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Transcript of Writing
Learning to Write integrating writing throughout the ecisd k-5 curriculum The desire to write is as natural as the desire to talk. Young children want to write and enthusiastically embrace any opportunity provided for writing. Yet, far too many students are convinced that they can't write by the time they reach the upper elementary grades. So what happened?
Why has the natural propensity to write in young children turned into a task as dreaded as eating liver? Writing is a way to communicate.
It distinguishes itself from all other forms of communication because it is the only form of communication that allows us to chronicle life on earth. Through writing, each generation can leave a bit of itself behind for future generations to discover. Ever since man first stood upright, human beings have had the innate desire to tell their story. Along the way, we have become so focused on the mechanics of writing, that we forget to encourage the natural joy of telling a story. Are the mechanics of writing important to good story telling? A most emphatic YES! But spelling, grammar, and punctuation are used to bring clarity to the story. The story should never be secondary to the mechanics of writing. If all focus is on skills, then the joy of creativity is lost. In the writing process the primary focus is on the writer's purpose; story, opinion, information. Writing is published to be shared with an audience. Writing is revised to add details, bring color, and the writer's personality or perspective to a narrative, opinion, or informative piece. Writing is edited to enhance clarity and meaning. During the rough draft and revision stages, the teacher provides mini lessons that satisfy the TEKS; focusing on story features, colorful words, character development, etc. In the primary grades, this is often done through modeling examples of good writing, typically with picture books. Writers Workshop allows us to
differentiate instruction to meet individual needs. How does it work? Mini lessons and individual conferencing are aligned with the CScope K-5 ELA Vertical Alignment standards: Oral and Written Conventions. Changing our mindset is key to changing student attitudes about writing as they advance through the grades. Writing must occur across the curriculum and not be viewed upon as a separate subject. "Every time we incorporate a new idea, the pendulum swings the other way. So why should we bother?" "We barely have the time to do all that is required of us. How on earth are we supposed to fit all this writing into our already overloaded day?" "Writing is crucial to learning to read and thinking across every subject area." (Calkins, 2003).
It is essential that writing is given as much time as reading and math.
Recognize the opportunities in what you already do, and omit those things that add no real value to your students' growth. The road to creating writers hinges on 2 key concepts:
Successfully implementing the writing process starting in Kindergarten
Embracing writing across the curriculum. The Writing Process
What Does It Look Like in the Primary Grades? Brainstorming begins with a drawing. The picture inspires the story. This age group does not always know what they are going to write about until the picture has been drawn. In grades K-1 the focus in on "All About" stories where the child is describing the picture. (Calkins, 1986) Through questioning, the teacher helps the child clarify ideas during the individual conference. This would constitute the revision stage. The Teacher may also use later individual conferences for editing. Sharing stories with an audience is critical to the Writing Process:
boosts self confidence in young authors.
reinforces their love of writing.
reinforces reading skills as children will be looking at their own words correctly written.
reinforces oral communication and public speaking. Writing Across the Curriculum
The key is word walls, and journals, while the writing process (or structure) remains the same. Use word walls to
define your spaces
current events to second grade where writing becomes more fluent, stories shift from "all about" to narratives that look beyond the present, the ability to self criticize is awakened, moving from
K - 1
where writing is literal and in the moment, to third grade when students become self conscious, aware of their audience, purposeful, yet focused on mistakes, eager to write about personal events, yet, in a hurry to tell a story and move on, inexperienced in thoughtful reflection so revision is equated to correcting mistakes.
(Calkins, 1986) We take the leap... state mandated reading tests for
third graders: We end up with shopping list writing void of all personality and voice. Standardized testing should not take away from writing in the classroom.
Writing enhances reading comprehension as students learn the art of good story telling by experimenting with their own stories:
They gain insight of the author's purpose.
They learn about figurative language.
They understand character motivation and character traits.
They comprehend plot development and resolution.
They increase vocabulary knowledge with the desire to experiment with new words. Writing in Grades 2 - 3 What does it look like?
