#DigiLitSunday: Craft

Check out the links to other DigiLit Sunday posts at Margaret Simon’s blog here.

Craft:  What is it?

A woodworker has many tools that may range from hand tools like chisels. planes and mallets to power tools like saws, drills, and presses that can aid the process of turning out finely crafted projects.

Is the craft in the “Doing” or is the craft in the “Final Product”?

In writing there are many sources of craft.  Some of my favorites are:

art of writing calkins.jpg

Lucy Calkins,

Ralph Fletcher,

Lester Laminack, and

craft-moves

Stacey Shubitz to name just a few.

So many sources of craft information exist. Do I need craft information along the way as I draft or do I need the information as I revise and improve the clarity, anticipate a reader’s questions, and add additional information to make the work more interesting?  I believe that writers need both skills. The more that a writer knows and anticipates in the drafting process, perhaps the revision will become less burdensome.

What is a teacher to do?  Where should the teacher begin?

Many strategies and craft moves can be and are taught, but at some point the choices used by writers will come down to the individual authors.  Strategic use of those moves needs to fit within the piece of writing that the author has undertaken.  A wide repertoire of moves that fit into a grade level range of writing will come from mentor texts.  Those mentor texts are often published texts, teacher written texts or student written texts.  What a student will use will depend on the applicability to this piece.  Teaching students to “self-assess” and even to “self-reflect” on their use of craft will be important.  That’s one of the  reasons why I believe these items in a fifth grade opinion writing checklist that students can use are absolutely critical!

Development . Elaboration and Craft.jpg

Writers make many decisions as they draft and revise about their own writing.  Tools with visible examples that students can use when talking about their writing or matching to a checklist or a rubric will put the power of writing choices in the hands of students.

Have you equipped your students to be able to make their own decisions about writing craft?  What low-tech and digital tools have been helpful?

How do you make decisions about your own craft moves in your writing?

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4 responses

  1. Many experts in the field of craft. Makes me realize it’s pretty important. Thanks for joining in the discussion today.

    1. Margaret,
      Those were just the first few that came to mind . . . and on my current stacks at home. Craft is huge. I think it’s the part of writing that truly provides “agency” for our young writers! ❤

  2. Figuring out our thoughts is a big deal. But figuring out how to deliver our thoughts so that others understand is craft. That’s the crux of writing and it’s so personal. Having tools to show us the way help. We can stand next to them, and think, did I do that? That’s a huge help. It focuses our wandering thoughts and makes us look to see, am I saying what I think I mean? And ask, how can I do it better.

    1. Writing well involves so much thinking. First of all, what do I notice? What can I name? And then time for the yardstick or measuring? How well did I do it? How close is it to the mentor text? It’s very complicated!

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