Jack Gantos was the featured keynote today during the TCRWP June 2016 Writing Institute. And he ended with
“See the stories and be the person who can write the story.
If they can write them, YOU can write them, too!!!
What a challenge!
If they (the students in your classrooms / your buildings) can write them,
YOU (all the adults in the auditorium – teachers, coaches, administrators) can write them (the stories), too!!!
Do you write?
Do you write on a regular basis?
The questions above were designed intentionally for you to think about your writerly life. How do your students know that you are a writer? Do you demonstrate your own writing? Do you use your own writing in your explanations? How do you “DO” these focused rewrites as Jack Gantos named them? How do you teach them?
The Writer’s Journal: Content, Structure, Rewrites = Success
- Elements from picture books are the SAME elements you find in short stories and that you will also use in setting up your writing journal so you can’t say, “Nothing interesting happens to you!” JG
- Your job when you sit down to write is to press the go button; you want to get words on the paper! JG
- Jack’s writing process: 2 hours 1st draft writing; 2 hours 2nd draft writing and then candy = 2 hours of reading! Another 2 hours of work after the scheduled reading. JG
- Don’t wait to read until the end of the day when you are too tired to remember what you read!
- If stop at physical ending, you will miss the emotional ending – what connects to the reader . . .JG
What Methods Do We Use with Mentor Texts?
Today, I heard Celena, Colleen, and Emily all talk the same language/consistent message about the instructional methods used with mentor texts depending on the purpose/needs of your students.
Demonstration Writing – How to do it step by step
- Has voice over of “how to do it”
- Might begin with a frame
- Shared writing
- Zero shame in using demonstration writing from the Units of Study IF it fits!
- Be aware that not all pieces work as well as others!
Explanation / Example
- Here’s the text and the explanation
- Example of how to take mentor text and put it into action
- Not step by step
Inquiry (Colleen Cruz details)
- Powerful in terms of agency and independence
- Learning theory – What student discover on own sticks more!
- Not everything is best taught with inquiry
- Sometimes there is content you need to know
- “Putting your hand in hot oven will burn it – don’t need to learn from inquiry
- That would be irresponsible
- No way to discover strategies – kids will not find boxes and bullets on their own
- Don’t use inquiry if only ONE right answer = allow differences!!
- 3 favorite things to teach during Inquiry
- Inquiry is good for ALL kids!
- Develop task cards
- Combine inquiry with structure/small groups
- Include discussion as rehearsal
Takeaways for Methods of Instruction:
- There is no one method of instruction that works ALL the time for all students!
- Match your Method of Instruction with the needs of your students.
- Check your methods for when you PLANFULLY teach/provide for “transfer work”.
- Consider when students are able to “Do the work themselves”.
- Always consider: “Would the students be better off writing?” Is “THIS” teacher talk time really more important than student writing time?
How do we demonstrate process with mentor texts?
I also heard Celena, Collen, and Emily talk about both the need for as well as how to demonstrate process with mentor texts. This seems easiest with teacher or student texts. But you can also go to Melissa Stewart’s website for a behind the scenes look at the process involved in writing No Monkeys, No Chocolate here. That book was not written overnight!
In Celena’s session today, we actually worked on making our own process mentor texts with a plan for writing, first draft, first draft with some revisions, and draft fancied up!
Takeaways for demonstrating process:
- Physical revision (flaps, post-its, cross-outs, different colored ink) clearly shows that revision has occurred.
- Having “process” pieces that literally show the progression of work is helpful for revision conferences.
- Process pieces that show revision – at all stages of the writing process – keep the focus on continual rereading and revision.
- You need clear expectations for student writing – for yourself as the teacher and also for your students.
- You need a vision for your student writing.
What do you see as emerging themes for the week?
What have you learned this week?
(Internet difficulties again interfered with pictures and the structure of this piece!)
For further reading, writing, response, or reflection: