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From Nancie Atwell's In the Middle

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Dale Cameron DesMeules

on 31 March 2011

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Transcript of From Nancie Atwell's In the Middle

A Writing/Reading
Workshop
Helpful Strategies from
Nancie Atwell's
In the Middle Provide at least
3 writing
sessions a week. "Without at least three writing workshops
a week (preferably four or five), it will be hard for kids to conceive topics, sustain projects of their own, and behave as writers" (91). Students need to write a lot. "They should understand
the importance of working from
quantity, of producing a lot of writing
and seeing where it takes them..." (111). "Regular, frequent time for writing" (91). "The first week sets the tone".
"I plan the first days in more detail than any other week in the school year" (118).
"And I'll try to give my kids a strong enough taste of the satisfactions of writing and literature that they leave on Friday believing that this class will be cool" (118). First Week: Plan activities to get
kids talking and listening
to each other. Read a poem together
each day of the first week. Read aloud.
"Hearing literature brings it to life and fills
the classroom with an author's language" (144). Expectations
for Writing (111): "Find topics for your writing that matter to you, to your life, to who you are and who you want to become."
Keep a list of your writing territories as a writer: topics, purposes, audiences, genres, forms, techniques." Produce at least three to five pages of rough draft every week and at least two pieces of writing to completion every six weeks. Attempt professional publication. "Get into the habit of beginning each workshop by reading what you've already written. Establish where you are in the piece and pick up the momentum." "Understand that writing is thinking." Expectations
for Reading: "You must read
a book. Magazines, newspapers, and comics don't have the chunks of text you need
to develop fluency, and they won't help you discover who you are as a reader of literature" (116). "It's all right to reread a book.
It's what readers do" (116). "Read as much as you can,
as joyfully as you can" (116). The first day-the first weeks-are for training. Minilessons:
Where do they come from? "I'm reluctant to illustrate discussions of ineffective writing...Instead I highlight the good writing-interesting and effective choices, breakthroughs, changes, risks..." (152). "Most often from my analysis of what students need to know next, based on what's happening in their writing and reading,..." (151).
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