How does it change? The structure of the writing process remains the same. However, there are key developmental differences in how the students craft their pieces. Lucy Calkins (1986) points out: Heightened awareness of audience.
Increased anxiety in wanting to please.
Many start/stops - discards.
Teacher influence is critical.
Too many corrections, child gives up.
Students must be convinced what they have to say is worthwhile. The narrative takes center stage with students' increased understanding of story telling.
Longer stories exhibit sequence of events often filled with extraneous details.
Writing done in spurts. Revision (adding details) is experimental and often perceived as a means to a longer story vs. a better story. Dependence on a picture is no longer necessary to begin a story.
Students at this age depend on talking through their story, "rehearsing" what they are going to write. Our ability to teach our students the language of writers, and to impress upon them that what they have to say is worth saying, will increase their confidence as writers and make all the difference in their future academic success. We as teachers can either empower our students as writers, encouraging their honest views of their world, or disenfranchise them from their own ideas and creativity. We need to honor each of our student's writing as though it is gold. When we set such an example, they will embrace the act of writing. References
Calkins, Lucy M. (1986). The Art of Teaching Writing. Heinemann, Portsmouth, NH.
Calkins, Lucy M. (2003). The Nuts and Bolts of Teaching Writing. First Hand, Heinemann, Portsmouth, NH.
Graves, Donald (1983). Writing: Teachers and Children at Work. Heinemann, Portsmouth, NH.
Maehr, Jane (1991). Encouraging Young Children's Writing, Eric Digest. http://www.ericdigests.org/pre-9218/encouraging.htm When drawing and doodling are merely motor activities and not means to a story,
the conference is paramount.
Ask the child what he likes to do at home.
If he likes to ride his bike, then have him draw a wheel that shows others his love of bikes. Ask him what he sees when he rides. Perhaps he will add a sidewalk to his picture.....Slowly the student connects meaning with drawing. (Calkins, 2003 p.13) ECISD frameworks, which include shared reading, read aloud, letters and sound work, word wall, oral language, and writing for, with, and by children, are all a part of the writing process. How do we get our students interested in writing on a daily basis?
Modeling all the behaviors we want our students to accomplish for the first 2 months means a classroom that runs automatically for the next 7 months. Children learn through imitation. When we model writing by writing ourselves, our students look forward to imitating us.
When we talk about our writing to our students,
our students want to share their writing with us.
When we make changes to improve our writing, our students will look to see if they can make their writing better.
When we notice our mistakes and correct them,
our students will be more apt to notice their mistakes and fix them as well. Workshop Norms
Believe all is possible.
Be open and welcoming.
Speak and Listen with respect. (no side conversations)
Be here 100%.
Be willing to implement at least one new idea presented today in your classroom in the coming weeks. The Writing Process
keeps the joy of writing in the forefront without negating the importance of mechanics. Stages of the Writing Process
Publishing/Sharing Write and Share
What are some of the ideas from this presentation that you could implement in your classroom right away? Somewhere along the line we lost our way... 15 MINUTE BREAK THINK - PAIR - SHARE
What are ways you instill the joy of writing in your classroom? WELCOME
Please be sure that Oakcrest and Salado are represented at every table.
