#TCRWP Writing: Takeaways Day 5
On Friday the pace quickens, the sessions are shorter, goodbyes to session partners are bittersweet, the closing session is uplifting and motivating and then final farewells to friends who leave for home and other travels (Boothbay, ILA, Nerdy Book Camp). New trail guides are perused. Weekend planning begins.
But I must end the week with a smidgeon more.
|Advanced AM Session
Ratchet up the level of your students’ writing by teaching them revision: Tapping into the power of mentor texts and checklists (K-2
- Our ultimate goal: Teach our students how to “mine” mentor text. (published, teacher written, AND student written) When students can mark up texts, they will truly know the strategies/skills. CL
- Our toolkits need a wide variety of pieces in a variety of process stages for examples. Some pages may even need to be in plastic sleeves for extra practice by students. CL
- Students need to talk more EVERY day. Find little pockets of time (like snack time) and create little boards to rehearse the stuff on the checklist. CL (Double, triple, quadruple the talk time to increase volume and stamina in writing.)
- The Units of Study are not always specific about revision. Maybe you will add a physical revision bend for three or four days as a mini-bend towards the beginning of the unit and then another day in bend 2, bend 3 and before the end of the unit with a revision club. C
- Have writing goals. Make sure that the goals are clear. Have you ever had revision goals like:
Using tools to revise
Revising to make ideas clearer
Revising to make structure better
Review revision in each unit and build the expectations across the year. CL
How will we know talk and rehearsal are important in your classroom?
How will we know that students are working on revision every day? Across the day? And across the units?
|Advanced PM Session
Power Tools, Methods and Strategies: Access and Support for English Language Learners and Kids with IEPs in the Writing Workshop (4-8)
We made some tools today that matched the needs of our case studies. They were mini-charts, bookmarks, and choice tools for students. Many were flexible so students could add or take away skills/strategies as needed.
- Use Smarter Charts or DIY Literacy for basic ideas for tools and tool development.
- Consider whether some pictures/icons should be the same across the grade/building for increased access AND understanding for ALL students. (reading – same book, writing – same pencil/pen)
- Consider how color coding could increase access for students: science = green, writing = blue, across the grade/building.
- Provide choices in writing tools for students. Check the recommendations of OT/PT/SLPs. (As I looked around our classroom, there were many variations in tools!)
- Build a plan for the year. Think of it as menu planning for your entire family. What dishes can everyone share? And what dishes meet specific needs/diets? Be planful in advance so that everyone has the sustenance that they need!!
Who ALWAYS asks the question: “Is this good for ALL students?”
How can planning in advance for ALL students improve instruction across the board for ALL?
Lucy began our closing as she began the opening onMonday. . . “We came from 48 nations and 43 states . . . ”
We thanked everyone who made this week possible.
ALL the staff at TCRWP, Teachers College, and our beloved Staff Developers for the week.
Celebrating Student Writing – and the Effect of Your Teaching
We looked at student work to celebrate the growth in writing where we could see huge growth from the beginning to the end of a unit. But we also celebrated what wasn’t necessarily the attainment of a standard or items on rubrics and checklists.
Writers develop a deep passion for knowledge.
Writers cultivate their urge to teach others.
Writers making sense of themselves, exploring their identities.
Writers increasing their visibility.
Writers developing a deep sense of civic engagement.
Writers learning to correct social injustices.
- Just as students celebrate their writing, teachers must regularly celebrate their writing instruction and feed their writing souls.
- Writing improvement may seem like it’s gaining at a tortoise pace, but movement will vary across students. Celebrate growth!
- What are your grade level expectations? Are your goals concise?
- What is your grade level vision? Is your vision broad enough?
- A la Katherine Bomer, what critical literacies do you encourage:Superheroes, Muscles, Politicians / leaders, Fantasy, or Argument – that founding skill set of a democratic country?
What takeaways are going to linger with you?
What and where do you need to consider “revising” in your instruction?
#TCRWP Writing: Takeaways Day 3
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:
Remodeling the Workshop, Lucy Calkins on Writing Instruction Today
Takeaways from TCRWP Writing Institute 2016 – Teachers and Students Lifelong Learners
TC Reading and Writing Project on Vimeo – 59 videos
#TCRWP Writing: Takeaways Day 2
Ratchet up the level of your students’ writing by teaching them revision: Tapping into the power of mentor texts and checklists (K-2)
Our 30 minute writing workshop felt like heaven. Time to write, time to think, time to talk with our partners!
