Before beginning our focus on Procedural Writing, Ms. Meehan and Ms. Marra decided to do a fun activity with the students that was intended to spark questions and thoughts around effective procedural writing.
Here is what we did..
We gathered both classes together and gave them step-by-step instructions on how to create a SPECIFIC paper cut-out. We did not show them what this cut out should look like.
We projected the materials on the board and began to go through each step of our instructions. We told the students NOT to ask any questions or seek clarification during the activity, but rather, simply focus on following the steps to the best of your ability.
Materials included the following: pencil, paper, and scissors.
The instructions began to be displayed one-by-one.
STEP 1: Fold your paper in half.
STEP 2: Fold your paper in half again.
Students began to look around the room to see if they had been folding the paper in the "right" way...
STEP 3: Draw a curved line on your paper.
Students began to wonder where to draw the curved line and how long it should be... However, no questions could be asked.
STEP 4: Cut along your curved line.
Students all began to cut along their curved line while still glancing around at their classmates to see how their design differed from others...
STEP 5: Draw three dots at the top of your cut-out with three different coloured pencils.
STEP 6: Draw two hearts at the bottom of the cut-out with two different coloured pencils.
Students didn't have the pencil crayons they needed, but couldn't leave their seats. They had to use the materials that they had.
After everyone had completed all of the steps to the paper-cut out activity, Ms. Meehan and Ms. Marra revealed what their paper cut-out should look like (see yellow paper posted on the board). We asked students to raise their hand if their cut-out looked like the way it was intended to look and only 1 student was remotely close to the paper-cut out design.
We asked students why none of them had the same paper cut out as the one on the board, even though they followed the instructions.
Conclusions from the students:
- Instructions must have MORE detail
- Instructions must list all of the necessary materials needed
- Instructions could also show pictures of each step of the way to help make it more clear
Now that we know this, we have moved onto the collaborative procedural writing. We will show you what we create throughout the next coming weeks.