Here's Mr. Martinez the ELL teacher reviewing students' final copies.
According to Chris Biffle, from Whole Brain Teaching the Genius Ladder is essentially a scaffold structure to teach sentence and then paragraph construction. The bottom rung should be the simplest kind of complete sentence which we call the "Blah".
The second rung should be the Spicy...add an adjective and we also add a where. Students should work in pairs to orally create a Spicy sentence and then share out.
The third rung we call the Extender Complexor. An Extender Complexor is anything that extends the Spicy sentence...a prepositional phrase, a conjunction, an adverbial phrase, an appositive. You can be as specific or as general as you wish on what you want kids to use at this level. Again have students work in pairs to orally create as many Extender Complexor alternatives as possible.
The fourth rung is the Genius Paragraph. Students take one of the Extender Complexor sentences as their topic sentence and add as many adders as possible...detail sentences. At this point, students should be writing. I have students add a Hook, simile and a conclusion.
As you can see the Genius Ladder can vary but the key idea is to move from a simple sentence to complex, give kids lots of oral reps at the lower level and finish with paragraph writing.
Here's two videos with Chris Biffle facilitating the Genius Ladder. He is awesome!
This afternoon our school's Cheerleaders, Choir and Ballroom Dancers performed. Here are a few shots taken from the performance.