match the words to their definition. During the editing stage,
teachers focus mini lessons on spelling, grammar, and punctuation skills (once again fulfilling TEK requirements). The intent here is to make an already terrific story accessible to a larger audience, with the goal of making students want to edit. A generation ago the writing process was a part of the frameworks, but... Dominate content so much, that voice, meaning, and good story telling are lost. By the time our students reach the upper grades, they are petrified to put pencil to paper for fear of doing something wrong. Spelling, Grammar, and Punctuation MODELING Writing is not a "new" idea. Writing should be meaningful. Writing must be done more often. Students who are required to write throughout the day accept writing as a natural way to express their thinking. writing has taken a back seat to practice testing. writing is reduced to 15 - 20 minutes and taught as a formula (1st, 2nd, then, next, finally). story starters are provided - student writes the piece, sees nothing but corrections when the teacher returns it. Students who ask how many lines do they have to write? Students who repeatedly ask for spelling. Papers grey from constant erasure. Students incapable of working independently. Students who say they hate to write. Readers Workshop Picture Book/Fiction Read Alouds (2-12)
Teacher models the use of Post-its for making personal connections or writing out newly discovered vocabulary. Readers Workshop is modeled and the Reflection Guide broken down. Students write responses to literature in journals, using the reflection guide. Students are partnered up by ability and choose books to read and reflect upon through writing. Student Pairs/Teacher Conferencing takes place. Student Pairs share their reading with the class. Class takes time out for focus lesson. Math Numbers, patterns, geometry, spatial sense, measurement, classification, data collection - Students use manipulatives in a variety of ways to gain understanding of day’s objectives. Math within the Writers Workshop structure:
Whole class mini lesson.
Students explore concepts by experimenting with manipulatives, drawing pictures, using word walls and mathematical symbols, writing definitions.
Students write about their mathematical thinking; restating questions, writing out steps required for problem solving.
Teacher/student conferences become a formative assessment of student understanding.
Students share their mathematical thinking with other students.
Students write reflections about the day's math activities.
"Published" mathematical thinking can adorn classroom walls or become class books. Science &
Social Studies Within the Writers Workshop Framework: Mini focus lesson Students Experiment/Draw/Research/Write Teacher/student conferencing Refocus Lesson (some detail that may be missing) Students write conclusions, revise research Teacher/Student conference A curriculum that is centered around writing, helps students understand:
writing is a natural form of communication,
writing helps to clarify thinking, and
as writers, they have something important worth writing about and sharing with the rest of the world. Individual conferencing provides the biggest bang for our "teaching" buck. Students feel special during these one on one opportunities. It is paramount that editing is looked upon as its own unique stage and not the primary focus throughout the writing process. Students should be made to understand that math is another language with different symbols representing key ideas. Students take ownership of their learning by writing about their understanding. Students publish Whole class share Writing in 4th and 5th Grade How do we reconcile the writing process with the story prompts and limitations of the 4th grade STAAR test? What Does It Look Like? The process remains the same. The stages are internalized and automatic. The Intermediate student is far more sophisticated as a writer due to greater exposure to literature. At this age, Revision becomes the essential layer in the writing process. The story is much longer, often utilizing chapters. Students discover they are unable to write as fast as their brain can think so the initial draft is merely a frame for the final story. Students draft. read, share, revise, draft, read, share, revise until they get it right. Approval and advice from friends is extremely important to the Intermediate student during the revision process. Even the most reluctant writer will revise with encouragement from friends. Increased Awareness of Good Writing
Writing becomes flexible
Fluent Children who have been encouraged to write since kindergarten, have confidence in their ability to write, have been encouraged to experiment and take risks, believe that what they have to say is worth saying, and have always used writing as a medium for their thinking.... ...should have no problem with a STAAR story prompt. However, revision is a learned skill and begins with encouragement from us... Students who have been actively engaged as writers throughout their school careers, will be able to take a standardized writing test in stride, and execute their writing ability with confidence. To 4th and 5th grade where sustained writing occurs, enhanced by greater attention to detail.
Students experiment with figurative language, plot development, climax/resolution, character development.
This attention to detail is also displayed in opinion and informational writing. Writing is how we think. Writing is how we talk. Writing is how we synthesize information in our fast paced information age. How does it fit into CScope? CScope fits into the writers workshop model. If the teacher sees the same problem among several children, then a mini lesson may be required. It is important that the teacher distances this part of the writing process from the revision stage. K-1: Students are told that recording the story with standard spelling under invented spelling allows a larger audience to appreciate their terrific story. This is not to be confused with giving spelling which undermines a child's ability to become independent writers. (Calkins, 1986).