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Setting Up a Reading Workshop: More from Units of Study Across the Year in Upper Grade Reading, Grades 3-5 November 19, 2009

Filed under: Calkins,reading workshop — bestbookihavenotread @ 8:17 am
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Provisioning a Reading Workshop: Overview, Classroom Environment, and Tools

A transcript of remarks by Kathleen Tolan

Deputy Director of Reading, Teachers College Reading & Writing Project

The workshop model is a model in which all children are involved and engaged. In the case of the

reading workshop, students are engaged with reading books they have picked themselves. It’s

truly differentiated because children read books that they’ve chosen and on levels that they can

read. The workshop is not everybody doing the same thing. Imagine Santa’s Workshop, all the

elves are involved in different activities, but these activities share the same final goal. In reader’s

workshop, all students are focused on activities that are going to help them grow as readers. So

they’re putting into action some of the skills and strategies that have been taught to them, either in

conferring or in mini-lessons, and that they feel like they need to get better at as they go off and

independently practice.

The reading workshop consists of several components. Usually, it starts off with a mini-lesson,

which is whole-class teaching, and then the children read independently for the bulk of the time.

There is usually some form of interruption in the middle to refocus the kids or to teach them

another strategy. This is the mid-workshop teaching point. After that, the kids continue to

read.  Finally, there is usually a teaching share that may involve partner work. This brings

closure to the workshop.

So, in the reading workshop, one of the essential goals is to build a community of readers,

where children are really owning their reading life and composing their reading life in the

classroom in the company of others. Students are making decisions on what they’re going to read

and how they’re going to read it, even going so far as to choose the best place in the classroom

for them to read. The teacher is really working on trying to get children to see reading as

something they work on. Students need to think about their purposes, who they are, and  how

they’d like to grow. And, ultimately, the teacher is working to get the children to become good

thinkers, to use reading to help them develop ideas about the texts and themselves in the world.

Classroom Environments

In workshop teaching,  you’ll notice that teachers work hard at creating a place that encourages

kids to read and author their own reading lives. Classrooms are set up for both independent

work and collaboration. There’s no one way a classroom should be. However, there are some

things to think a little bit about as you set your classroom up. Is this a classroom that would foster

collaboration? Clustering desks or tables in groups can help. You want to make sure that you

provide opportunities for books to be talked about and shared.

It’s also important to create areas in which the class can come together and meet. This common

area is where we usually pull the kids together for whole-class teaching. A rug is not required, but

many people choose to use a rug to mark this space. Some teachers even have couches to make it

comfortable around the meeting area. None of that is required; you’ll make the classroom your

own. In designing your classroom for reading workshop, think about how to create a place that

feels like your home, where you would be doing a lot of your reading.

It’s also a good idea to have an extensive classroom library for workshop teaching. And so

setting up your library is something that you need to think a lot about. You want to make sure that

the room is set up in such a way that kids can  easily find books that match them as readers during

the independent part of reading workshop. And so a lot of the time the children have a part in

setting up the library. How do you make sure students know which books they should choose?

You could organize your library by reading level or create a section organized by reading level

using guided reading letters, dot colors, or some other method of your choice. The library should

also have sections organized by author, such as all the books by Jerry Spinelli, as well as areas, or

bins, that are organized by genre—such as adventure or mystery. There are some bins that the

class will create, like our favorite books. In this way, the kids are really helping to shape the way

their library looks and the way that they think it would help them be more powerful readers. In

some schools, each teacher can’t have his/her own full library so teachers sometimes borrow

books from each other. You might consider putting a shared library on a wheeled cart. That way

when I’m finished, the kids put their books back and then it goes down the hall to the next

teacher. So teachers share libraries. Teachers also take out a tremendous amount of books from

public libraries or from the school library to fill up the shelves in their classrooms. The library is

something that changes and grows. So as your kids are reading more and growing more, you have

to replenish it quite often.

In the reading workshop classroom, we try to think a little bit about what scaffolds we can put in

place to support our kids. So you’ll see a lot of charts, like this chart that a teacher is working on

to explain strategies, that are close to the meeting area. We try to create charts that are going to be

kid-friendly. Sometimes they’re co-created by the kids and the teachers. Some of us are better at

creating ones on the spot, others have to think carefully about the best way of expressing an idea.

