Friday, July 26, 2013

Your Two Cents AND a Starbucks Giveaway??!!!!

Is it possible to have too many choices?  When presented with a sundae bar, or seafood buffet - I don't believe so! I am learning when it comes to "how to teach writing" - YES!!!!!

I have made it my mission to become a better writing teacher.  My test scores the past two years have not been good, and throughout the year, I often struggle with writing instruction, making it all fit and finding a good balance.  I know that with Common Core testing fast approaching - I do not have much more wiggle room!

Trouble is - there are SO MANY choices and I have heard good things about all of them!
First - what I have been using.  A combo of Ralph Fletchers workshop model and 6 Traits with graphic organizers for formatting. I use read alouds to inspire and teach mini lessons. I'd like to continue that.

 Now.  Take a look at what I have
Guided Reading - for a whole workshop approach
Word Savvy - For Word Study/Spelling/Vocab
Funner Grammar
Everyday Editing - both for DOL like lessons but "real world"
The Daily Five
Mastering the Mechanics
Getting it Right - Grammar etc.
Mechanically Inclined
How do you Teach Writing

HELP ME!!!!! Where do I start?  Is there another go-to source you would recommend over any of these? I plan on reading Daily Five for reading workshop regardless - but don't want to "waste" my remaining three weeks on others that might not be as tried and true. 
This is where YOU my readers come in
Please take a minute to follow my blog if you don't already
Then, leave me a comment about the writing program you prefer/use and how you like it! 
Lastly, share this blog on pinterest, facebook or any other social media site
(you see - this is two fold - getting writing help AND getting to 200 followers! =)

I'm giving away TWO Starbucks cards just in time for back to school beverages!

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  1. I love anything by Ralph Fletcher! His Writing Workshop: An Essential Guide is a great resource.

    Pencils, Books, and Dirty Looks

  2. Ralph Fletcher is my go-to! I am also a HUGE FAN of Lucy Calkins! She is currently speaking at conferences about writing and the Common Core. Check her out!


  3. I use Melissa Forney! Writing Superstars is my go to book. I was lucky enough to attend a two day training with her.

  4. I love Katie Wood Ray and Lucy Calkins Writing Units of Study grades 3-5. Both have great info; Lucy Calkins has great examples for the kids!

  5. I would get Empowering Writers manuals. The writing lessons are prescribed and scripted and you don't need to reinvent the wheel. They have helped we negotiate being switched from first grade to fourth grade last year and helped deal with the testing burden which I was not accustomed to dealing with.

  6. I like the Everyday Editing since it's practical and covers the basics of good writing! I found it to be very useful.

  7. I'm moving from 3rd to 5th this year, so I would love to see what everyone suggests for writing. Love your blog, by the way. I know it's going to be extremely helpful this year.

  8. I've set improving my writing program as a goal each year for longer than I care to admit. What I have learned is that while resources are important, they are second to a well organized program that allows for sufficient individualized conferences, student revision circles, and whole group sharing. Simply trudging through a program, even great ones like Fletcher and Caulkins, will not have the effect you desire. Feedback, feedback, feedback! Ensure that you have a way to meet with each student for a 1:1 conference on a regular basis. I have my students and days of the week color coded. I meet with students on their color day and have them read to me for revision conferences so that I don't get caught up in editing, and I read for editing conferences. Keep track of the types of problems you see and address the trends as they come up rather than in an arbitrary order. Students always learn skills best when they have the immediate need to use them, so teach them in mini-labs or even in small groups as needed based on your conferences. Set up a system for revision circles that works for you and reinforce it with students. Primary grades often teach them to always give a positive, which tends to eliminate the necessary constructive criticisms. Listening for everything is too much for elementary students. Split up the six traits and have each student in the circle listen for only one to give feedback on. Rotate them around the group as each student takes a turn to share. Teach students to ask questions about the work, especially what's missing or confusing, as it eliminates the negativity while still providing the much needed feedback. Decide on permanent versus rotating revision groups. There are pros and cons to each method and sometimes, the personality of the group makes a difference. And always remember, if you can read everything they've written, they aren't writing enough. With the integration across the curriculum of Common Core, there should be LOTS of writing going on in various forms.

  9. Hi there again! Ok, so I teach science, BUT - my school was just blessed with the opportunity to be trained by the Reading and Writing Project team...and we are now officially a home grown institute. I LOVE the Reading and Writing Project and cannot speak more highly of Lucy Calkins and her approaches to reading and writing. Highly recommended! Visit the Reading and Writing Project website and check out some of her books on Amazon. Hope that helps!

  10. I would use Lucy Calkins's Units of study. It is now personalized for each grade. She tells you what you need for each lesson and exactly what to teach each day. It is not cheap(about 200.00 per grade) but it is worth it.

  11. I am also curious to see others answers. If given the opportunity to chose anything it would probably be Lucy Calkins.