Tag Archives: Lynne Dorfman

#SOL19: Writing Matters


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Writing:

A connectedness

A relationship

An opportunity

A process

A product

Two sides of a coin.

Can be used to learn or

Can be used to demonstrate learning.

Is thinking out loud

Typically on paper.

Thoughts

Sometimes painfully etched

Sometimes spewing out voluminously

Faster than any ability to capture.

Can be long

Or short,

Traditional

Or creative,

Personal

Or public,

With form

Matching the purpose,

Reveling in the need

To create,

To rise like a phoenix,

To leave shadows,

Whispers in the wind,

Songs in the air.

Writing . . .

a compulsion

a living/breathing requirement

a necessary component of life

What purposes do writing serve?

Consider these:

  • The Magna Carta
  • The Articles of Confederation
  • The Declaration of Independence
  • The Constitution
  • The Bill of Rights

What do they stand for? 

Why were they written? 

Why do they matter?

A survey of Americans resulted in a list of these Top 10 Milestones in US history.  Do you agree?

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Writing Matters.

In.So.Many.Ways

I am missing the #TCRWP Writing Institute. It’s hard to not have #TCRWPEnvy so I revisited some notes from last year’s Writing Institute to consider for my own writing this summer.

In last year’s keynote, Lucy Calkins addressed levels of writing workshop.  Link 

Where are you?

“Level 1:  Start and Stop.  Do a few days of minilessons.  Do a few worksheets to ‘master the skill’, and then back to some stale writing. No investment. It feels like pulling teeth.”

“Level 2:  The Good Student Writing Workshop filled with compliance. Open any notebook and you will find that students are doing the work. Safe work. They respond to all school assignments, but they never take any risks and share themselves.”

“Level 3: Passion and intensity flow through the notebook, drafts and published writing. There are notebook entries that do not come from a response to day to day instruction.  Students want to write. It’s an ALL IN Writing Workshop.”

What level was your 2018-19 workshop? 

What is your goal for 2019-20 workshop? 

Where will you begin?

(And don’t forget to follow #TCRWP this week for highlights from 1200+ Writing Institute participants!)

(#cyberPD – Welcome to Writing Workshop by Stacey Shubitz and Lynne Dorfman)

Celebrate that your journey has begun and focus on Learning!




Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Deb, Kathleen, Kelsey, Lanny, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum from Two Writing Teachers. Check out the writers and readers here.

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#WhyIWrite


typewriter

Why I write:

To think

To reveal

To process

To deepen my understanding

To check my understanding

To analyze my thinking

To share my learning

To wonder

To share

To be a model for teachers and students and

To experience the JOY of a community . . .

Those are some of the reasons I write.

(And as soon as I hit “publish” I will think of at least 10 other “better”reasons that I wish I had thought of during the three days that I worked on this draft!)


Planning

Drafting

Revising

Conferencing

Revising

Publishing

Do these steps look familiar?

But do they match your current reality in your writing?

Do they match your current reality in your writing instruction?

I’ve been spying on my writing for over a year . . . literally in search of patterns that I could identify in my own writing.  Trying to decide on that next big goal for myself – ambitious or “doable”? . . . lofty or practical?

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as finding a pattern, setting up some demos and “off you go” because writing is complicated.

Steps are added or revised . . .

If I have to stop and research.

If I have to completely scrap my draft because it is really so pathetic.

If I have to continue my “search for a topic”.

If I have to . . .

So here are some resources,

Quite literally, some food for thought!

Because all of these relate to just one simple standard in writing and yet this standard (and its intent) are often overlooked in a search for a priority or a way to reduce/simplify the writing standards!

“CCR. W.5. Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.”

A previous blog post that connected to this standard is in the 2014 archives here!