“When we revise for meaning, we ask, “What’s this piece for?” Do I want the reader to feel a certain way? What do I want them to do? After I figure out that meaning, I scan my writing piece quickly. Any part that doesn’t match, I cross it out with one line. Any part that matches the meaning, BLOW it up ad I make sure that I tell it bit by bit.”
With that, Celena demonstrated in her text, had us read our own pieces and we were off revising. And it felt very comfortable and very doable.
Meaning – Development / Elaboration Strategies
- Jump into the moment & tuck into details later
- Make time matter
- Find heart of mater and add details, thoughts!
- End in the moment
- Stretch the moment across the pages!
- Show don’t tell – use describing words.
- Make characters talk.
- Make the characters move – add action words
- Add feelings
- Add thinking
- Find the important part – say more
- Symphony share.
Find one revision.
Put your finger on it.
Read just that revision for a single share.
- Museum share.
Walk around and look at the revisions.
Don’t take work to carpet. Quick.
Works in primary.
Can quickly see a variety of types of revisions.
Choosing a Mentor Text
We are using this format to study our mentor text.
Title and Author of Mentor Text
What do we see?
|What do we call it?||
Why would we use it?
- The standards (CCSS.W.5) can be a guide for revision with vertical teacher conversations about the expectations for each grade level. CL
- Revision is not like moving day where the big truck backs up to the door and EVERYTHING is loaded at one time. Choose one lens – meaning and revise. It will take practice. CL
- Use teacher written mentor texts to model how to “revise” so students can see the marked up copy. CL
- “A tool is only as good as the tinker’s hand in which it is!” CL
- Two ways of quickly sharing revisions are symphony or museum shares. CL
Consider: How do we make revision a part of every day’s work?
How and when do teachers study mentor text in order to really KNOW it?
Power Tools, Methods and Strategies: Access and Support for English Language Learners and Kids with IEPs in the Writing Workshop (4-8)
Tools: What should students write with?
Is this teacher preference? Student preference or both?
|Write with Pencils||Write with Marker / Gel Pen|
|First problem with volume
Hard to “push” a pencil – slows writer down
Great for sketching
“Are you writing volumes with #2 pencil?
Edit/ Revise with one line through previous text
Cannot lose data
Flows when writing
What most adults use in real world
(Skills list – draft by genre – not all inclusive)
Narrative Skills (fiction, historical account, personal, etc.)
- Generate story ideas
- Structure plot (sequence)
- Dramatize action
- Make meaning evident
- Develop characters
- Imbue voice
Information Skills (all about, lecture, article, etc.)
- Generate topics
- Structure content
- Elaborate on information
- Develop central idea
- Imbue voice
Persuasive/Opinion/Argument Skills (essay, lit. essay, speech, editorial, etc.)
- Generate ideas/opinions/arguments
- Structure piece
- Support with evidence and reasons
- Prove thesis/idea/opinion
- Imbue voice
- A skill is cooking; a strategy is the way you do it (boil, bake, fry, sear, broil, etc.) CC
- Skill? Strategy? Leads could be both – just like a square can be a rectangle! CC
- “I have to write a novel. Where is my #2 pencil?” says NO published author ever! CC
- Consider the physical demands on writing when a student uses pencil vs. pen. CC
- Make decisions about organization of notebook based on what students need and less on what is neat and tidy for the teacher. (If the organization of the notebook is a constant battle to get students to do it, are there more options / possibilities?) CC
To consider: Is the big question – Is this a skill or a strategy? Or is the big question – What can the student do over time in multiple pieces and with multiple genres?
How do we teach for transfer?
Mary Ehrenworth – Studying Mentor Texts for Possible Small Group Lessons – Read like a teacher of writing, considering:
What is the rationale for using mentor texts?
- Even in the Units of Study in 18-20 days, you can only teach about 6 new things.
- Mentor Texts – so you aren’t the only source of information about narrative writing.
- Mentor Text – opens up to 3-12 other things kids can be exposed to.
- Don’t wait until they are GOOD at it – not waiting for this work to be perfect!
- Mentor Text is important. Study. Incubation period may be long. You may not get the benefit of student learning this year.
Mary began with a demonstration text, “Brave Irene” and showed us how to look at Structure in terms of a movement of time. If it starts right away in one moment, when does time change? And then we did the same work in “Fly Away Home”.
Strong writers in small groups:
- Find things.
- Name them.
- Are they repeated?
- How would that work in our text?
