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McREL Standards Activity

My Writing Portfolio

Purpose:As a result of this activity, students will be able to write in a variety of formats.
Related Standard & Benchmarks:
Language Arts
 Standard 6.Uses skills and strategies to read a variety of literary texts
   Level I [Grade K-2]
   Benchmark 4. Relates stories to personal experiences (e.g., events, characters, conflicts, themes)
Language Arts
 Standard 1.Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process
   Level I [Grade K-2]
   Benchmark 7. Writes in a variety of forms or genres (e.g., picture books, friendly letters, stories, poems, information pieces, invitations, personal experience narratives, messages, responses to literature, opinion pieces)
Student Product:Writing portfolio
Material & Resources:This activity focuses on a variety of writing forms (e.g., picture books, letters, stories, poems). The teacher should focus on the writing formats and genres that are appropriate for his or her specific grade level. Teachers may choose to save good examples of student writing to use as models for students in future classes.
Teacher's Note:No supplementary notes for this activity.
The teacher reads Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, by Judith Viorst to the class.  The teacher and students share some of their own unforgettable (not necessarily bad, but possibly funny, or hectic) day experiences, then the teacher announces that students will create picture books to illustrate their own unforgettable days. To help students with this activity, the teacher should point out key features of picture books (e.g., book cover, a story line, pictures that illustrate the story, etc.) and model the process of writing a picture book for the class. Students can then write their own picture books. When they have completed their books, students may discuss how their own stories of unforgettable days compared with Alexander’s bad day.

Throughout the year, students can use this activity as a model to learn how to write in a variety of other formats.  For example, they could read sample letters to politicians, discuss the defining features of these letters, then write their own.  They could read and discuss poems from Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends, then compose their own poems.  Or they could read travel brochures, determine key features of these brochures, then write visitor’s guides about their own neighborhoods or favorite places.

By the end of the school year, students will have a comprehensive portfolio demonstrating their ability to write in a variety of formats.