Planning

Planning – Where does an idea come from?  – my blog post

Celebrate Celebrating – a blog post from Julieanne Harmatz (grade 5)

Learn by Writing – Lynne Dorfman’s blog post

Helping Students Plan their Writing – a blog post by Melanie Meehan

Using Technology for a Kindergartner’s Writing Process – a blog post by Melanie Meehan


Writing Goals

Introducing a Hierarchy of Writing Goals – a blog post by Jennifer Serravallo

Goal Setting – my blog post


Drafting:  Beginnings  (somewhere – trying more than just one beginning – trying a new approach

21 of the Best Opening Lines in Children’s Books

The Beginning – my blog post

Strong Leads – Jennifer Wagner (2nd grade)

Drafting – Endings

Behind the Books:  The Perfect Ending – blog post by Melissa Stewart

The Ending – my blog post

Drafting – Telling a Story Bit by Bit

Celebrating Story – blog post by Julieanne Harmatz

Drafting – Organization, Elaboration, and Craft

Elaboration Strategies for Information Writing Dig- Two Writing Teachers

Text Structures – blog post by Melissa Stewart

Specific Examples of the Power of Three – Stacey Shubitz

First Graders Get Crafty – Dana Murphy

DigiLit Sunday:  Craft – blog post by Margaret Simon


Revising

Revising as part of the Process – blog post by Melanie Meehan

No Monkeys, No Chocolate: 10 year Revision Timeline – blog post by Melissa Stewart


Editing as a part of publication

Your Turn Lesson:  The Colon – A blog post by Diane and Lynne

Editing Sticks – my blog post

Editing – my blog post

  • Editing stations for upper grades – Shana Frazin informed
  • Daily light editing – Shanna Schwartz informed

Revising or Editing? – my blog post

Fun tool – Eye Finger Puppets (Amazon or craft stores) – Make editing time special and reminds the reader and the writer to pay close attention to the work!

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Reading Units of Study Mini-Lessons

MiniLessons are strong invitations to learning! (TCRWP_

Reading and Planning MiniLessons – Rachel Tassler

A Short and Sweet MiniLesson Format – Two Writing Teachers

How to Plan a MiniLesson from Scratch – Two Writing Teachers

There are More Ways than One to Plan a MiniLesson – Two Writing Teachers

How to Read a Unit of Study – Two Writing Teachers


Fundamentals of Writing Workshop – Two Writing Teachers Blog Series August 2017

 

Share Time in Writing Workshop – Lynne Dorfman’s blog

Choice in Writing Workshop – blog post by Tara Smith

(Almost) Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Partnerships I Learned in Kindergarten  – blog post by Shana Frazin


Why I Write – Stenhouse Blog

Writing is Not a Linear Process    


Mentor Texts – Books that would be nice to have as Resources

Craft Moves:  Lesson Sets for Teaching Writing with Mentor Texts – Stacey Shubitz (Stenhouse)

Writers are Readers:  Flipping Reading Instruction into Writing Opportunities – Lester Laminack   (Heinemann)

Mentor Texts:  Teaching Writing Through Children’s Literature  (2nd etition)- Dorfman & Cappelli (Stenhouse)

Learning from Classmates:  Using Student Writing as Mentor Texts –  Lisa Eicholdt  (Heinemann)

What;s Your Plan? 

What are you going to do NEXT?


Today’s best draft, (Kelly Gallager)

this post,

This post I wrote to organize!

#SOL16: Chatting about Mentor Texts


#TWTBlog  had these questions for their #Twitter Chat about “Teaching Writing with Mentor Texts”. Were you there?  Which questions/answers really helped you grow in your thinking about mentor texts?

Twtblog 5.9.16 chat mentor texts

This chat was a culmination of a week long series about Mentor Texts and in case you missed it, here are the links:

“Tuesday, May 3: Reading Like a Writer, Step-By-Step by Elizabeth Moore (that’s me!)

