Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Writing Ideas

As a teacher, I think teaching writing is my weakness. I'm constantly in awe of my former co-teacher who is now in the general ed classroom. She makes teaching writing look so easy and her kids enjoy it.  I love picking up ideas from not only her, but the rest of my grade level as well.

This year we are starting using a new curriculum called Being a Writer.  I read through the teacher manuals this summer and I'm pretty excited by all the mentor texts that are used.  The lessons seem to blend nicely with the Common Core and are worded very similar to how I would start lessons.  I'm rarely a fan of a provided curriculum, but Being a Writer seems to make sense, spiral nicely and be student friendly.  Plus, there are sample anchor charts included which is great for days you have a substitute teacher.

At our school, we have writing conferences with our students and I keep all my information in a spiral bound notebook.

I use colored post-it tabs down the side with students' names.

I color code them for who I need to meet with more frequently.

I grade their essays and write my feedback on post-its.  I make a copy of the essay for the students to keep in their data folder, place the post-it on the student's page in my notebook, then we discuss their paper.  I try to have most of the conferences student-led by asking them the following questions:

What did you do well on?
What part are you the most proud of?
What did you take away from our mini-lessons that you tried in this paper?
Who did you peer edit with and what feedback did they give you?
How would you make this better?
What is still challenging for you as a writer?

However, I'm excited to try these new ideas this year:

Personalized word wall in their notebook.

 I'm awful at keeping up with word walls.  I try to do anchor charts of the vocabulary words we learn in our novels or our school's "power words of the week", but it's one of the things I tend to let slip through the cracks.  I love the idea of having students make their own because then the words are personalized.  With my inclusion classroom, some students are working on spelling sight words while others are working on multisyllabic words.  This allows students to feel empowered and write down the words they truly need help with.

On the subject of word walls, I also like this teacher's idea:

Instead of using a bulletin board (because I have so few and they're usually covered in anchor charts), a recipe box was used instead.  This would go great in our resources are of the room next to the dictionaries.  

This TpT freebie is great for students to organize different words and phrases:

I always teach "fanboys" with a fan shaped foldable, but I like this teacher's structure with an anchor chart:

I also found this idea on pinterest and it'd be a great review of text structure and topic sentences.

By using different colored sentence strips, you can review structures of a paragraph.  This idea also has potential with reading cross over by showing how to summarize an informational text.

This was developed by a primary teacher, but I love that it could be adapted as an extension center for early finishers.

It could also be used to review parts of a sentence with more struggling writers.

This anchor chart would be great for reviewing types of sentences:

I might modify it into a foldable in their notebooks because wall space is limited.

This is another great one for helping students with the different type of verbs, which is part of the Common Core standards:

I love new ideas!

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