Pay Teachers store. 

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