Wednesday, May 4: Student-Written Mentor Texts by Deb Frazier

Thursday, May 5: How to Choose and Mine Mentor Texts for Craft Moves by Stacey Shubitz

Friday, May 6: Digital Mentor Texts for Blogs by Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski

Saturday, May 7: Create Your Own Text by Dana Murphy

Sunday, May 8: When to Use Mentor Texts by Betsy Hubbard” (5/9/16 link)

Previously I’ve written about mentor texts here, here, here, here, and here.

So why on earth am I writing about Mentor Texts again?  

Well, there are whole books about Mentor Texts that include ten of my favorites below and Stacey Shubitz’s Craft Moves:  Lesson Sets for Teaching Writing with Mentor Texts that will ship from Stenhouse in June of 2016! (You can purchase it here.) And I was just lucky enough, with my friend, Melanie Meehan, to win a FREE copy last night as a participant in the chat!

So, if I have 10 of these 11 books (soon to be 11 of 11) about Mentor Texts, why am I writing about them again?

I know that it’s a total shock to some of my readers, but I must admit that I am a bibliophile. There are very few books that I’ve met that are NOT my immediate friends (except for the fantasy, scifi, vampire type books that I often just AVOID)!

Collecting samples of mentor texts has been helpful in my study of the craft of writing. Each of these books leads me to other authors, books, and even publishers that allow me to deepen my knowledge of author’s craft.  I’ve been a writer, off and on, for decades.  But during that writing time, I have NOT always studied writing.  Instead I was playing at writing and sometimes only “practicing” writing.  I trusted the authors above to choose texts that would surely be magical mentors for either myself or my students.

Recently my study of writing has been more reflective and my goal has been to define the elements that work (as well as WHY) and YET sometimes I STILL totally miss the mark! The books above provided a safety net because I did NOT trust my own judgement of mentor texts. I knew there was no “magic list” and YET I still thought there was often something magical about these books that FAMOUS AUTHORS had placed on their lists of Mentor Texts. Reading through their choices was like Intro to Mentor Texts 101. I could see what they chose and why and try to imitate that.

What did I learn from tonight’s chat?

The chat was just like “Field of Dreams” . . . “Build it and they will come!”

Stars on the Twitter Red Carpet #TWTBlog included:

  • Ralph Fletcher
  • Lynne Dorfman
  • Rose Cappelli
  • Ruth Culham
  • Kim Yaris
  • Jan Miller Burkins
  • Lisa Eickholdt
  • Shana Frazin
  • Cornelius Minor
  • Emily Butler Smith
  • Dr. Mary Howard
  • Tara Smith
  • Catherine Flynn
  • Melanie Meehan
  • Jessie Miller
  • Leigh Anne Eck
  • Lisa Keeler
  • Margaret Simon
  • TWT Team – Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, and Stacey

But here are a couple of my favorite tweets that I am still thinking about in response to Q5) “Why are teacher-written mentor texts important? How do you use them?” . . .

power of mentor text

power of mentor text two

and this all important one from Dana on Q1 about reading mentor texts:

tweet

The conversations last night were rich. I will be reviewing the storify as I know I missed some. And like any great texts, some tweets will need to be revisited!

Who are your writing mentors?

What are your favorite mentor texts?

How would we know?

slice of life 2016

Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, and Stacey. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.  Thank you for this weekly forum!

Mentor Texts for Writing


How do you use mentor texts?

There are so many options for mentor texts in both reading and writing.  A search at Two Writing Teachers gives you all of these posts to consider.  You can also check out Rose and Lynne’s website here with many ideas from their two Mentor Text books.

At the 88th Saturday Reunion, Carl Anderson (@conferringcarl) began with a story about coaching his son’s baseball team for six years and yet still needing a mentor.  He went on to explain that mentors could be found in Greek mythology and as a friend of Odysseus and adviser of Telemachus actually in the “Odyssey”.  A mentor was a “wise and sage co-teacher” – who wouldn’t want one for life?