On those occasions, the teacher has already written the information up and reveals it at the

appropriate time to the kids.  Some teachers make a smaller version of the information, such as a

bookmarks or handouts, so that the kids can keep the information handy as they read. We often

suggest that the teachers refer to the chart in their teaching, so that the kids don’t see it as

wallpaper, but actually keep using it and referring to it across the unit of study, and even after the

unit of study is over. You will find that a lot of the time charts will go away and come back. It

may be that the kids have outgrown it and don’t need it anymore. You can take it away and pull it

back out when needed. In this way, the information can seem fresh and new to the kids. We don’t

want to have a classroom so covered with charts that you can’t read any of them. So some of what

we do is have teachers read over the charts and figure out which ones are most valuable for the

kids and then they put some of them away.

Tools

In reading workshop, there are tools that help children see themselves growing as readers and us

assess their growth. A reading log is one example. Kids use their reading logs every day,

recording the number of pages read and how much time it took to read those pages. Not just at

school, but also at home, so they can compare and see what were they like as a reader in

September  to October. Kids might notice in September they read less and in October they read

more. Or they realize that in September they read more books, because they read shorter books

than I read in October. So they’re able to answer the questions, “Who am I as a reader? Where am

I going? How have I grown?” Using this tool, kids can set goals for themselves about where they

want to be and they can realize that have something to reflect upon. Of course, it’s also a useful

tool for teachers to check in with kids.

Another powerful tool in reading workshop is Post-its. A lot of people find that the kids are Post-

it crazy. What is all that sticking out of their books? It’s just a way for kids to be reading, and

many adults use the same tool. If you want to jot an idea or question down, you just stick a Post-it

on it. In this way, children can record their thinking and their ideas fast, either in their

independent reading book or in the read-aloud book while it’s being read. Often kids will jot

something as a reflection of the teaching that’s been taught. Kids look over their Post-its before

talking with a partner or with their book club for ideas they want to discuss.

A tool that is introduced later in reading workshop is reading notebooks. We start with Post-its

and then in October we start using the notebooks to study characters a little more in depth. We

don’t use the notebook in the same way for every student because everyone is not doing the same

thing, just like every student is not reading the same book. Children use this notebook to help

them grow their ideas or support their thinking as they read.

You’ll also find that we’ve created classroom book baggies. A book baggie is a simple little

Ziploc baggie where the kids put three or four books that they’re planning on reading that week

or in the next few days. We don’t want kids up and down to the library all the time because we

want them reading. It can create management issues if, in the middle of the workshop, kids are

going up to pick new books because they have nothing to read. So, if a student is a JK reader,

he/she might have 12-14 books in a baggie because that student is going to go through them

quickly. But if you’re a child reading at level P, you might only have three books in your baggie,

because that will sustain you for a week. So the book baggies is a simple way for students to have

their books there. Usually the reading log goes in there, along with some Post-its. And sometimes

even a reading notebook. If you get the gigantic big ones (baggies), you can fit more in there.

Book shopping, in a week, is usually spread out, so there’s only four or five kids each day going

to the library, and there’s usually a schedule. The children never choose books during reading

time, because that is disruptive, but usually during the unpacking or packing up to go home, in the

mornings or the afternoon. Teachers should create a book shopping schedule so that they can be

available to kids who need more support in making book choices. For example, teachers can’t be

in the library every day, but on Thursday, they’ll take the kids who have trouble finding their way

to books, they’ll put them on one day, so they know they have to be there on Thursday morning

when the kids are picking books.

 

Units of Study Across the Year in Upper Grade Reading, Grades 3-5 November 18, 2009

“Years from today, if you were to gather close around you the children you teach now and ask them about their reading lives, would they name your teaching of reading as a turning point? Would you like it to be? Does your teaching of reading have the potential to change not only your students’ lives but also your own life? It could, if you let your teaching be a course for you, and not just for your kids. Your life as a teacher, as a reader, and as a person, could be changed in big and important ways, if you let it.” —Lucy Calkins

I’m pretty excited about the upcoming Units of Study for Teaching Reading: A Workshop Curriculum (Grades 3-5) by Lucy Calkins and Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. Originally the predicted release date was Winter 2010. Now it’s Spring 2010. I want it now!

I’m trying to decide if the Heinemann one-day workshop by Lucy Calkins on UOS in Upper Grade Reading will be beneficial to attend in January even though I won’t be able to have my hands on those books. Will it be beneficial to hear Lucy Calkins explain the UOS ahead of time? OR Will it be frustrating because the books aren’t available for purchase yet?

