For a lovely recap of the June 2015 TCRWP Writing Institute, please read Tara Smith’s post here because she explains why the images and tweets matter. That intentionality grounded in the question “WHY?” has been a theme reiterated through all the sections, closing workshops and keynotes this week at Teachers College. In other words, if you don’t know “why” you are doing this or “why” you are asking the students to do “x” in workshop, you may need to consider the need for additional reading and / or writing on your own part.
Another source of information about the writing institute is always to follow @TCRWP and #TCRWP. You can review the thread for additional charts, photos, and tweets that share out learning from all the masters at TCRWP.
WHAT a week!
We began the week with wise words from Lucy Calkins at Riverside Church and we ended with a celebration that included both wisdom and humor from Sarah Weeks, powerful reading of personal writing from our peers, and closing comments again from Lucy Calkins. As educators, we must continue to be the voice for and of our students. We must also be the readers and writers that we expect our students to be. We must also be the public vision for literacy.
It will NOT be easy.
But when has life or teaching been about taking the “easy” route?
Celena Larkey – Toolkit for Narrative Writing K-2
Possible statements for a checklist for Fairy Tales:
- I tried to bring my character to life by using names, details, talking, actions, and inner thinking.
- I used show not tell to add details.
- I gave my character a quest or adventure.
- i gave my character a problem to solve or overcome.
- i used elements of magic in my story.
- I chose strong words that would help the reader picture my sotry.
- I have elements of three in my story.
And then we worked with Exemplar Texts. We created our own for our toolkit and we talked about the perameters of student Exemplar texts that may not be error-free but would also be great additions to our toolkit.
Kindergarten: 3-4 page story with 3-4 lines of print on each page.
First Grade: 5-6 page story with 8-10 lines of print on each page.
Second Grade: 5-6 page story with 10-12 lines of print on each page.
Which takes me full circle back to questions from Monday:
Are our students writing enough? What does the daily writing volume look like?
Shana Frazin – Using the Best, New Children’s Literature as Mentor Texts: Support Sky High Writing (3-8)
I continue to go back to this picture.
Many folks are adept at small group work and already understand the connection, teach, coach, and link process. But if one returns to the title, the word “ARCHITECTURE” is a deliberate choice. We, in Iowa, love it as we are most known, movie-wise, for “Build it and they will come” in reference to “Field of Dreams”. But architecture conveys that deliberate, planned work that sustains and even lifts up students so they can do the neccessary work. I love that this framework does not say the number of minutes that should be spent; yet I fear the number of minutes spent in group work is not the best use of time for students.
Any ten minutes of group work could be ruled productive if students leave writing or better yet, have even already begun the writing demonstrated in the group work. Group work is not all about the teacher talking during the entire session either. Group work is not about the scheculed 30 minutes time on the lesson plan.
Why does it matter?
The time that a teacher uses for “talking” takes away from student writing time.
The time that a teacher uses for “management” takes aways from student writing time.
The time that a teacher does not use for “writing” takes away from student writing time.
Small group time could be a waste of time if it does not lead to additional writing volume by the students.
Students will not achieve “sky-high” writing without writing TONS!
I believe that “writerly” teachers know and understand this. I believe that “writerly’ teachers need to continue to model the many iterations that could show how group work is a short, focused work time for students!