Stop 5: Every Child Can Write Blog Tour

This week you have been treated to a blog tour to introduce you to the big ideas in Melanie Meehan’s book, Every Child Can Write:  Access Points, Bridges and Pathways for Striving Writers.

 

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In case you have missed a post, here is the recap:

9/29: Clare and Melanie with a video overview  Link
9/30: Kathleen about Chapter 8  Focus on Spelling and Conventions Link
10/1: Paula about Environments, Management and Routines  Link 
10/2: Lynn about Chapter 6 Charts  Link
All of this is leading up to the chat tonight on #G2Great at 8:30 ET. (Tonight!)
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FYI:  I reviewed an advance prepublication copy of “Every Child Can Write.”




This book is based on two beliefs:

“1. All children can learn to write.

2. It is a fundamental imperative that we do everything in our power to teach
the students in our care how to express themselves through words and through
writing.” – Meehan, M. Every Child Can Write. xviii.

Sometimes I am known as a “book devourer”.  I pore over pages I love. I have conversations with the author as I read.  And I often do NOT read a book, cover to cover . . . as in beginning with Chapter 1 and ending with the last chapter.  I love to study a quality Table of Contents (and Melanie has the BEST ever). And the Introduction is superb.  Colleen Cruz set the need and the goals of this book beautifully and Melanie delivers with encouragement, a bit of fun, and an honestly engaging text that has you nodding your head. The ideas and issues are real. This is a book that I did read cover to cover the first time. And the second time. Now I’m going back to my post its and selectively rereading the “good parts”! (and it’s a sizeable chunk)

The book delivers many entry points, bridges and pathways for striving writers as promised, but it is also about entry points, bridges and pathways for teachers.  You will have many avenues to explore in this book.  The “Pause for PD” section in each chapter is specifically designed to make the book interactive . .  . to help you bring it to life.

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Chapter 9

Chapter 9 is truly a gift to teachers, coaches and PLC teams because it is ALL about problem solving. Melanie takes us all inside a third grade classroom, shares data, instructional planning, and both the questions and the thinking that guide the teachers’ writing instruction. Melanie is quick to point out that this is not a formula for success as you may not have that second person in your classroom. Remember that Melanie invited you to “tinker” with the ideas to make them work for you and your students. Instead this chapter is meant to reinforce all the learning in previous chapters and share a way that it “might go” in a classroom and how you in turn could use the learning to make sure every child is writing.

So how does this go? Writing is complex and there is no easy “one size” solution.

Keep in mind that this is just a brief summary of my perception of Chapter 9 where Melanie “shows” you how the information and tools in Chapters 1-8 can work together in order to help problem solve some very common writing problems that may exist in your classroom. (And some of the parts occur simultaneously and not in the abbreviated linear format that I have used for this summary!) These are five common writing concerns that teachers and I have had discussions about them past and present!

A. The teacher is concerned that several students just are not writing or are writing at a very minimal level. Note that this “concern” was bigger than numbers/scores!

  • Course of Action:  Check the environment. How does it look from the student view? Are their routines that will raise the level of student engagement?

B. What are the entry points for students? Is it content?  Where to begin?  How to prioritize?

  • Course of Action:  Increase writing volume through several entry points including reteaching routines and setting up clear expectations.

C. What are the bridges to increase student independence?  How does the teacher ensure students are doing the work?

  • Course of Action:  Collect additional data on HOW students spend their writing time (engagement data).  The teachers determine some very specific skills that with short term scaffolds would move the students forward.  Those bridges help students  grow their skills with shared writing and gradual release of responsibility to decrease teacher dependence.

D. What pathways will help students be more productive? How does the teacher encourage efficiency and effectiveness?

  • Course of action:  Explore specific paper and writing formats for planning to meet individual student needs. The teachers also look at a variety of ways to have students use charts including access on a bulletin board where students were expected to be responsible for getting mini-charts as needed, to use them, and then to return them to their place as originally presented in Lynne’s blog post yesterday. (Aha – not just gluing into a notebook very passively and then never being able to find the chart again!) And then also think about a way to encourage conventions (see Chapter 8 and Kathleen’s post) without stifling the production of ideas!

E. How does a teacher collect volume and engagement data as additional routes to provide enough practice for students to increase their skills and their own confidence and competence?

  • Course of action: Change the color of Flair pens so the teacher can check writing volume each day. Develop individual plans for writing as necessary. Develop and/or strengthen writing partnerships. Focus on writing conferences that lead to a higher self-efficacy when using writing tools.

In Melanie’s example of a third grade case study where students were not performing at the level that the teacher expected, this plan was implemented for four weeks with a second teacher available to teach and coach three to four times a week. The results: the total number of students who were proficient in all district required traits of focus, organization, elaboration, fluency, voice, and conventions increased.