I’ve never attended a non-beneficial Heinemann Professional Development session and certainly LOVE Lucy, so I’m leaning towards attending.

Oohhh-I did just find that at the Units of Study website, there is an audio of Lucy Calkins giving an overview of the new Teaching Reading series. If you have never seen her speak, you should listen to this. Just hearing her voice makes me want to be a better teacher!

Here’s the transcript:

Units of Study for Teaching Reading: A Series Overview

A transcript of remarks by Lucy Calkins

Founding Director, Teachers College Reading & Writing Project

Teacher’s Guide

I’m excited to be able to tell you about Units of Study in Teaching Reading and to walk you through all

that’s there for you. The first thing is a book called “A Guide to Reading Workshop”, an overview of the

reading workshop. It describes the essential methods that will inform your teaching. In this guide to the

reading workshop, there is a chapter on conferring and small group work to support readers. There’s a

chapter on assessing readers and tracking their development and using data to inform your instruction.

There’s a chapter on the methods that are important to leading effective minilessons that explains how you

can explicitly teach the skills of powerful reading. There are chapters on the skills of powerful reading that

identify what it is that proficient readers do that we need to be able to teach all kids. All of the other main

questions that you’ll ask about methods of teaching reading are there in the guidebook, including what do I

do to support struggling readers. The guidebook is deliberately lean and meant not to overwhelm you but to

enable you to get the essence of all of these methods and this content, because in fact, the unit books

themselves illustrate them. So, there’s the guide and then there are four units of study books.

Unit of Study Book 1

If you know the series The Units of Study in Teaching Writing, the Units of Study in Teaching Reading are

patterned exactly after the units in writing. The first unit is a book which really helps you to launch the

reading workshop and to teach readers those essential skills that are so foundational that you really need to

address them in September. The first book teaches readers how to read with stamina, how to monitor for

sense, how to do the kind of retelling that shows a basic level comprehension. It helps you to assess all your

readers, to match them to books, to teach them the rituals of taking books between home and school, of

keeping logs of their reading. All of that is contained in book one. But I think the challenge of book one is

that there’s a lot of really essential work that you as a teacher have to accomplish. Of course, you want to

do it in a way that inspires kids and makes them see themselves as readers. You want them to feel that they

are authoring lives as readers and that their whole community of practice this year is going to be different

than any other year. This year, reading may in fact be the best thing that they’ve ever done. This book has a

whole lot of very practical work in terms of helping you with classroom management and getting your

methods going: getting the kids assessed, getting all of them going on their trajectory as readers, and then it

also does this inspirational work.

Unit of Study Book 2

The next unit of study book is a book on character. And of course character is one of the most important

things for a reader of a fiction text to be thinking about. All of us when we read fiction are thinking about

character. So it’s a book on character, but, for you as a teacher, what you know is that you’re really

following character into higher level comprehension. That’s really what this second book is about.

Specifically, you’ll see that it helps you to teach three different main reading skills. First of all, it helps you

to teach envisionment, and as sort of an extension of envisionment, prediction. What I have come to believe

is that so often we think that some kids are born as readers. Those are the kids that are sort of nose-in-the-

book readers and you can’t take them away from books. As teachers, we sometimes think that that’s in their

DNA or something, that they just come to us that way. What this book sets out to do is to help you as a

teacher challenge that notion, that some kids are born readers and some aren’t, so that you can do

everything you possibly can to help all of your readers be nose-in-the-book readers, who read, envisioning

and on the edge of their seat predicting. The other thing that it does is take envisionment and prediction and

talk about these as skills that unroll across a trajectory. There are ways of being a novice predictor, an

intermediate predictor, and an advanced predictor. You’ll see prediction and envisionment concretely laid

out so that you have a sense of what are the real specifics that you can be teaching to move kids from where

they are to where you want to take them. So the first half of the character book begins with teaching

envisionment and prediction. And then the book makes a real turn and tackles, instead of nose-in-the-book

reading, kind of lost-in-the-story reading; it aims to help readers grow theories as they read. You could

almost say that the second half teaches how to read a little bit like a professor with literary theories that you

can support with evidence. It’s helpful to think about that as teaching readers to have a different kind of

relationship to characters. So in the first half of the book, they almost are the characters. In the second half,

it’s a more expository relationship to characters where they’re looking at characters and thinking, “What

kind of person is this? What are the character’s traits? What are my theories for the character? What is my

evidence for those theories?” All of that work is supported in the second book.

