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Monday, September 24, 2012

Teaching Conventions

This year in my second grade classroom we are beginning the day with a Morning Meeting.  We greet each other, go over our schedule, share and read a morning message.  During the first two weeks of school we just focused on the message.  During the 3rd and 4th week we started looking at the parts of the message that I always include (date, greeting, message, closing, signature).  This week I started leaving out punctuation, misspelling words, etc.  I ask students to read the message first and then tell me something I did WELL.  This was DIFFICULT in the beginning.  The mistakes are the first things they see and want to tell me about.  However, I feel strongly that we need to first look at what the writer has done well and then talk about the places the writer can improve.  After we share about all the things I have done well we begin to look at the areas I need to fix.  When a student comes up to show me what to fix I let them fix my problem and then ask them to explain why I should do this.

Student: "You didn't put capital letters at the beginning of your name."
Me: "Why should I do that?"
Student: "Because you always start a persons name with capital letters."
Me: "Oh, I see.  Thank you for teaching me that!"

This is something my students have discussed in kindergarten,  first grade and now in second grade.  I have never taught conventions this way, but wonder "WHY IN THE WORLD HAVEN'T I?"  I love the way this is reinforcing conventions and their importance and that the children are being empowered by helping and teaching me why I should use the conventions.  I am excited to see how this transfers to their own writing.  I will keep you posted.

Do you have any other ideas for teaching conventions in second grade?  I would LOVE to hear them.