My 2nd graders recently read From Milk to Ice Cream by Michael Christopher and learned about the process of how milk is turned into ice cream.  We created a step by step graphic organizer on the process, using our book as help.

IMG_0221IMG_0222The students had the weekend to think about something they knew how to make and could provide step by step instruction to the group over.  I came back with an example of how to make your bed.  I created a giant graphic organizer of the steps and wrote down key connecting words (first, then, next, after, last; First, second, third, fourth…) and students had to decide which connecting words they preferred to use in their writing.

Students then shared what they would be writing about.  We had how to do a back flip on a bike, how to ride a skateboard, how to get dressed, and how to play Minecraft.

Together as a group we started writing a group example using my “How to make your bed” graphic organizer.  The 2nd graders were excited at how easy it was to transition from your graphic organizer to writing as “all the work is already done.  I’m practically copying it.” Hmmmm!!  Could my point of showing how a graphic organizer can be helpful in writing finally be coming through? 🙂

IMG_0220Students then started writing their own stories using their graphic organizers and modeling it off of our group paper we had written.

I was able to conference with each student as they were writing.  The next day we talked about how we can edit our papers to give more spice and add more descriptive words.  Some of the boys were pretty set on “this is what I wrote and this is how I like it so this is how it will stay.”  I had students swap papers and give each other suggestions on how they could make their paper “more spicy” with detailed words or adding onto their sentences.

I even had the students help me add more “spice” to my story from the previous day.  They came up with a lot of great ways we could lengthen sentences and add more detail.  After students had added additional detailed words into their story I had a conference with them again to go over spelling and make sure everything made sense and followed their graphic organizer.

IMG_0224IMG_0223Some needed a little redirecting on following the graphic organizer instead of writing something entirely different.  After more swapping papers with students and conferences then we moved onto the final draft.  This is the first time we’ve ever tried moving our writing to lined paper.  Normally I give the students blank paper, but the lines helped keep students on track for size, spacing, and writing straight.

This ended up being a more laborious project than I had originally thought, but I think we got a lot of bang for our buck.  Students were flipping back and forth between their graphic organizers and their rough draft to help them.  It was encouraging to see the students helping each other and giving suggestions on how to make their paper more interesting.  After one of my 2nd graders finished he asked me, ” Will you read this?  Do you think it’s spicy?”  🙂