|A note for teacher users: These lessons are posted so that you may borrow ideas from them, but our intention in providing this resource is not to give teachers a word-for-word script to follow. Please, use this lesson's big ideas but adapt everything else. And adapt it recklessly; that's how you become an authentic writing teacher.
Teacher Instructions & Lesson Resources :
Pre-step…before sharing the published model: This is a lesson that can be used as a follow-up to learning ANY mathematic procedure. Lisa deisgned this lesson specifically for simplifying exponents, but she invites you to try it with other topics.
To start the lesson, make sure that your students have a clear understanding of the mathematical procedure you are covering. Work through several problems of varying levels prior to starting so that students are thinking about all of the possible things that can happen when applying the procedure to actual problems.
Step one…sharing the published model: If you have access to the following books, use the to begin this lesson. Share several songs from the book Take Me out of the Bathtub by Alan Katz. Have students talk about how the author has placed original ideas in the structure that has been borrowed from familiar songs. Let them know they will be thinking about ideas (procedures) and borrowing organization (song structures) as they prepare to write something original for this assignment.
If your students enjoy Alan Katz's book, they'll probably also enjoy Jon Scieszka's Science Verse. If you have time to share examples from a second book, this is the book to select additional songs from.
Step two…introducing models of writing: To give them an idea of the writing assignment at hand, in small groups, have your students read and respond to any or all of the student models that come with this lesson. The groups should certainly talk about the idea development and organization, since these are the focus of the lesson.
WritingFix Safely Publishes Students from Around the World! In 2008, we first began accepting students samples from teachers anywhere who use this lesson. Hundreds of new published students now go up at our site annually!
We're currently looking for student samples for other grade levels for this lesson! Help us obtain some from your students, and we'll send you a free resource for your classroom! Visit this lesson's student samples page for details.
Step three…thinking and pre-writing: Begin by asking students if they remember the itsy bitsy spider song. Says Lisa, "We started this lesson by singing to the Karaoke version that I purchased from iTunes and placed on my I-Pod. Search for Karaoke children’s songs and you can find several choices."
Then ask students to list the steps or rules required to solve the mathematical procedure you are currently studying.
Says Lisa, "For exponents, we came up with 1) multiply the coefficients, 2) add the exponents, etc. I pushed my students for 5 main steps although we did not use them all in the actual song we wrote." If you're doing this lesson with exponents (like Lisa did), you can use this worksheet she designed for that very topic.
Share Original Graphic Organizers (for Pre-Writing)
from Your Teaching Toolbox.
We share graphic organizers with our peers, we find them in books, and we think we should also be able to find tried-and-true ones online at WritingFix. This year, if you create an original graphic organizer (or adapt one of ours) when you teach this page's lesson, and post it, we might just end up publishing it directly here at WritingFix, and we will post it here, giving you full credit.
Original graphic organizers for specific lessons, like this one, can be submitted as an attachment at this link. Look for the "Reply to this Box" beneath the post. To be able to post, you will need to be a member of our free Writing Lesson of the Month Network.
The next step is to write the lines to the song as a whole class. To begin, write a problem on the board and work it out step by step, thinking about the steps students would take. Then hum the first line of the itsy bitsy song and try to find words that will convey the first step. Continue this process until you have written all lines of the song. Then sing the song with the students to see if it flows or if there needs to be revisions. Use the following rubric to help make changes to your class song.
Once a class song has been created, use it throughout the unit. You might start and end class by singing it together.
When a new mathematical concept is introduced, have students in small groups create original problem-solving songs to the tunes of different familiar songs and/or nursery rhymes. The interactive buttons on the student instructions page might help them explore different songs and math procedures.
Later--as new concepts are introduced and studied, students might individually create step-by-step songs. Have students share their songs with each other, encouraging one another to revise before finalizing their songs. The tools below will encourage revision.