Teaching Time-Savers to Reach ALL Learners!
Teaching Time-Savers to Reach ALL Learners!
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Struggling Writer Hacks

Text-based Essays Video Lessons

In Florida, we teach text-based essay writing.  Some people call this evidence-based writing.  No matter how you slice it, there are some students that just plain struggle.
So, to help them, I came up with a mnemonic system to help them remember the structure of such an essay.
We always begin with informative essays and here are the mnemonics I use:
Introduction = HAT:
For essay introductions, I tell my middle school students "Just like you put a hat on the top of your head, you put a hat on the top of your essay!"  #teaching #hack
Hook:  TAGS (title, author, genre and a short summary of the texts)
Arch - a bridge sentence that gives a "fun fact" that connects the text to the thesis
Thesis:  Answer to the prompt with the reasons
Just like you put a hat on the top of your head, you put a hat on the top of your essay!
Body = ACEIT it)
Your middle school students will surely "Ace it" when writing their essay body paragraphs following this pattern!  #teaching #writing #hack
Answer to the prompt with transition and reason
Cite evidence
Explain with commentary (by answering the questions "Why is this important?  How does this prove the point?"
Fancy word for repeat - as in repeat the cycle of and explain with new evidence.)
Top it off with a conclusion.
Conclusion = ATT
When writing conclusions to essays, I say to my middle school students "What's the last thing you grab before you leave?  Your phone - your AT&T!"  #teaching #textbased #conclusions
Affirm the thesis (restate it)
Trim the point
The call to action

What's the last thing you grab before you leave your house?  Your cell phone - your AT&T.
Ok, so not everyone has AT&T but they get the idea!
Because I have an extensive special there have been years where my general classes were comprised of about half students with special needs.  And you know what?  We worked this mnemonic system like no one's business and when the time came for the students to take the test, they used the mnemonics in their planning and 
This was huge, honestly, because some students on our campus who did not have special needs did not do as well.  Everyone wanted to know my secret.  So I put together a little video, but I thought it was pretty boring and I really wanted to motivate the students. So I came up with a secret agent theme with the help of my son.  :)
Before I knew it, those videos "went viral" at my school and soon students that were not in my classes would come to me and tell me that they liked the videos and asked if they could follow me on YouTube!  
The teachers really loved the videos because not only were the students into it, but it helped them reach all learners.  The videos did all the talking so they could focus on the individual students.
Now you can try this system too!  My video unit includes:
★ Over 35 minutes of video lessons with examples and a secret agent theme for engagement full of tips and tricks to help your students remember the basics.
★ 40-page supporting document that includes all that listed below this line:
★ Pixanotes® for the entire unit. Pixanotes® are a blend of traditional 2-column notes and interactive notebooks that use the right brain benefits of visuals combined with the left brain advantages of structure to boost comprehension and recall! Say hello to higher test scores! They come in 4 formats to meet your students' needs. pre-printed content and pictures, fill-in-the-blanks content with picture flaps and two other combinations)
★ A Writing Prompt
★ TWO original nonfiction texts about Pipestone National Monument and Mount Rushmore
★ TWO dominoes games to practice learning
★ THREE planning sheets - one is featured in the video as a bonus
★ A sentence starter
★ An Anchor Chart
★ Unit Bonus: Using the planning sheet 
One of the matching planning sheets is in my Teacher Troop Resource Library - freely available to all members -
Thanks for stopping by!

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