Ralph Fletcher explains that mentor texts are, “…any texts that you can learn from, and every writer, no matter how skilled you are or how beginning you are, encounters and reads something that can lift and inform and infuse their own writing. I’d say anything that you can learn from – not by talking about but just looking at the actual writing itself, being used in really skillful, powerful way.”

One role of a mentor text according to Carl Anderson is:

pull back curtain

How can a mentor text help you “pull back the curtain” and reveal the craft in the writing?

Focus: Informational Mentor Texts


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What are informational texts?

The Common Core State Standards include the following in their definition of informational texts:

biographies and autobiographies; “books about history, social studies, science, and the arts”; “technical texts, including directions, forms, and information displayed in graphs, charts, or maps”; and “digital sources on a range of topics” (p. 31).

That’s a broad range so what does that really mean? Sources that can inform your work include:

Research and Policy:  Informational Texts and the Common Core Standards: What Are We Talking about, Anyway? by Beth Maloch and Randy Bomer

6 Reasons to Use Informational Text in the Primary Grades – Scholastic, Nell Duke

The Case for Informational Text – Educational Leadership, Nell Duke

Where can I find lists of Mentor Texts?

Award winning lists include:

Robert F. Sibert Medal and Honor Books

Notable Social Studies Trade Books For Young People

Mentor Texts to Support the Writers’ Workshop (Literature and Informational Texts)

This list supports writers’ workshop.  Others are readily available on Pinterest or Teachers Pay Teachers.

What about professional books to help me with Mentor Texts and Informational Writing?

There are many books that you can easily access.  Some of my favorite “go to” books are here. nonfiction mentor texts the writing thiefWrite Like This mentor author mentor textsFinding the Heart of Nonfiction

Nonfiction Mentor Texts: Teaching Informational Writing through Children’s Literature K-8 by Lynne Dorfman and Rose Capeli (website)

The Writing Thief: Using Mentor Texts to Teach the Craft of Writing by Ruth Culham (Chapter 3)

Write Like This: Teaching Real-World Writing Through Modeling and Mentor Texts by Kelly Gallagher (Chapters 3 and 5)

Mentor Authors, Mentor Texts: Short Texts, Craft Notes and Practical Classroom Uses by Ralph Fletcher

Finding the Heart of Nonfiction: Teaching 7 Essential Craft Tools with Mentor Texts by Georgia Heard

and many grade level texts in the separate Units of Study of Writing by Lucy Calkins and friends at TCRWP.

What do I do with the books that I am considering as mentor texts?

Your number one task is to Read informational texts that you also like.  And then your second task is to  read these books from the lens of a writer.  Identify techniques that the author uses very successfully.  Third, talk with other teachers about the techniques and goals! To get started consider these helpful blog posts: A brilliantly written blog post on the use of a mentor text during a co-teaching instruction session by Melanie Meehan can be found in this post “Slice of Life Exploring a Fabulous Mentor Text” on the Two Reflective Teachers blog. Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris list “Our Top Eleven Nonfiction Books for Teaching . . . Everything!” here! Clare and Tammy at Teachers for Teachers also have a post titled “Two Great Nonfiction Mentor Texts”. Tara Smith writes routinely about texts.  “Mentor Texts” is a recent one. Two Writing Teachers:   mentor text archive (You can also search any of the above blogs for additional posts about Mentor Texts!) And three from my blog archives: Reading and Writing Instruction – Paired Mentor Texts #TCRWP Day 3:  Information Mentor Texts (based on Alexis Czeterko’s (@AlexisCzeterko ) Closing Workshop “Five Mentor Texts for Information Writing  – and Ways to Use Them with Power”) #SOL14:  Writing Techniques and Goals

This was a Topic Focus:  Informational Texts; Not a Compendium of all available resources . . .  Do you have a better idea of the “types of writing” included in the informational category? Did you find some new ideas?  Or revisit some old ideas with a new purpose in mind?

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