Attention STAAR Writing teachers!
This activity will make a great review for your 4th, 7th, and 9th grade students who are preparing for the test! The letters represented in this hand are almost half the points your 4th and 7th graders will be able to earn.
This product has 7 letters that make an incredible checklist for editing, revising and even penmanship after your students have finished their rough draft. They like to run to your desk and turn in their essays without really take time to edit their papers for mistakes! Here is a neat little poster that will remind them to check for the following in the editing process:
U- Usage This letter allows your kids to monitor subject verb agreement and check singular versus plural or past, present or future tenses. I included Spider Man in this section to think of how a subject is connected with its predicate like a web that this special super hero uses to hold them together. I have also mentioned Michael Jackson here because sometimes you won't know which word is correct to use until you rewind (dance backwards to the previous sentence).
S- Sentence Boundaries
Many students will accidently write an entire paragraph or even a whole page with ONE period! This section reminds them to check for run-ons which don't have enough punctuation, or fragments, which have too much.
There are so many capitalization rules to remember, so I recommend that every time you are reading with your students orally that they say the word capital and pretend to put on a cap when they see any type of proper nouns. This will help them remember more words that need to be capitalized when they are writing their own papers.
O-Off Limits Words (removing words below my ability level)
Although removing and replacing vocabulary is actually a revising strategy, I included it in this checklist since it is such a simple concept to get into the practice of doing. Over the school year, you should be getting rid of watered down words that are below and perhaps above your students' ability levels. That will give them better options when they are writing their own sentences, paragraphs and essays.
P-Penmanship (checking for neatness in handwriting)
In this part of the mini-poster, I used Iron Man to remind your kids that print letters can't touch, just like this super hero when he is using his powers by spreading apart his fingers.
Aqua Man is for cursive since that super hero has to have his fingers touching in order to swim with the speed that is required for his powers to work effectively.
In most state tests like STAAR, the punctuation has the highest percentage of questions that have problems or are at least distractors. The reason that the periods, exclamations, and question marks are red is that those are like stop signs that require you to come to a complete stop at the end of a complete thought. The rest of the punctuation marks are yellow because you will only be slowing down as you write and read them, not completely stopping: commas, apostrophes, contractions, colons, semi-colons, and quotation marks.
The last item on the checklist seems to be the most difficult for many students. I have included four pictures that will help them go through the process it takes to become a better speller:
1. Eyes: Their eyes are to take a picture of each word for higher students or syllables and individual letters one at a time for struggling spellers. If students cannot even transcribe a word from one paper to another, it is usually because they are letter level students trying to write things a word a time instead.
2. Mouths: In order for students to become better spellers, ALL students should be reading the assigned material orally in all subjects, not just silently. This allows them to try and break down the sounds of each syllable which will help them with the final spelling of each word. When you allow students to follow along silently while you or another student is reading orally, half of them are not even paying attention, thus losing lots of opportunities to become better readers, spellers, and ultimately, writers.
3. Ears: Since your students will be speaking out their words and sentences, their ears will allow them to hear and hopefully listen to what they actually sound like when spoken correctly.
4. Pencils: Great spellers usually need to go through the entire process above in order to become proficient at this skill. You should have a spelling bee for your class at least once during the year and have a nice prize for the winner to receive for his or hard work throughout the year.