Answering Questions

You asked… we answer!

Often when someone posts a question on a post, Ruth or I write back to them individually. However, we’ve received six questions in the past few days whose answers might interest others. So, here are the responses…

1. From Kassia

What decorations did you use for the covers that will stick for a while? This is always my struggle when decorating writers/science notebooks. Looks like you had some special kind of sticker.

I purchased all of the stickers for 30% off at JoAnn Fabric & Craft. On top of the sale, they provide a teacher discount, which takes the edge off of the sticker buying. Here are some links to a few of the stickers I purchased, which tend to stay on for a long time as long as the kids put their notebooks in their literacy bags when they go to and from school.

  • Sticker #1 LinkSticker #2 LinkSticker #3 LinkSticker #4 Link
  • 2. From Melanie

    I noticed that in one of your letters, you talked about word study bags. Can you tell me more about these? I love getting new ideas for word study too!

    I take an oversized plastic zipper bag and put the following items in it: one dry-erase board, one dry-erase marker, one paper towel. Each student has his/her name on the outside of the bag. It’s used for Spelling when I want kids to have-a-go with the spelling of a word or when we’re playing Vocabulary Games and I want them to guess independent of their peers. All they have to do is write, show me what they wrote by turning and lifting their board, and erase (and the process begins all over again).

    3. From Vi using the Contact Us Link on the Two Writing Teachers Website

    My teachers use Kathy Ganske’s developmental spelling but feel that the program takes up too much time and hasn’t produced the results they wanted. I was wondering what you would recommend in regards to spelling programs. What do you use?

    I’ve always put together my own spelling program with my colleagues in the past. However, this year, my colleagues and I are trying out Spelling Strategies and Patterns: What Kids Need to Know Grades 3-5 by Sandra Wilde. It looks great, thus-far, but I haven’t started it yet since we’ve only been in school for five days. More to come on that!

    Ruth also suggests having kids create their own personal lists a la Nancie Atwell. I did this last year and it was effective. (In my classroom, I helped students scan their writing to find misspelled words for their weekly personal words lists.)

    4. From Maxine using the Contact Us Link on the Two Writing Teachers Website

    What is your policy for me sharing some of your materials with other teachers?

    Go ahead, as long as you abide by our Creative Commons License, which can be viewed by clicking here.

    5. From Debbie using the Contact Us Link on the Two Writing Teachers Website

    Why use yellow pads for drafting? I haven’t seen any reference to this anywhere and I am not sure how the yellow paper makes a difference. Could you please help me understand?

    I got this idea from Aimee Buckner’s Book Notebook Know-How, which is an excellent resource. Personally, I use yellow for drafting and blue for publishing since it helps me distinguish the drafts from the published piece, which kids always turn-in together.

    6. From Bonnie

    What’s the site you visit for new tool ideas?
    How do you bring your writing pieces in? Do you photograph them or scan them in?

    The site I referenced was Go2Web2.0.
    As for my writer’s notebook, I scan the entries in, upload them to Flickr, and then post them.