Process that we used:
- Come to any text that we have and ask any questions by looking for most accessible text.
- Visual cues and language for a tool to help students. . . academic discourse.
- Sometimes I will do this work in video – engaging
- I try to demonstrate in my own writing – in the air.
- Teacher “shows” mentor text but doesn’t try it out is often the biggest problem with mentor texts.
- The teacher must know the mentor text very well.
- Students can make decisions about what to look for in mentor texts when the author’s repetition of structure, craft, or conventions is used.
- Mentor texts are the best way to study grammar “like an author”.
- Use of mentor texts should be engaging – and that might be why you consider video.
To consider: What if students were in charge of more “noticing” and determining what can be found in mentor text?
Is this the reciprocity that you would get from reading workshop?
Rethinking Mentor Text
Ralph Fletcher began with sharing letters from students, quotes from authors and many “craft” moves in the mentor texts. He also had us write during his keynote speech.
Using Ralph Fletcher’s mentor text, “The Good Old Days”, (keeping first and last stanzas), here is what I wrote:
The Good Old Days
Sometimes I remember
the good old days
Riding bikes on Sundays
Playing baseball games in the evenings
A carefree family life
Living on the farm
I can’t imagine
Anything better than that.
10 Tips for Using Mentor Texts to Teach Writing
- Read what we love ourselves
- Take advantage of “micro-texts” that can be read in one sitting (Picture Books, Poems, Paragraphs)
- Talk about the author behind the book. What itch made them write that story?
- Don’t interrupt the first reading of a text
- Leave time for natural holistic responses
- Reread for craft
- Design a spiral of Mini-Lessons that cycle back to teach craft
- Use the Share to reinforce the craft lesson from the Teaching Point – showing students in the class who did the craft move in their writing
- Invite (don’t assign) students to experiment with craft element
- Be patient – The student may not be able to do the craft this year but instruction was not in vain.
Bonus Tip – Don’t kill the book!
- Understand Means “To stand under”
- A writer MUST read!
- Mentor texts are available everywhere!
- There are many places to start but these institutes grow you personally and mentor texts will grow your classroom.
- Collect a lot of writing, including student writing, for mentor text use.
To consider: What if more teachers were writing? What supports do readers need in order to be better writers?
#TCRWP Writing: Takeaways Day 1
It’s majestic even when under construction (yes, still) when the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project keynote begins at Riverside Church.
There was a “comfortable-ness” in the air in both the words and in Lucy’s delivery as she spoke of TCRWP days past, present and future.
“We’ve come from 48 countries and 43 states. Leaders of state-wide reform, scores of principals and literacy coaches. And teachers by the hundreds.”
We heard that the teaching of writing matters. Lucy said she was blown away by the sheer miracle of our presence. The teacher’s job is not to teach information but to teach how to access – writing is the best tool that we have for that work – doing something with that information at our fingertips! Writing comes from within us.
On day one of registration for this institute, 8,000 applied.
We, the 1600 seated in Riverside Church, heard stories of Donald Murray, Donald Graves, riding on the Patagonia interspersed with quotes and excerpts of writing.
And then, “Artistry in the Teaching of Writing”. Lucy spoke of teachers who know the Writing Units of Study forward and backwards and who can quote the bends – and the work therein. These same teachers, however, aren’t all writers and therefore don’t have the deep understanding of “the heart of writing”.
Writing has been written about, talked about and studied at great length! More time needs to be spent on the envisioning because our students will only be able to meet our expectations. Our expectations will truly be their ceiling of learning.
Lucy spent time talking about these three stages of the writing process:
” * Rehearse
* Revise and Edit”
The stories were many. Sometimes Lucy raced through quotes and parts. And yet at other times she lingered.
- Revision is not just prettying up the page, adding detail, a new beginning or ending. It’s all about growing insights or realizations! LC
- Units of Study: “I don’t know if they really highlight the depth that I know is necessary for rehearsal and revision. After you write a draft (in a WHOOSH), cycle back to rehearsal. That’s the cycle of life in the process. Is that the push in the UoS?” LC
- “If you need to rethink your teaching, how does that make you feel? To embrace the writing life and outgrow yourself over time – there’s more I could have done, you want to have a glad feeling of possibility of a place to outgrow yourself to.” LC
- “How can we see beyond our best work? If you embrace revision, if you embrace writerly life, you will need to learn from your writing! Grow an image of what is essential!” LC
- “If you want to support a person’s growth, treat them as if they are already the person you want them to be.” LC
Which idea do you want to consider to ponder?