Unit of Study Book 3

The third unit is a book on navigating nonfiction. It’s hard to choose a favorite book, like it’s hard to

choose a favorite son, but at least at this moment, it may be my favorite because I think it does such

important work on the entire field of thinking about nonfiction reading. Essentially, what Kathleen and I try

to do in this book is to help readers read nonfiction. I argue that a lot of times our instruction in nonfiction

has helped readers generate some questions and shown them how to open up a nonfiction book so that they

can skim and scan it to find answers to questions. Although I think that kind of nonfiction reading is really

important, we also need to teach kids to read nonfiction; to give themselves over to a nonfiction text and to

comprehend it. To take in what a nonfiction author has said in its entirety, not just finding cool facts.

Instead of, “When the Egyptians built the pyramids they didn’t wear underwear. Isn’t that cool?”,  we want

them to comprehend the main ideas that an author’s putting forth. So the book on nonfiction forwards the

role of structure and suggests that when we’re reading nonfiction texts that are organized as expository

texts, we need to be able to use the expository structure to help us to find big ideas, to find the specifics that

support big ideas. And that when we’re reading narrative nonfiction, or nonfiction that’s written like a

story, as for example biography is, that we can actually bring all that we know from reading stories, to bear

on reading that kind of nonfiction. We can read it in a way where we synthesize the whole text by bringing

that structure to bear on it.

Unit of Study Book 4

Then the fourth book, the last of the units of study books, is a book on reading historic fiction and doing so

in book clubs. The kids will think of it as a book on reading historic fiction, and you will as well, but the

real work of this book is that it’s teaching you to help kids tackle more complex texts and to read with

higher level comprehension. In fact, the main skill work in this last book in the series is that of teaching

interpretation and critical reading. And with it, teaching kids to write about their reading. So the historic

fiction book has a lot of work to do, because it’s teaching kids to tackle more complex texts, to read with a

more literary consciousness. To take their skills and ratchet them up even higher, to specifically read,

thinking, “What is this text really about?”, to try to figure out what the theme is in a text, and to be able to

talk and write about that in ways that are powerful and compelling. All of this is done while the kids are

working not with partners, which is the social structure that supports the first three books, but instead in

book clubs, where four kids are reading shared books. And, of course, the nonfiction book has added power

because it helps students think about nonfiction in relation to historic fiction. So that kids are also learning

that you not only read a couple historic fiction books that are set in a particular era, and think across and

among those books, but also bring in nonfiction texts that relate to those books. The other work of this unit

is helping with this intertextuality, looking across books including both fiction and nonfiction texts. Those

are the main elements in the units of study series.

Resources for Teaching Reading CD-ROM

Those of you who know the CD-ROM full of resource materials in writing won’t be surprised that there’s

resource materials in reading as well. But this time we really felt, because of having listened to teachers and

their requests, that we needed to provide extra resources.

Alternative Units of Study

So we’ve got a whole other book which is designed to help teachers tailor their teaching to kids. This book

supports teachers in developing alternate units of study. It lays out in a slightly more abbreviated form, but

still with all the minilessons there, four or five other units and then in yet more abbreviated form, another

half dozen units. This final book is one that helps you not just have minilessons that you can draw on as

you author your own curriculum, but also whole units of study that you can draw on as you author

curriculum in response to your kids and in conversation with your colleagues.

 

School Visit–Reading & Writing Workshop November 6, 2009

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Unit of Study Fiction Writing Grades 3-5 October 27, 2009

Here are my notes from my first session at TCRWP Reunion Weekend. The presenter was a dynamo!

Writing- Short Fiction

Quick Look at Writing Process:

  • Generating (3-4 days)
  • Choosing (1 day)
  • Developing (5-6 days)
  • Drafting (1-2 days)
  • Revising (3 days)
  • Editing (2 days)
  • Publishing (1 day)

 

Generating (3 days; 4 if not enough blurbs to choose from Writing Story Blurbs-what the story could be about (do for 3-4 days)

  • Chart: Writers Generate Ideas By:
    • Paying attention to the issues (problems) in their lives –don’t let them pick too big of an idea
    • Imaging stories we wish existed in the world
    • Rereading their narrative entries in their writers notebooks and asking themselves, “How could I turn this into a different story?”
      • be very focused-specific-don’t pick whole story (example-playground)
        • 3rd grade-friendship-what happens at recess, can relate to through many times
        • Stories should match their age!!

3-4 days of Story Blurb Writing-We are filling up our notebooks!

