We spend a LOT of time talking about what is in their schema's (prior knowledge) and we try and make meaningful connections between what we learn at school and their prior knowledge and experiences. I have to admit that I have not done such a good job around teaching them some of the technical aspects of writing. I feel like I am constantly referring them to the "5 Steps Writing Checklist" anchor chart in order for them to stay focused on the basics of writing. It is a big deal in grade 2 and I saw the perfect opportunity to make the anchor chart memorable, with the help of Yoda, of course.
Here is the audio of my student imitating Master Jedi Yoda while reminding his classmates of the "5 Steps Writing Checklist":
May the Fourth be with you
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You might be wondering what the big deal is. The big deal is that I would have never thought of doing this before having the smartpen in my classroom. It is almost like a door has been opened - one that allows my students and I to be more creative and engaged in our learning environment. The student who imitated Yoda is beaming with pride and now all the other students are walking around trying to imitate Yoda while reading the anchor chart - it's like the anchor chart actually exists now! The true test will be when we jump back into the writing task that we are currently working on.