Session 1. “Ratchet Up the Level of Your Students’ Writing by Teaching Them Revision: Tapping into the Power of Mentor Texts and Checklists (K-2)”
Revision needs to happen A LOT across the day. One place to add revision and allow practice at the primary grades is during Shared Writing. With the teacher holding the pen and children dictating the possibilities, students can have A LOT of practice that increases their understanding!
How do we revise? Revision comes after every step of the writing process. It may look different as in “Revise in the air – rehearsal all the time!!! EVERY part of workshop even in K, 1, 2. Get idea, revise, plan, revise. . . Revision is NOT one special day on the unit plan calendar! It’s every day!” CL
We had adult writer’s workshop in this session. More to come on that in later days. So nice to see and hear writing conferences as well. Second time to write on the first morning of #TCRWP June 2016 Writing Institute!
Celena talked about turning points in memoirs. “One little event, one little action that sets you up for change. Sketch those moments. Rehearse. Revise in the air. Tell the story in the air! Talk to and/with a partner about those moments. Iron out that turning point. It won’t sound like a story YET! It won’t sound like writing YET! It won’t sound like a memoir yet!”
- Revision is not a checklist. CL
- Revision occurs during and after each and every step of the writing process. CL
- As a writer, it is important to know HOW you define revision. How do you revise? Is it easy? Is it difficult? CL
- If your story is “my kids don’t like to revise or my kids don’t want to revise”, you have to change that story line as Don Graves said, “If writing is 100%, revision is 85%.” Your expectations as Lucy said do matter! CL
- In the beginning, you will want to see evidence of physical re-writing (flaps, post-its, revision pen), because those first revisions will develop volume, stamina, and risk-taking. Habits and behaviors will come from your philosophy of writing! CL
How have these takeaways and notes added to your K-2 writing knowledge base?
What do you want to remember?
Session 2: “Power Tools, Methods and Strategies: Access and Support for English Language Learners and Kids with IEPs in the Writing Workshop (4-8)”
When working with “Striving readers”, Colleen had us consider: personality, expertise, strengths, needs – not just problem areas! This positive, asset-building approach reminded us of the many things that a target student (one with an IEP, labeled EL, or both) could be viewed “as more than one way.” In order to teach students who are struggling, we must know them!
Colleen challenged us to observe students in many ways (and this is in her wonderful book, The Unstoppable Writing Teacher). Storytelling circles on the first day of school. Ask students to bring an object that the student can tell a story off of! English learning students can tell story in dominant language and then tell in English or with a partner as a scaffold. And then consider collecting knowledge in these areas:
- Social conversations
- Whole-class conversation
- Small-froup conversation
- Pen grip
- Feet placement
- Closeness of face to paper (vision)
- Legibility and size of writing
- Pressure on pen
- Eyes during workshop (on charts, on own work, on classmates’ work, wndering)
- Patterns of geting started in writing
- Patterns in topics
- Patterns in strategies
- Subject area of strength
- Subject areas of struggle
- When experiencing success . . .
- When experiencing frustration . . .
- Areas of expertise
- Telling stories about students changes us from thinking about them as case studies to more personalized humans. CC
- Observation data is important so take at least once a month to truly observe – “First Friday of the month – take time to watch your class.What is it that this child does?” CC
- “Only give feedback on one thing!!! Make it be a BIG Ticket Thought where other things can be “tucked underneath!” CC
- When reviewing a student on demand piece, name what students are doing – helps with teaching purpose – without jargon and buzz words. Keep your language simple. CC
- Go to understood.org – Look up a disability. How can this add to your repertoire? CC
What themes are you beginning to see emerge from across the day?
Closing session: “The TCRWP’s Latest and Best Thinking about Efficient, Powerful Small Group Work that Accelerates Students’ Progress in Dramatic Ways”
Small groups might be for:
Shared Writing & / or Interactive
Use small groups NOW!
PLAN for three small group sessions in a row – And not the same sequence/type each time. Not all students will need all three sessions! But some will when your goal is building independence and seeing evidence of transfer. Students will be sitting there. You need to have that specific learning target (AND YES, only one) that will move the writing across all kinds, all pieces.
- Crystal clear goals
- MOSTLY the kids (Pacing)
- NOT brand-new
- Practice – Repetitive – Transfer
- Create a series – use a mini-chart
What tools are you giving students?
