Is it a Match?
According to Jennifer Gozalez, “good content writing comes from pre-writing, revising editing, and then publishing. Include more of these steps and good writing will happen.” So why so often does that not happen in the content area classrooms? Lack of resources… uninteresting projects? The constant response to text… possibly.
Content area literacy should be accessible to all students. It’s job and purpose is twofold. To expose students to low stakes writing and reading opportunities as well as expose students to the possibilities of writing in the content areas.
Many students do not know that math and sciences heavily rely on writing. My goal as a teacher is to expose students to this writing and offer tangible ways to access those strategies in my fifth grade classroom.
Do you know her? If not, Please pause this and take time to buy her book, Writing, Redefined.
One way I decided to maybe engage students by using Shawna Coppola’s idea of remixing. “Remixing involves creating something entirely new using pieces of existing content from one of more sources and includes attribution–” This gives students the access to fun engaging writing without having to constantly create the content.
What if I created “match” profiles for literary characters based on what I know about them. That then morphed into what if students created matches for our symbiotic relationship unit.
Are We A Match?
In 5th grade science I have students go through and become quick experts with different types of symbiotic relationships. My thought was what if students still became quick experts gathering information and then making dating/friendship profiles to match these species. Are the species a match based on their commonalities? Are their differences compatible? This is comparing and contrasting taken to the next level.
From there my mind flooded with ideas. What if students could use this platform to create more types of matches and create low stakes writing opportunities… also showing what they know. This could be also extended to a matching game as well students could contribute a match and then students could go through to guess what species belong together. Thus giving them an engaging reading and writing experience.
First day: We decide what we are comparing and contrasting, this could be: two characters in a novel, two mathematical terms, two scientific thoughts. It is not limited to two but starting out choose your two examples.
I have students compare and contrast the two examples by using a note catcher “They Say/I Say”
Students use evidence from their text to support their thinking. Finding text that compares the two examples. They also should note things that contrast them. Are there similarities enough that these two are a match or would their differences actually cause them to be too different?
A remix to this lesson is that students contrast two examples not creating a match and listing why.
Second Day: Students work on their match profiles. I have a template students can use or they can create their own [Students have even created videos of their two examples talking giving voice overs]. We go through what it means that two things are compatible.
Together we answer these questions:
Does that mean that they have to have all the same similarities?
How do opposites complement each other?
What are things that would definitely make something NOT a match?
Next I ask my students what would a profile have on it? Likes… dislikes? Where they are from? Important things about your example? I show them some examples of matches (see bottom of the article for examples to use in your class).
Then students draft and create their matches.
Students share to a padlet or walk around the room to check out their peer’s matches.
Expand it to Infinity and Beyond
- Writing informative/explanatory text to examine a topic and convey ideas clearly
- Character Analysis
- Setting Analysis
- Historical Moments or Historical Figures
- Comparing and contrasting math terms
- The skies are the limit! JUST REMIX IT
EXAMPLES OF MATCHES
I believe that this lesson helps scaffold students to create a piece of writing that shows what they know, gives voice, choice, and deepens their understanding of symbiotic relationships. This would be an amazing choice for supporting evidence of understanding how ecosystems behave. It also could be adapted and modified for other units across the curriculum.
My Lesson Plan (If you teach 5th grade science)
Please reach out with questions, reflections, and connections in the comments below or on Twitter @Mrsablund. Check out my other articles writing out of the ELA classroom.
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