#SOL18: March 30

Targeted Writing Instruction to Close the Gap

Checking back in with N before the month ends. ( The story began Here, here and here)

Our Plan:

Week 2

Scaffolded Checklist Paper – Narrative Story Writing (below)  – Repeat 5 days

Week 3

Write Using “Regular” Writing Paper

Remember that the first few days had some focused one:one time that was productive and volume seemed to fly so I was concerned that without that one:one we would see the volume of writing decrease.  It did go down some but not nearly as drastically as we had one teacher and one “me” short video designed specifically for him.  Drastic, yes in terms of some time to create a video by each of us! Helpful that it did not take away from any class time with other students. But remember our ambitious goal – hit 3rd grade targets by the end of the year.

Week 2

N wrote 2 stories on the Narrative Paper with the checklists.  He met the targets on the checklists and it really helped that he was a part of the checklist creation.  He not only knew what it said.  He knew what each item meant.  He fancied one up and published it.  We used cut-up labels to fix some of the spelling words, added in some neon revising strips, and a front cover and a back cover.

He was Jazzed!  Normally fairly shy and reticent in many literacy activities, he read that book to EVERYONE that came into the room.  We recorded it on SeeSaw!

Weekly Goal met! (Support from classroom teacher in person, via video, and me also via video)

Week 3

N identified two goals for himself this week.  He did want to use regular paper (but he wanted the ones with checklists on his desk so he could look at them) and he wanted a writing partner in class. (I was toast and so VERY happy to not be a “required” part!)

He named two possible partners and one was available and willing.  During the week they planned, wrote and worked together. Two teacher conferences.  Two pieces written by the end of the week.  Both had evidence of revision and editing.  Solid meeting of the third grade checklist items.

Weekly Goal met!

Socially:  New friends courtesy of his writing partner. New activities at recess courtesy of changing weather.  Almost a “swagger” when walking in the hall.  Whole new confidence . . . across the entire day!

We don’t have a post on-demand score YET.

Our plan took time to develop. Because he was a part of the classwork he had all the behaviors in the first column.  We tried shared writing.  We added in partner writing with his choice of a partner.  We used the last two items on the volume column and reduced the items on the checklist to close the gap.  We’ll be able to evaluate our plan soon.  We did not “throw everything but the kitchen sink into this plan.”  Reasonable. Repeatable. Sustainable. Doable.  But now we do have some ideas and a framework; if and when the situation arises again.

Screenshot 2018-03-10 at 7.37.56 PM

How valuable is planning?

In this instance it’s not about THE plan, but it is about the conversations as we developed the plan. 

We named a variety of possibilities.

We identified some choices for the teacher and student! 

A win/win!

Remember that this student wanted to write as badly as we wanted to support his writing.  There are no guarantees that this will work for the next student, but we have identified a process, as well as a way to develop and organize some possibilities.  And we maximized our work by adding in some quick video responses without assigning the classroom teacher to be at his beck and call.

We believe the single most important factor: 

Planning to remove the scaffolds before we began.




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this daily forum each March. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.                                                                                                      slice of life 2016

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5 responses

  1. So many important take always here! First and foremost, planning about how to take away the scaffolds before we put them in place. I was so intrigued by the paper. Paper is so important. I had never thought of dividing the paper to sections and putting those little checklist right in there. Also, your chart was so useful to the coach and teacher. Thanks so much.

    1. Still hunting for the link to Melanie’s post. So many brilliant ideas there! The chart was a way to organize and make multiple goals visible all at once. Must multi-purpose our work to keep the focus on moving forward! ❤

  2. Clare Landrigan | Reply

    It reminds me of the timeline with planning boxes from the Calkins first edition writing units – easy for kids to do themselves eventually. I too appreciate planning to remove scaffolds – that is something often missed so kids never learn how to devise their own plans. Thank you for sharing – so helpful to see it laid and explained step by step.

    1. Clare,
      The paper idea was totally Melanie Meehan. She has several versions. I just looked for the link to her post but I didn’t find it. Something so simple as separating out beginning middle and end so there is room to revise and or cut apart and insert . . . not so tough, but just capturing the idea. And yes, similar to the planning boxes.

  3. So many key aspects here that led to success. Although it took time to prepare personalized videos for N it made him feel he was not abandoned and alone. Having N help create the checklist and goals for himself gave him ownership. He knew they were things within his capability.

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