- Writing in the air
- Lead in phrases or sentence starters
- Refer back to a tool (shouldn’t be a NEW one when working on practice)
- Use of Strategies to attain goals 80-85% of small group is practice. NOT NEW GOALS! AH
- A small group session of 10 minutes will have two minutes of teacher talk and eight minutes of student practice so that the teacher can check in with each student three times! AH
- If Ss struggle, how long do you wait? Who do you help? Help students who need quick nudge so that you then have 3 of 4 students working and can really spend more time with the one stuck student. AH
- Be prepared. What are my coaching moves? What are my scaffolds? Demonstration, lean directions, teaching tool? AH
- “How do I set up for two or three small group sessions in a row? How do I help Ss incorporate and use the strategies with more automaticity and independence?” AH
For me . . .
I have homework tasks yet to do, but writing this post helped me think about what I HEARD today.
Where/ how/ when will I use this information?
How is my learning helping me revise my thinking?
Which comes first – the learning, the revision of thinking, or the openness to new thinking?
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Writing makes us all more human!
#TCRWP Writing: Day 1
Today begins with registration
Photo ID and email from TCRWP
Required for entrance
Keynote at Riverside Church
“Artistry in the Teaching of Writing”
“Ratchet Up the Level of Your Students’ Writing by Teaching Them Revision: Tapping into the Power of Mentor Texts and Checklists (K-2)”
Social Media Butterfly Cafe
Networking for Bloggers
Power Tools, Methods and Strategies: Access and Support for English Language Learners and Kids with IEPs in the Writing Workshop (4-8)
To be forced to choose from:
Just knowing that later this week
Keynotes will include . . .
Pam Munoz Ryan (Echo)
Living a writerly life!
What’s on your “learning schedule” on this fine, fine Monday in June?
“My bags are packed,
I’m ready to go.
I’m standing here outside my door”;
SCREEEECH! (needle on record player scratches the vinyl record)
BECAUSE my phone says, “3 days until my trip to New York City”.
What a bummer!
Does this look like a summer rerun?
On Friday, I’m off to my fourth #TCRWP June Writing Institute and the #June Reading Institute and I am ready to go.
I’ve checked my list at least three times . . .
1 trip to the bank
2 packed carry on bags
3 pairs of black shoes
4 notebooks to separate the week long sessions
5 colors of Pilot erasable highlighters
6 colors of Flair markers
7 th series of flights to #TCRWP ( 4 Institutes and 3 Saturday Reunions)
8 the midpoint day of this round of travel
9 th trip to NYC in my lifetime
10 google docs already created and labeled for each day of note-taking
11 electrical devices and power cords
12 hours to grade graduate work
13 chapters to read and I can finish three professional books before I go
14 days of learner – ready apparel to plan for
15 days of fun, learning, and hanging out with some Twitter, Voxer, blogging, reading and writing friends!!!
Necessary learning in order to grow as a professional . . .
In fact, I will flourish because this is my FIRST agenda for learning!
Rock Star Facilitators Celena, Colleen, Amanda, and Kathleen!
And also . . .
“Fun Home” on Broadway,
Dinner with friends,
Twitter Book Club Chats,
Google Book Club Chats,
Conversations on Voxer
because Iowans in NYC are always on the go . . .
and Iowans at #TCRWP soak up every minute of learning!
Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening, and Thinking . . .
and oh, so JOYFUL (#OLW) to have this opportunity to grow, learn, live and laugh!
How will you grow this summer?
How will you increase your knowledge and skills in order to be a “better you” next year?
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thank you for this weekly forum!
#TCRWP and Mentor Texts
What is a Mentor Text?
Are all books mentor texts?
Should all books be in the pool of mentor texts?
1. All books that are read aloud to students are NOT, especially for this blog post, considered mentor texts. For this post, I am defining mentor text as that ONE, yes, ONE text that matches the writing genre that I am teaching and that is completly covered in post-its because it is my “Marked – Up Mentor Text”. Source: Celena Larkey, June 2015 TCRWP Writing Institute.
2. I am not choosing my most favorite book for my mentor text because I am going to read it OVER and OVER and OVER as we study and write. It has to be a high quality book, but that may not be the newest book. Instead, I am opting for the book that has clear instructional points that works for the writers.
3. I am considering the interests of my students. I am NOT choosing a mentor text because I LOVE it. Instead, I am choosing a book that has content that the students will relate to – be a part of their lives – to increase their own belief in their ability to “write just like this author in this book”.