Don’t worry about spelling and grammar at this point

Immediately draw a line and have 10-12 pieces (story blurbs) to choose from

  • Story Blurb examples:
  • Maybe I could write about these two girls competing…
  • Maybe I could write about a boy who goes to summer camp…
  • I wish I could read a story about a boy named Josh…

Writers, you are always saying there are no good stories to read in the library and…

  • Somebody…Wanted…But…So

          Pushes them to develop problem

Somebody Wanted (Feared, cared) Because But/so
Jade Cared about her dog Scruffy Because Scruffy was very special to her Her dog ran away and didn’t come back
Bill Wanted to find out why his mom was going out at night Because his mom had just gotten divorced He followed her and found out she was dating

Pick one from chart and stretch out into a story blurb

Mentor Text-Those Shoes

          Not “perfect” ending

          Not she wanted a dog so her mom bought her a dog

  • Choosing (1 day to select)
  • Developing/Nurturing/Rehearsal-need to spend more time on this so 1 day on story mountains or timelines 
  • Drafting
  • Revising
    • Dictionary definition-
      • to prepare a newly edited version (of a text)
      • to reconsider and change or modify-put on a different set of lenses
      • Editing
      • Publishing (1 day)
Possible Teaching Points for Generating with some Predictable problems and strategies

  • Trouble Coming Up with a Story Idea
  • Story Doesn’t Match the Genre
  • Students writing stories about themselves
  • Students Do Not Understand the Problem Arc

 

  • Trouble Coming Up with a Story Idea

                    Bring in mentor texts—that you could take and change-example Those Shoes

                   If you were reading this book what would you say about it? Is it interesting. Would you tell me what isn’t interesting. Let’s make something happen! Make idea stronger and working with it.

  • Story Doesn’t Match the Genre (flying, ghosts-we will do fantasy later in the year)
    • Ask Yourself, “Can it happen to you?” no superhero magic endings
  • Students writing stories about themselves

          How Can we tweak this?
                   Maybe different problem

                   Never say, “bad idea”-say “great idea-Let’s try tweaking it.”

  • Students Do Not Understand the problem arc-they solve the story immediately
Possible Teaching Points for Developing with some Predictable problems and strategies

  • Choosing a story they think is strong enough, one they want to work on and one they think they can write well
    • Which one do you want to work on and which one do you think they can write really well.
    • Writers can develop their internal and external traits and not holding on to the problem in the story—

 

  • Choosing a story they think is strong enough, one they want to work on and one they think they can write well
    • Which one do you want to work on and which one do you think they can write really well.
    • Writers can develop their internal and external traits and not holding on to the problem in the story—
Struggle Problem Internal (limit the #) External
He wants to be popular so he lies and says he cheated when he didn’t Bob has let his friend cheat from his test. He gets caught because teacher thinks
  • Usually honest
  • Good student
  • Smart
  • lonely
medium heightbrown hair

only child

freckles

  • Think about problem first
  • Shy girl problem-wouldn’t be super friendly and loud
  • 3rd Grade-booklets
    • Storytelling using story booklets-touch page and say aloud-do at least twice each
  • 4th/5th Grade
    • Creating story mountains with small actions
    • Breaking down their story mountains into smaller scenes by thinking about:
      •  change of setting
      • change of time
      • when new characters enter or leave the scene

Sketching our scene

  • Use a sentence strip
    • Rules: have to show time of day by including a clock or night/day
  • Bigger scenes-more happens
  • Smaller scenes-make boxes reflect that
  • Notebooks away-no looking during sketching the story
           
1 2 3 4 5 6

Story Mountain example- Illustrate how to put—Boxes around scene

On Choosing Day:

  • have them bring notebook and put a little star next to which one they think is strong enough
  • thumbs-up when you have your idea
  • give post-it note to thumbs-up and quickly see/assess ideas
  • 10-20 minutes on rug to choose
  • Let strugglers take notebook home the night before to pre-pick
Predictable Problems During Choosing/Developing

  • 1 dimensional characters
  • Story doesn’t have a clear plot
  • Struggling with creating a scene
  • The solution is without struggle
  • There is no tension building up

 

  • 1 dimensional characters
    • Really evil or really nice
  • Story doesn’t have a clear plot (story doesn’t make sense)
    • Bring them back to Somebody, wanted, but, so
  • Struggling with creating a scene (what could happen before she got what she wanted)
  • The solution is without struggle
  • There is no tension building up
    • Teach how to slow scene down
      • Add: show don’t tell
        • Show internal thinking
        • Add action or dialogue

ALL BEFORE DRAFTING!!!

