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The Power of Silent Teachers: Helping Writers Increase Productivity and Build Independence Through Interdependence with Tools in the Classroom

We give our writers a lot of stuff. Their folders are full of charts, worksheets and examples meant to be helpful for independent writing, but are students using these tools to their fullest capacity? Are writers waiting for us to say “get out ___” or “look at ____”? This post will give you some practical ideas for how to help students achieve interdependence and utilize the silent teachers in the classroom to their fullest capacity.

A Peek Into the Start of an Information Unit

When we show students examples of what they should be creating before and during their writing, we are, in many ways, providing them a figurative ride up the chairlift with many good skiers in front of them. In two separate classrooms, I introduced an information writing unit with a classroom teacher with a pile of books and writing samples and the students sitting in a circle. “Your job,” I said, “is to look at these books and pieces like writers. What did the author do? How did they do it?”