Tuesday, June 10, 2014

100 Minutes- My Thoughts on Chapter 5 - Writing Around the Literacy Block

Thanks to Melissa from Dilly Dabbles for hosting this chapter!
Great job!

The one thing that I am really enjoying about this book is Lisa's way of describing teaching the literacy block that makes me feel as though what I am already doing is is good and with just a little tweaking it can be even better.

It's very validating.

This chapter is dedicated to writing lessons, and specifically whole-class writing lessons and ideas. 

I really liked that Lisa addressed the importance that "teachers need to model thinking and composing strategies when teaching writing" (pg 73). I have seen first-hand how much my students grow as writers when they are able to see modelled writing and composing on a consistent basis. Further down the page Lisa states that  students need to have the "opportunity to witness the down-and-dirty craft of creating pieces of writing" (pg 73). 
I love this!!

As I read through this chapter I found myself nodding, highlighting and makes notes around the following key ideas that I would like to think more about in order to improve my overall teaching of writing. 

The importance of setting success criteria with my students. 
I started doing this my students in the last few years and have really enjoyed it. Not only am I able to observe my student's knowledge of the text forms we may be studying but they have an opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas about a variety of text forms with their classmates. 

Lisa discusses using mentor texts to teach writing to students in this chapter. This is something that I don't do enough of and would really like to try more in the upcoming school year. On page 76 Lisa provides a list of questions that teachers can pose to their students in order to focus the instruction using mentor texts and I think I will be turning these into task cards in the future. 
(Keep your eye out for a freebie in the future!)

Grade 3 in Ontario is a testing year...which sucks, but at the same time there are a TONNE of student exemplars available to us in both reading and writing. As Lisa states in Chapter 5 using student exemplars is a great way to help students "understand the difference between high and low levels of work" (pg 77).

Lastly, Lisa discusses teacher modelling as a way to help "students develop an understanding of not only the elements of writing, but also the craft of writing" (pg 78).

Now I know this is going to sound weird coming from someone who writes a blog but I am not all that comfortable writing in front of people. Obviously this is something I am going to have to get comfortable with so that my students can benefit from the experience. 

Goals for the upcoming school year:

- create a list of mentor texts that I can use when teaching writing
- develop a stronger comfort level with modelling writing in front of my students
- read through some of Lucy Calkins' work in order to gain some new insights into teaching writing

What about you?
What are your thoughts about this chapter and teaching writing?
Link up with us below.

Be sure to visit Erin from A Piece of the Apple on June 13th for Chapter 6- Exploring Different Purposes and Audiences

1 Brilliant Teaching Thoughts:

Kelly said...

I also don't model writing enough for my students - when I do it is powerful, and I see much better results, but it is something that always gets lost in the shuffle. One reason for me has been off task behavior as I write - I'm thinking about having something prepared ahead of time that I add to and revise with the students using success criteria (to keep them engaged more). That might help you with your 'stage fright' of writing in front of people if you write it ahead of time. I'm loving reading everyone's thoughts - it gives me even more to think about!

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