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:
Lester Laminack, and
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!
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?
Sharing a Collection of Resources today after the 15 year anniversay:
In the news
On Facebook from the Westport Library, “We are live streaming “Healing through Art & Words” with authors Nora Raleigh Baskin, Gae Polisner, Jewell Parker Rhodes, Wendy Mills, and Lauren Tarshis.” (Description here)
Two Writing Teachers – Stacey Shubitz – Remembrance Ideas
What to Read Aloud? Sally says for 3rd grade . . . Seven and a half tons of Steel
Nerdy Bookcast – Episode 3
NCTE online – Dear Teachers – Letters to Another Hero (found on Twitter)
From my sister who lost a dear friend. . .
Quilt squares created by friends/family of Nina Bell, RIP 9/11
A story about the quilt “in the making” from Sherry. “Remembering 9/11. RIP Nina Bell. I was fortunate to find an archive of an article on a quilt that my mother, Mary Marek, made. It was created with pictures, thoughts, impressions of Nina’s friends across the US and abroad. The article was written by my sister-in-law, Mary Marek, who used to write for the Kalona News in Iowa.
From my blog post archives
9/11 In Remembrance (The Museum and a Song)
What do you remember from 9/11?
Why is it important to remember?
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Lisa, Melanie, and Stacey for this weekly forum. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here.
Today, I just needed a place to “collect and store my ideas” and not write long about any of them!
Also, love this picture – I wanted to add it to the comments – more study needed to figure that out! Hartford, CT Flag of Honor with every person’s name . . .
#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?
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
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 preview 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
The storified chat is available here.
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?” . . .
and this all important one from Dana on Q1 about reading mentor texts:
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?
Thank you, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, and Stacey. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thank you for this weekly forum!
New professional books in the field of literacy are headed your way this spring from the following authors: Stacey Shubitz; Jan Miller Burkins and Kim Yaris; Kate and Maggie Roberts, Dana Johanson and Sonja Cherry-Paul; and Doug Fisher, Nancy Frey and John Hattie. Get ready for some amazing learning!
Stacey, Two Writing Teachers, has this book out from Stenhouse this spring: Craft Moves: Lesson Sets for Teaching Writing with Mentor Texts. Stacey blogged about her book here.
Jan and Kim’s book (available May 2nd from Stenhouse):
Kate and Maggie’s book (available April from Heinemann):
Dana and Sonja’s book also available in April from Heinemann :
And from Doug, Nancy and John (March, Corwin Press):
Coming later this year a new book from Vickie Vinton . . .
Waiting is so hard . . . sometimes waiting on “new friends” is harder than waiting on Christmas.
Where will you start?
What books are on your professional reading list?
Do you share “your reading plans” with your students?
(*Truth: I have some 2015 books to finish soon to clear the decks for spring break reading!)
Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Thank you, Anna, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Stacey, and Tara. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Get ready to share your writerly life in one week with the March Slice of Life Challenge!
What is a teaching point?
In literacy, a “teaching point” is often that behavior/learning that the teacher will demonstrate and then ask the students to use in their own work. Examples might include:
- Readers use punctuation to express meaning when reading.
- Readers think about how this book may be like another book they have read.
- Readers notice when something does not make sense. They may reread the
sentence to help them.
- Writers use figurative language to make their point.
- Poets use line breaks to change the pace of a poem.
- Authors think about their audience and how the audience will respond.
Not to oversimplify, but quality teaching points include work that is transferable to real life, the reason WHY students need to know/do this, AND demonstrate HOW to do the work. The teachers who are masterful at crafting teaching points have practiced the use of those skills in their own reading and writing so that demonstrations clearly explain how the work moves readers or writers forward. Check out this post by Stacey Shubitz of Two Writing Teachers for some quality information on teaching points.
Teaching points in classrooms are often easy to spot. But what about “Teaching Points” in the rest of our lives . . .
Where have I found “Teaching Points”?
At my local tire shop . . .
“Tires need to be rotated and balanced so they wear more evenly . . . ”
At the hospital . . .
“Hand sanitizer needs to be completely dry on your hands before touching baby’s skin so the alcohol doesn’t transfer . .”
At the bank . . .
“Informing us of your location makes it easier for use to check on validity of transactions . . .”
Where, in life, do you find “Teaching Points”?
Where, in life, are you creating “Teaching Points”?
Check out the writers, readers and teachers who are “slicing” here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy at “Two Writing Teachers” for creating a place to share our work. So grateful for this entire community of writers who also read, write and support each other!
Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. Thanks to Stacey, Anna, Beth, Tara, Dana and Betsy at “Two Writing Teachers” for creating a place for us to share our work. Stacey’s post calling for slices included this Elizabeth Gilbert quote.
At least try . . .
Never too late!
Writing will get better
get older and wiser.
Write something beautiful
to be discovered
and placed on the bookshelves of the world.
At least try . . .
Today I wrote a found poem. The words in Elizabeth Gilbert’s quote called out to me. I originally began with “At least try” but then I found myself back at the beginning focusing on pulling out specific images. New to “found poetry”? You can find additional information and examples here.
Welcome to Day 2! What poem is calling out to you?
(During March, I am blogging daily as a part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge!) Special thanks to the hosts of the Slice of Life Challenge: Stacey, Tara, Dana, Betsy, Anna and Beth. More Slice of Life posts can be found at Two Writing Teachers .
Kudos to the fabulous team at Two Writing Teachers and all the support that they assembled for this challenge! Being a part of a community like this makes it “easier” to continue on each day! Thanks to both Stacey Shubitz, SOLSC14, and Anna Gratz Cockerille, Classroom SOLSC14, for their great “Be Inspired” ideas! Thanks to the support team as well. I had many questions for Elsie and her supportive responses soothed my apprehensions!
I jumped into this challenge because of two twitter friends, Julieanne Harmatz (AKA @jarhartz ) who blogs at “To Read To Write To Be” and Catherine Flynn (AKA @flynn_catherine) who blogs at “Reading to the Core.” Check out the past slices on the blogs of these two talented ladies!
Thanks to all “Slicers” who read and commented on my blog during the “Slice of Life Challenge.” Special thanks to those who commented a LOT including: Julieanne, Tara, Catherine, Anna, Elsie, Stacey and Carol.
Writing every day for a month has helped me continue to work on my own writing. I will reflect on forms and topics tomorrow in my final post for the month. It’s possible that I will join “Slice of Life Tuesday” or another regular weekly posting. I must do some work on my calendar to determine feasibility over the next couple of months as I modify an online graduate course and also plan for summer work. This month has shown me, again, how important it is to both respond to other bloggers and/or tweet out their links. The connections in the community are THE BEST!
But most importantly, this Slice of Life Challenge has confirmed my belief that teachers of writing must also be writers!