* * * *
I am going to ask you to pause for a few minutes and go read Shana Frazin’s Blog post titled ‘“Have You Read . . .?” The Art of Recommending Books’
Please, GO read it now! Click on that blue link above. You can always come back by using the “back arrow”!
And did you subscribe to the blog so you can continue to read about talk and its power for literacy?
Shana’s post was about the qualities that you would discuss when choosing texts and how you might teach this to students.
I’ve been asked at least three times to post “lists” of books that we worked with at TCRWP this week. A list does follow. But here’s the “instructional piece” (and yes, I know you HATE when I do that!)!
- You need to know your students. They may not love a book you recommend and ever worse, may not love a book that I love.
- I work with teachers K- 12. Not all books will be appropriate for all grade levels.
- I may have left titles off the list because I already own those books. This list began as my “wish list” and is therefore my “wish to purchase” list!
- All of the trade books that came with the grade level Writing Units of Study. Here is the link at Heinemann to the K pack and you can find the others by grade level as well.
- Shana’s 10 Books of the Month for 2015-16 slideshare
- My Spring Robin – Rockwell
- Charley’s First Night – Hest
- Owl Moon – Yolen
- Kiss Good Night – Hess
- Short Cut – Crews
- Goal! – Javaherbin
- “Let’s Get a Pup!” said Kate. – Gordan
- Z is for Moose – Bingham/Zelinski
- One Green Apple – Bunting
- Salt in His Shoes – Deloris Jordan
- Lunch – Naomi Nye
- Yard Sale – Bunting
- Neighborhood Sharks – Roy
What book do you believe should also be on this list?
#TCRWP: Summary and Day 5 Writing Institute 2015
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.
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?
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 Frazin – Using the Best, New Children’s Literature as Mentor Texts: Support Sky High Writing (3-8)
I continue to go back to this picture.
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?
#TCRWP: Day 3 Writing Institute 2015
This is the third in a series of posts about my learning at the Teachers College June Writing Institute. Day 1 is available here. Day 2 is available here.
Developing a Narrative Writing Toolkit (K-2) Celena Larkey
Goal: Writing drafts using all we know about powerful narrative.
- Read through the examples in my notebook.
- Mark one to explore again.
- Reread that one.
- Box out a line or phrase to use.
Begin with that phrase or line. Close my notebook and then draft. (YES, close the notebook, begin with that small moment and draft AGAIN!) Focusing on this idea of revision will keep students from “recopying when they are in the revision step” of the writing process. Students CANNOT copy when the notebook is closed.
While Writing – Tell a little, draft a little (rinse and repeat) . . . and then find a spot to stop and reread your own writing. Ask yourself, “Am I including conflicting emotions (happy and yet bittersweet moment) that fit my plan for writing?” (If check while writing, development of both flows more evenly.) IF yes, continue on; IF not, go back and add in to your writing NOW.
TIPS FOR DRAFTS:
- Write on one side of the paper.
- Write on every other line.
- Use colored drafting paper (Very visible – feels important and very special!).
Tips for Narrative Endings (Choose one):
- End it quickly (most narratives last two pages too long)
- End it with a strong emotion
- Leave the reader wondering
- Set the reader up for a surprise ending
- Circular ending – weave back to the first line of the story
Stop / Pause / Think
What are you going to do differently in writing workshop?
How will you know if it’s working?
Using the Best, New Children’s Literature as Mentor Texts: Support Sky High Writing (3-8) Shana Frazin
Today’s Big Learning Points centered around Crafting Teaching Points and Mini-Lesson Tips
Crafting Teaching Points
Further Development and Planning
Consider the question that precedes the prompt that was listed in the chart above:
- What – What is the skill, habit or quality of good writing? “Today I want to teach you that . . .”
- How – What is the step by step process? – “We can do this by . . .”
- When / Where – Students may be doing this but not at the right time so you may use “Writers usually do this when . . .”
- Trouble – What is the predictable trouble that I envision for my class? ”Remember . . .” or “One thing to pay attention to . . .” “When I do this . . .”
- Why – What is the purpose for this mini-lesson? – “This matters because . . .”
It’s summer time and it’s time to re-examine your mini-lessons. How effective are they? How do you know? Consider the use of a “Demonstration Sandwich”!
Quick mini lesson tips
Engage …in the work!
Connect – this year, previous years, life
Name the TP
Demonstration Sandwich (Before the demo“you need to watch me do …”(bread), demo – really do it (meat/protein), and then “Did you notice how I . . .?”(bread))
Set-Up – How students will practice the skill from instruction
Monitor and Coach – “A teacher on her feet is worth a hundred teachers in their seats.” @drmaryhoward
Assignment, Repertoire, Managed Choice – The three most important words are “Off you go!” It’s the practice that students need. Remember “under – practiced” from last year!