You will have to check out the data in the chapter to see exactly HOW MUCH and WHERE the greatest increases were.  The data is solid. But beyond that, students began to view themselves as writers and were more willing to assume risks because they felt more confident and competent. (risk-takers!) In turn, they became more independent and successful in their writing. And based on student work, the teacher also incorporated some of the changes from the four weeks into the next unit BEFORE it even began! Win/Win, all around for students and teachers!

What do you need to study? 

How could this case study inform your own study? 

Where would you start?

Don’t forget the chat tonight with #G2Great at 8:30 ET and 7:30 CT!




Book Give Away

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This giveaway is for a copy of Every Child Can Write by Melanie Meehan. Thanks to Corwin Press for donating a copy for one reader. For a chance to win this copy of Every Child Can Write, please leave a comment before midnight on Sunday, October 6, 2019.
I will use a random number generator to pick the winner’s commenter number. Please leave a valid email address when you post your comment. From there, our Corwin contact  will ship the book to you. (NOTE: Your email address will not be published online if you leave it in the email field only.)
If you are the winner of the book, I will email you with the subject line of EVERY CHILD CAN WRITE after the deadline has passed (and I check to see who wins from the other four posts). A new winner will be chosen if a response isn’t received within five days of the giveaway announcement.

Go back up to the links at the top if you haven’t commented.  Each blog will be giving away one free copy of Every Child Can Write.  That could be YOU winning one of the five free books!!!




#G2Great Wakelet – Link

Literacy Lenses Blog Post – Link

23 responses

  1. It sounds like this text had such clear ideas to implement and direction for teachers to embrace that will help all of our students succeed!

    1. Yes, so many ways for any teacher to consider how their environment, instruction, and resources are helping students be more independent!

  2. Love how you have organized this post! I am completely intrigued with this book – especially some of the data about changes made in classrooms to ensure student success.

    1. Carrie,
      Melanie has several different ways of collecting data! It is a wonderfu book for thoughtful refle tion!

  3. Such a great blog tour for what I can tell is going to be a great book for all of us to have in our libraries. I can’t wait to read. I love the reminder to look towards the things we teachers can tweak when things are not going as expected.

    1. Lisa,
      Melanie’s focus is always on the students, their learning and their independence. Such a great book that is easy to read and apply but also easy to linger with . . . The best kind of book!

  4. I am so excited about this book. I hope I can get a copy soon. Melanie has wonderful methods for getting over the humps of writing instruction. Thanks for this great post. Makes me want to dig in!

    1. Thanks, Margaret. I do believe this is a book that writerly teachers will heartily embrace because they will be nudged to think just a bit differently about their practices! I have reclaimed some old twists with new language and nuances.

  5. I am a first year teacher and would love the opportunity to learn how to bring my students writing to life. How to engage them and draw upon their ideas through visual learning. Can’t wait to read it!

    1. Kelsey, so many ideas in this book!

  6. Thank you for the focused review of ways Ts can help Ss who may be challenged throughout the writing process. I especially appreciated the reflective questions,

    “What are the bridges to increase student independence?
    How does the teacher ensure students are doing the work?”

    Depending on the day and the class dynamic, I feel like my focus as T shifts between process and routine. I look forward to reading up on ways to create the “bridges” my Ss need to gain more confidence and independence.

    1. Process matters and it takes time for students to grow in independence

  7. Love finding new/old ways to ignite the spark of writing in young people!

    1. Tim, that is literally the essence of this book!

  8. Oh Fran!! Chapter nine has me full of anticipation. I can’t wait to dig into her book! Whenever an author sets aside pages in their book to troubleshoot, I pay close attention. I will be following your page and her book closely!! So glad I stumbled upon it this morning!

    1. Ksra,
      You will love this book! It is so practical!

  9. I love the idea to “tinker” with the learning one gets from this book. Melanie has such great ideas.

    1. Melanie …. a gem, polished brilliance, sparkling with wisdom. I learn so much from wvery interaction with Melanie!

      1. You are exactly right in your description!

  10. I love the suggestions you highlighted! I think I will enjoy this book and I am intrigued by the data. I look forward to checking it out!

  11. Lisa,
    You will love this book. It has so many treasures for novices, medium experienced writing teachers and veterans, that I had to debate what to actually include.

  12. I can’t wait for my text to arrive and read it cover to cover. I am passionate about getting all students reading and writing so this book will add to my understanding of striving writers and next steps. Thank you!

  13. […] Blog Tour Stop 5 with Fran McVeigh – Resourceful Link […]

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