So… I had a great conversation with my wife, the brilliant grade 1 / 2 teacher, as well as another great fellow teacher, Tammy C., both of whom have done Bump It Up Walls numerous times.
Here are their steps for a B.I.U.W. in their elementary classes:
- Write a piece of writing together on the SMARTBoard or on the overhead, etc. The teacher deliberately includes flaws in the written piece. (TIP: Tammy suggests turning spellcheck and grammar check off so the computer doesn’t highlight the flaws so that the students have to find them.) *** I believe this would count as the Level 1 exemplar.
- Then go over the definition of the piece of writing you are learning. (elements of a paragraph, descriptive writing, etc.)
- Develop a rubric for this piece of writing and show exemplars.
- Create a chart or poster with writing prompts, tips, perhaps a checklist of the ‘necessary ingredients’ for the particular writing piece.
- Focus on one sentence: pick a sentence (Question: does the teacher pick or do the students pick?) and say: “Pick a sentence that needs ‘bumping up’. How can we take this sentence and bump it up?”
[** It was at this point that both Michelle and Tammy said that the students will need the teacher to provide a very narrow focus. So if the writing piece is on descriptive writing, then Tammy suggested just focusing on one of the senses, such as sight, sound, smell, etc. ]
- Rewrite that sentence (Question: as a class?). As the paragraph is being re-written, remind students of the basics / required ingredients in a sentence.
- Put that sentence back into the paragraph. Invariably, the students will see that the rest of the paragraph also needs ‘bumping up’ now that the polished sentence has been re-inserted. *** I believe that Tammy suggests that the paragraph with one ‘bumped up sentence would now count as a Level 2 exemplar.
- Break the students into groups with 1 sentence per group. (TIP: I believe Tammy has the sentences already printed out and put onto chart paper or printed on 11 x 17 paper.) Each group is given one colour of marker, crayon, pencil crayon, etc. Each colour group then has 3 minutes to think of some way to ‘bump up’ that sentence. The students use that coloured writing implement to write their suggestions right on the page.
- Staying in the colour groups, the sentences are then traded with another group. This time, the groups only have 1 minute to see if they can add any other suggestions to the original groups ideas. (TIP: Tammy suggests that one trade is sufficient. Too many trades and the students quickly run out of ideas and then get disengaged.)
- Put up the sentences on the board and re-assemble the paragraph. *** Tammy suggests that this re-assembled paragraph would probably work as a Level 3 exemplar.
- For the next day, the teacher then types out / prints out this new ‘bumped’ up paragraph. The discussion now is ‘How do we get this paragraph to a Level 4?‘
- (QUESTION: How does this work then go up on the wall for it to be a visual?)
Still to be continued…