Stop / Pause / Think
How does this match up to your teaching points?
How does this match up to your mini-lessons?
What might you consider doing differently?
Raising the Level of Literary Essays by Raising the Level of Interpretation (6-8) Katy Wischow @kw625
I had a hard time choosing a closing workshop as there were several that I REALLY needed to attend. But last week during a class, we really struggled with defining a thesis so I thought this might be a good place to grow my knowledge. GUESS what? Literary Essays and Raising the Level of Interpretation does NOT have to be BORING!!! So helpful to have some easy and energizing ways to get middle school students (and their teachers) INTO the work.
To a Daughter Leaving Home
When I taught you
at eight to ride
a bicycle, loping along
as you wobbled away
on two round wheels,
my own mouth rounding
in surprise when you pulled
ahead down the curved
path of the park,
I kept waiting
for the thud
of your crash as I
sprinted to catch up,
while you grew
smaller, more breakable
for your life, screaming
the hair flapping
behind you like a
Has the trajectory for literary essay flattened at grade 6 or 7?
Are kids phoning in their essays? (on autopilot?)
Do you get a 10 page retell of Harry Potter?
Then you will need strong reading work in order to get strong writing work. “Three big problems kids tend to have with literary interpretation…That drastically impact their literary essay work
- Kids have nothing to say about the text.
- Kids have cliches to say about the text.
- Kids don’t have enough to say about the text.”
Use a common text that is accessible for the students. All of our work was done with the above poem. Here are some possible solutions for those three big problems:
1. If nothing to say:
- take away the requirement for paragraph responses
- show students other visual representations – let them “choose” another way to show understanding
- use a write – around focusing on a quote or picture that represents the poem
- dramatize with frozen scene – act it out
2. Kids have clichés to say about the text
- create metaphors from pictures the teacher has collected from google images
- use pictures to create new images
- lift a line and connect the line to your big idea
3. Kids don’t have enough to say about the text
- Choose cards from the writing craft techniques
- Choose goals cards
- Use the language from the cards to annotate the text
- Explain how the author used a technique to support a goal
Stop / Pause / Think
What fun, easy, and effective way will you use to raise the level of literary essays?
Thank you for reading #TCRWP: Day 3 Writing Institute 2015!
#TCRWP – Day 2 Writing Institute 2015
TCRWP Highlights from Day 1 and 2 with Celena Larkey (Develop Toolkits to Support Narrative Writing – Advanced K-2)
“In five days, you will get a good start. You will not be able to say, ‘It’s done!’”
“During this week, we will make and use tools to lift writers’ process, qualities, and behaviors daily.”
Share – “Pay it forward” – share with partner so you can have the idea as well.
Teacher writing folder is not conferring toolkit.
Toolkit is my “wingman” so I can have it if I need it.
A memoir is not just person, place or time because it also includes either:
- Conflicting emotion time
- Turning point times
Planning – blank page – try them on and discard (“don’t have to be married to the page”)
Even when planning in 2nd grade: Say, sketch, and then Picture, picture, picture.
Planning – Make it quick; don’t make it good!
Scaffold – only if needed. Don’t have to have something to “leave behind every time.”
Check to see if “it’s sticking first”… If yes, good to go. If not, use scaffold.”
Our schedule for the week:
Monday – narrative
Tuesday – Launching/ Small Moment
Wednesday – Authors as Mentors/ Lessons from the Masters
Thursday – Realistic Fiction
Friday – Fairy Tale and other (adaptations)
If you choose to continue on, you will learn more about:
A. Primary Writing Process (K-2) and Volume of Writing
B. Tiny Topic Journal
C. Marking up a Model Text
Thank you for continuing on . . .
A. Primary Writing Process
- Gather ideas
- Plan your ideas
- Write your ideas
Teach how to do the first three steps with ease and automaticity but be mindful of these three parts so students can practice all them! These go very quickly as students will blink and say, “I am done!“
Written pieces are the beginning of the process. You do NOT designate a day for gathering ideas, a second day for planning or a third day for writing. And you also don’t learn how to do this in one day and then you are done and you don’t ever do it again. Think about learning something new like “how to shoot a basket.” You, the learner will NEED lots of practice in order to shoot baskets well. Similarly, pieces by beginning writers will not be sophisticated.
