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Every Child Can Write Blog Tour: Focus on Spelling and Conventions (Giveaway)

 

At Back to School Night, a parent pulled me aside to ask about his daughter’s spelling. Will we work on spelling, he wondered? He was concerned that his daughter was a poor speller. Will I be giving a weekly spelling test? (I won’t.) When parents think of their children as writers, spelling and conventions are often foremost on their minds. They worry their child is not progressing as a writer if there are spelling mistakes or errors in punctuation usage.

Today’s blog tour stop for Melanie Meehan’s brilliant book, Every Child Can Write, focuses on Chapter 8 in the book, entitled “Spelling and Conventions- The Pitfalls and Potholes Along the Trail.”  Melanie is my fellow co-author here at TWT and I’ve long since admired Melanie’s writing and her perspective on teaching students to be independent learners whose skills transfer from unit to unit. Melanie’s writing is always both inspirational and super practical. (Her charts are my #goals!) Her new book, Every Child Can Write, is that perfect mix of interesting stories mixed with insight about teaching striving writers and practical, next steps for busy teachers. Every teacher who wonders how to reach our striving writers (all of us) should read Every Child Can Write.

In Chapter 8, Melanie encourages us to think of writing with two lenses- compositional skills, which include generating ideas, using craft moves, and purposefully structuring sentences for impact, and transcriptive skills, which include spelling, conventions, subject-verb agreement, neatness, etc. One of the elements I love in  Every Child Can Write is a boxed off section that emphasizes the big ideas in the chapter. In this chapter, the big ideas include showing students the correct spelling and conventions usage, teaching within a student’s Zone of Proximal Development, and finding ways to embed conventions practice across the school day. Melanie breaks each big idea down and explains how this looks in the classroom and what teachers can do to help students grow in their transcriptive skills.

A feature included in Every Child Can Write is “Pause for PD”. In this chapter, in the Pause for PD section, Melanie walks you through creating conventions and spelling related centers, which allow for students to use their authentic writing instead of pre-printed examples. In another Pause for PD section, Melanie has the reader examine a student’s work and consider what transcriptive skills to teach him next. I envision these sections being so helpful in starting rich conversations when teachers are reading this book together as part of a professional development experience.

One of the ideas I plan to implement with my third grade students is the individualized conventions cards. Students can fill in the rules they are working on regarding capitalization, punctuation, and spelling. These cards can be utilized in the drafting and editing times in the writing process. Another idea that would be really fun to try out is playing with punctuation. Melanie suggests taking a sentence (“We saw the ducks”) and adding different kinds of punctuation. Read the sentences aloud to see how your voice changes and how the meaning of the sentence changes based on punctuation. While this would be a fun activity, it would be a way to see the purpose of punctuation for both readers and writers.

All of Melanie’s ideas and tips center around making students more independent and transferring their learning. She includes charts that show how teachers can subtly shift the questions they ask so students are more mindful and strategic about the choices they are making. The chapter ends with questions for the reader to consider about all that was just read and then three action steps that a teacher can take right away to implement the ideas and approaches detailed in the chapter.

Melanie Meehan has created a book that teachers will want to read and implement right away! Every Child Can Write is engaging, fun, inspiring, practical and makes me feel excited to head into the classroom tomorrow to try out these ideas. To me, that is the sign of a must-read professional book!

If you haven’t visited Clare Landrigan’s blog, check it our here to listen to an interview between Clare and Melanie discussing the book.  Tomorrow, Paula Bourque’s blog is the next stop on the blog tour, followed by Lynne Dorfman and finally Fran McVeigh. Please plan to join the #G2Great Twitter chat, all about Every Child Can Learn, on Thursday, October 4th. Leave a comment below for a chance to win your own copy of Every Child Can Learn!

*I have received an advanced complimentary copy of Every Child Can Learn.

 

Giveaway Information 

This giveaway is for a copy of Every Child Can Write by Melanie Meehan. Thanks to Corwin Press for donating a copy for one reader.

For a chance to win this copy of Every Child Can Write, please leave a comment no later than October 7th by 11:59 pm EST. I will use a random number generator to pick the winner’s commenter number.

Please leave a valid e-mail address when you post your comment so I can contact you to obtain your mailing address if you win. From there, our contact at Corwin will ship the book to you. (NOTE: Your e-mail address will not be published online if you leave it in the e-mail field only.)

If you are the winner of the book, I will email you with the subject line of EVERY CHILD CAN WRITE within five days of receipt. A new winner will be chosen if a response isn’t received within five days of the giveaway announcement.

