#TCRWP: Summary and Day 5 Writing Institute 2015

summary

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.

In Summary:

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?

08 May 2001 --- Exploding head --- Image by © John Lund/CORBIS

08 May 2001 — Exploding head — Image by © John Lund/CORBIS

 Day 5

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 FrazinUsing the Best, New Children’s Literature as Mentor Texts:  Support Sky High Writing (3-8)

I continue to go back to this picture.

architecture of a small group

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!

After a week of narrative K-2 toolkits and 3-8 Mentor Texts for “Sky-High” Writing, what are your big Ahas?  And your continuing questions?

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11 responses

  1. Adrienne Screen | Reply

    I have loved your tweets and post this week. It has made me feel like I was a part of the learning. I have loved your notes about the mentor text. Could you share a list of the books you used as mentors this week?
    Thanks- Adrienne

    1. Adrienne,
      That’s going to be my Sunday post. Still working on getting the list and the links together. ❤

  2. First: There is so much to be learned by upper-grade teachers in the K-2 world. Elements of three, love it.
    Second: Small group architecture leads to mindful planning that makes room for lots of writing.
    Third: (gotta have a third) Big AHA — Adjust lessons to maximize volume, perhaps with very accessible strategies (K-2)

    I’m looking forward to next week’s posts on reading!
    Thanks for all your writing about teaching and learning.

    1. Julieanne,
      It’s been so much fun learning together for at least part of the day. I will miss our talk time next week!

  3. Ditto Adrienne’s comments. Your tweets & blog post have educated me, as well as many others! I looked forward to them each day – and now I’m excited about your next post. Thank you.

    1. Mary,
      You are welcome. Writing each day helps me sort through my thinking. At home I would have drive time to process. My one block walk does NOT satisfy that need here! ❤

  4. I was there and couldn’t have said it better! Thank you for sharing your thinking. It was wonderful to meet you in person. I appreciate you Fran!!!

    1. JoAnne,
      It was also great to meet you face to face! A TCRWP Institute is like no other PD in the world! Hard to describe the writerly way you feel as you learn along side and with some of the brightest minds in the world! I always appreciate hearing the brilliance that comes from SOOOO many staff developers at TC!

  5. […] 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 …  […]

  6. […] I have to highlight another of Fran’s Blog posts because it is just too good!  In it she talks about the importance of having SMART small […]

  7. […] 2015 #TCRWP Writing here, here, here, here, and here. […]

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