What is the expected volume of writing for primary students?
This should be a focus for primary teachers!
|Grade Level||Number of Pieces /Each Week|
|Kindergarten||5 new pieces|
|First||3-5 new pieces|
|Second||2-4 new pieces|
- Revise a lot (Exception in K, if child cannot read back to you – no point in revision)
Revision (re- vision) want to see it with fresh eyes (or new perspective) so it sometimes means the child is starting over. A student needs to revise on many drafts before moving on in the process.
What do K-2 students revise for?
Readability (Language / conventions)
When writing has additional pages, cross outs, revisions start tipping to the side of quality! At this stage behaviors would include: “I can go back, get a revision pen and revise” or “when I start a new book, I would apply my revision in the air.”
Revision can happen on the first day by adding to the picture, a page, or adding on to the ending. At the primary level ADD is synonymous to revision. Students are not really “taking out” much.
AFTER MANY, MANY revised pieces, THEN
- Choose 1 piece to “fancy up”! (this is not visible in the picture/it was at the bottom of the chart)
- Further Revise
Stop / Pause / Think
How does this process match up to the process that your K-2 students use?
What is different?
Where might you begin your study of the writing process?
B. What is a “Tiny Topic Journal”?
- Tiny topic notebook
- “There is narrative in anything (not the Pulitzer), but yes a story!”
- Tools for oral verbal work
- “I tell a part, you tell a part”
- Small Moment writing ideas will be recorded here.
When might you consider using a “Tiny Topic Journal”?
- Are your kids writing a summary of their actions?
- Are your kids just recording information?
- Are your kids just making a list?
You will need to model how you observe life around you and how you pull ideas from “everyday life” to record in your “Tiny Topic Journal”? This could also be to jot down “current” topics for those of us who are older and tend to revert back to “when I was a child” for our small moments. We need to show students how we find ideas as we live our lives.
Stop / Pause / Think
Do you have students who need to work on “observing” life around them for ideas?
How would a “Tiny Topic Journal” or “Seed Journal” be helpful?
C. Toolkit Text
For the purpose of this work this week a Toolkit Text is that one text, “one book that I use”, that I can pull everything from for conferring. It’s not my “model and teach” stack of books. It’s one book that I have marked up with EVERY single thing that I can teach on the page! The stickies stay on the pages!
The toolkit Text that Celena shared was Goal!
Mentor Text Tips
- Put in toolkit
- Read like a reader
- Read like a writer
- Mark it up and keep in toolkit
- Don’t use your best literature!
The table that we are using looks like this and we used Henry and Mudge and the Happy Cat for our mentor text markup.
|Henry and Mudge and the Happy Cat – Mentor Text for K-2|
|What do we see?||What do we call it?||Why would we use it?||Who else tried it?|
|p. 5 title||question||Create interest|
|p.5 “and”||Repeated word||structure|
|p. 5 “Henry”||Repeated word||S – and to show relationship to Henry|
|p. 5 ‘||apostrophe||Possessive – show relationship/connections|
|p. 5 Henry, father, Mudge||Characters||Introduce characters|
|p. 5 “one night” “watching TV”||setting||Jump into story|
I would have all these items marked in my book. They would be color coded by: structure, development, and conventions. And because I work with teachers of many grades I would also have those ideas in mind that I would consider using for an author study of Cynthia Rylant with upper elementary students that MIGHT have these additional boxes for this page.
|Henry and Mudge and the Happy Cat – Mentor Text for UPPER ELEMENTARY|
|What do we see?||What do we call it?||Why would we use it?||Who else tried it?|
|p. 5 Chapter title||Hook||Create suspense, as a form of foreshadowing, if we haven’t seen the title|
|p. 5- 3 characters||Build relationship between the 3 characters||Develop theory of characters – how they will interact|
|p. 4 picture of family||Text/picture match||As a part of “show, don’t tell”|
The way this looks in my mentor text . . .
Seventeen words and we found six things for K-2
Seventeen words and we found three additional things for grades 3-6+
Seventeen words from Cynthia Rylant
Structure – green; Development – pink; and Conventions – blue
Rich and powerful!
Stop / Pause / Think
Do you have ONE mentor text marked up for your conferring toolkit?
How do you organize your “annotations” in your mentor text?
Thanks to Celena Larkey for this awesome learning at the 33rd Writing Institute at TCRWP! Errors in this blog are due to “old ears” and “lack of understanding” – not the fine, fine, fine quality of instruction!