Friendly Letter – Oral Rehearsal Using a Flow Map

October 3, 2007 at 6:22 pm | Posted in best practices, ELD, elementary, graphic organizers, learning modality, second grade, strategies, thinking maps, writing | 4 Comments

This video was taken by a friend during our writing process about two weeks ago.

This student was absent during the days when we worked on our Flow Map so he had to use the class created Flow Map for his writing.  The other students use their own Flow Map.  In the video, the student is orally rehearsing his writing prior to writing.  He is doing what we call “Pull Out and Talk”.  For a more detailed explanation of our writing process, please visit this previous post.

This was our second major piece of writing in the second grade Open Court unit, Kindness.  The prompt was:  Please write a thank you letter to the elves as if you were the shoemaker.

Why Oral Rehearsal?

Why do I insist that my students orally rehearse before writing?  Almost all of my students are stronger in the oral language than they are in the written language.  I found that they were intimidated by writing and could sit for hours staring at a blank sheet of paper before writing or would write everything in three or four incomplete sentences.  Allowing my students to talk and think aloud reduces the affective filter.  Also, allowing my students to make plenty of mistakes while talking and then fixing their mistakes orally ensures that less mistakes show up on paper.  With oral rehearsal, my students’ writing is stronger and more detailed.


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  1. You’ve been tagged to participate in Unit Opener Planning Week. Please consider posting on your plans for opening upcoming units.

  2. Wonderful posting CT. I love the video: what a brilliant idea to share it with the world.

    This strategy is a very elegant bridge between thinking, speaking and writing. Great stuff.

  3. Thank you Andrew! It is a great scaffold, particularly for my English learners and my non-standard English speakers. I’d love to hear how it works with other students as well.

  4. I just want to say HOW IMPRESSED I am with your blog! I work for a ‘smallish’ inner city in the midwest. We are not as far along as you are in terms of strategies. We are currently in our 2nd year of Thinking Maps and IFL (institute for learning). It is my job to get people onboard for teaching strategies, and many times I find it impossible to get people to try new things. Your blog will encourage some of our hesitant teachers to get off their b_tts and implement this great stuff that will really HELP KIDS!!!! After all, I sure hope everyone’s goal is to help children succeed….I know it is my goal.

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