62 thoughts on “Every Child Can Write Blog Tour: Focus on Spelling and Conventions (Giveaway) Leave a comment

  1. Chapter 8 sounds interesting. Spelling is always a challenge, helping the students be aware and yet not stomping on their writing passion. Another book to add to my shopping list.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Chapter 8 sounds interesting. Spelling is always a challenge, helping the students be aware and yet not stomping on their writing passion. Another book to add to my shopping list.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love the connection to UDL framework so that ALL students can become expert learners via a proactive process of us as facilitators of learning reducing/eliminating the barriers to accessing the content/skills, to building capacity with the content/skills and to generalizing the content/skills…to ultimately each student owning their learning.

    I have not read the book but plan to see if I can borrow a copy if a colleague has it. , Thank you for sharing! Have a day full of joy!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love that Melanie has kids using their own writing rather than printed examples to learn and practice conventions – way more chance of transferring into daily use!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This sounds like just the book we need! We have some poor spellers at grade 3 and up who see themselves as poor writers because of this. I’m trying to give our teachers some ideas to combat this. I’m especially excited to read about center ideas and ways to incorporate this practice throughout the day.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. After reading your post, it is safe to say that I have found my next professional read. So many topics that pertain to the challenges I face as a writing teacher each and every day. Thank you for getting me excited about my next read.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I am always trying to think of the best ways to incorporate grammar work into the lessons that we are already doing. We do not have a formal program that we use in my district. I have piece-mealed ideas for instruction but am always looking for a better way.

    Liked by 2 people

    • So glad to see that the pendulum of conventions is swinging back again. I’ve been teaching Writer’s Workshop for years but still strive for ideas on how kids can transfer conventions into their everyday writing in an authentic and meaningful way. I’m hopeful that this book will shed some light on student agency and how to inspire students to set new goals for themselves throughout the whole writing process and not just the editing. Also, what are some ideas on how you assess progress in a quantitative way and not just a qualitative way?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Fran said to be looking for this one! Going to have to get my hands on it son. Love that we can do this work in AUTHENTIC ways and this may be just the resource to use to help others see that as well!

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  9. I find it interesting that parents are so concerned about spelling. Educating others on the idea that writing is generating ideas is a task we take on every new school year.

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  10. I was just asked, for the millionth time, when our district will be adopting a spelling program… I can’t wait to share Melanie’s ideas with others, and love “compositional” and “transcriptive” skills. This book needs to be our next Book Club book!!

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  11. So proud of Melanie for this book. Cannot wait to read it. We’ve always had resources for striving readers and striving mathematicians. A resource to help us support striving writers is going to be a wonderful thing.

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  12. Thank you for sharing the arrival of this great new book with us! I’m curious about the Pause for PD section, and I’m thinking that the ideas contained therein will be perfect for my vertical Lit Team meetings. (kweller@discovercompass.org)

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  13. After reading today’s entry by Mrs. Sokolowski I decided to just go ahead and buy a copy of Every Child Can Write. I’m eagerly awaiting my copy so I can implement the wonderful strategies that Melanie Meehan has in her book.

    This book promises to be another wonderful addition to my instructional toolkit.

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  14. This sounds like a great read and such a relative topic for all! I love the idea of pausing for professional development and the inclusion of real student stories.

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  15. In addition to teaching writing to my elementary students, I am also an adjunct professor who teaches teachers how to teach writing to their students…..this book sounds like it would be perfect for both! Thanks for the chance to win!

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  16. Sounds like a great book! I often get asked that same question from parents about weekly spelling tests. As a 3rd grade teacher I am always looking for new ways to incorporate spelling and conventions. Thanks for a chance to win this book!

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  17. I completely agree with the idea that writing has two components, compositional and transcriptive… genius!! I can’t wait to read the book.

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  18. A career-long struggle for me… how to balance the management of writing with an appropriate developmental philosophy for kids. Looking forward to learning more.

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  19. I am so excited to see Melanie’s book coming out into the world. It seems to be full of practical ideas for teaching writing. Congrats, Melanie!

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  20. The balance between content, process and conventions is one I continue to struggle with. I’m looking forward to this book. It sounds like it is very much in alignment with my beliefs.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I never focus on a child’s spelling and punctuation during writer’s workshop until we are editing. We are doing required morning work of editing three sentences across the four 4th grade classes. I feel like the morning work is more of a test each morning. I want to change that. I look forward to reading chapter 8 to get some insight and practical tips. Hope I win a copy!

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  22. Spelling is such a huge concern for parents. I seem to struggle juggling all the different word study pattern groups in my class & working w/ my students effectively. I am trying to fit in all of the other content as well. I would love to see how she does this.!this book is on my list. Thank you for sharing.

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  23. Thanks for a peek into this book. I’ve always found Melanie’s posts both practical and inspiring and it sounds like her book has that same winning combination! I’m especially intrigued by the individualized convention cards!

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  24. I love the punctuation idea too! I keep bending (dancing) over trying to come up with ways for my 2nd graders to use correct punctuation & just get excited about writing & grow their stamina. Thank you!

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