What does drafting look like:

          Big scene-full sheet of paper

          Small scene-half sheet of paper

 

It’s Hard Keeping Up… September 24, 2009

I don’t know why I am finding it more difficult to keep up with my blog lately. I guess it’s that school is at a full, rolling boil! I haven’t had much time to read either. I actually think it might be related to the ages (and phases) my children are currently.

Even though I haven’t been blogging about it, lots of good things continue to happen. The good news is:

I have gotten to experience and fall in love with so many different groups of students this fall as they get started with writing workshop.

I had a great PD day with a grade level that I didn’t have much of an opportunity to work with last year. The dedication to kids and learning in my colleagues is always so inspiring.

I was able to talk a small group of teachers into spending their own money to travel to the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project’s Fall Reunion . You can’t beat Katherine Patterson and Lucy Calkins in one venue! Legal teacher crack!

 

Narrative Writing-Launching the Writing Workshop grades 3, 4, 5 August 19, 2009

Filed under: TCRWP,units of study,writing workshop — bestbookihavenotread @ 10:36 pm
Tags: , , ,

August & September  [Black # = Mini-lesson)

Materials=Units of Study for Teaching Writng grades 3-5; Book1-Launching the Writing Workshop = Launching; Book 2-Raising the Quality of Narrative Writing=Raising

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

On-demand Writing Piece (see prompt directions) 1 Mini-Lesson Starting the Writing Workshop-(session I Launching) 2

Mini-Lesson Generating More Writing- (session I or II, Launching)

3 Mini-Lesson Qualities of Good Writing-focus, detail, and structure (session III, Launching) 4; Mini-Lesson Nurturing/Rehearsing- The Writer’s Job in a Conference (session IV, Launching)

7 Mini-Lesson

Buidling Stories-Step by Step (session V, Launching)

8 Mini-Lesson –Choosing a Seed Idea (session VI, Launching) 9; Mini-Lesson-revising-

Studying and Creating Leads (session VII, Raising the Quality of Narrative Writing)

10; Mini-Lesson Writing Discovery Drafts (session VIII, Launching 11 ; Mini-Lesson Revising Developing the Heart of the Story (session XV, Launching)
14 Mini-Lesson

Revising Endings: Learning from Published Writing (session IX, Launching)

15 Mini-Lesson Taking Charge of Our Writing-Starting a Second Piece (session X, Launching) 16 Mini-Lesson Timelines and Tools for Planning and Developing Stories (session XI and XII, Launching) 17 Mini-Lesson Yesterday’s Revisons Become Today’s Standard Practice (session IV, Raising) 18 Mini-Lesson Ending Stories (session XII, Raising)
21 Mini-Lesson Using Editing Checklists (session XVI, Launching)

 

Motivating Middle School Writers from Kate Roberts August 16, 2009

Filed under: middle school,TCRWP,writing workshop — bestbookihavenotread @ 8:40 am
Tags: , , , ,

Motivating Middle School Writers

Kate Roberts presenter  8/11/09 (Notes from Megan-a colleague who teaches 6-8 in a Middle School in The Bahamas)

There are three things needed:

  1. To demonstrate motivation
  2. To create a community of writing
  3. A genuine response

We want our students to practice 18th century literacy in the 00’s.

There are some ways we hold them back…

-       By giving the same prompts all students

  • Ex. “Write about a time you were scared” vs. “Write about a time you felt big emotions”

-       By giving too many directions or teaching too many points at once

-       By not taking their work seriously

Ways to Create an Audience

-       Have them check in with their partner about regular HW assignments

-       Share with each other everyday

-       Try out different partners (a speed-dating approach to finding a buddy)

-       Don’t wait for celebration

-       Use student work as your demonstration text

-       Quick publish

  • Even before the end of a unit, say “Find your best piece, let’s publish it. Get it on looseleaf for tomorrow.”

-       Publish dramatically across the school

Accountability and Rigor

-       Set high goals for volume

  • At the beginning of the year, do a stamina assessment. Have them write for ten minutes and keep that page to show them how much (or how little) they could write.
  • Draw an X at the bottom of the page. Tell them to write to the X

-       Teach elaboration

  • Give them a list of phrases like “I think, for example, this is important because”
  • Have them orally tell a story and have the partners throw out a phrase when they are struggling
 

 
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