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?”
When it comes to writing, a need for writers to have a clear vision is one of the big reasons we provide mentor texts in writing workshop. Kids need to see not only a goal or end toward which they may aspire, but I would add that they need to be provided models to become inspired. For we all know the effect inspiration can have on anything we are up to in life, right? It matters. It helps. And certainly, writing is no exception. Read on to learn about why making a big deal of publishing informational writing is worth considering…
I’ve found a hybrid mentor text that will inspire young writers and budding activists.
Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win a copy of Scot Ritchie’s new book, Join the No-Plastic Challenge.
Have your upper elementary school students spent lots of time creating a reference list? Free up the time spent on making a reference list perfect by using an online citation tool.
As educators, we need to take ownership of our teaching. If you think your tried and true lessons are lackluster, change them. Start with looking at your students and asking yourself, what do my students need? What are their strengths? Next, look at the VERBS in your standards. Precisely what is it your students need to master in this unit? Finally, embrace the art of teaching, follow their lead.
I’m not someone who rides horseback but I often get to let go of the reigns and see where I might end up. My students never disappoint.
If we do not possess a good amount of background knowledge, if we are not interested in the topic, and we were not given a choice, our writing typically suffers. Lack of knowledge in particular, as Mary Ehrenworth suggests, manifests quickly as writing weakness and writing problems. As writing workshop teachers, how might we think about and address these challenges?
By the middle of October, many students in our district are nearing the end of their first writing unit, and in almost all grades, that first writing unit has a narrative focus. Students… Continue reading
With all the pressures imposed by a segmented, unforgiving middle school schedule, why make time for writing celebrations? Are they really that important? Yes!
“Story is the basic unit of human understanding.” – Drew Dudley, Day One Leadership. We have been learning through story for thousands of years. Our innate fascination for wanting to know what happens… Continue reading
Information writing is a great opportunity for teaching students about fluency and transitional phrases.
Janiel Wagstaff’s books will help you teach primary writers about the four types of writing in an engaging way. Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win her series of Stella books.
Research-based writing need not be collections of facts. Teach your students to interpret as they research and to use their ideas to expand their writing.
I recently had the pleasure of attending the 25th Annual Comprehensive Literacy and Reading Recovery Conference in Illinois. One of the sessions I attended was led by the brilliant and endearing Christopher Lehman. His session centered… Continue reading
When my principal handed me a copy of Bethany Barton’s I’m Trying to Love Spiders, I was intrigued. She had chosen this book as our Everybody Reads title for the month and I was… Continue reading
When I tested Jennifer Serravallo’s Independent Reading Assessment (Scholastic), I was an immediate believer. Finally, here is a reading assessment that gives rich, clear information about upper grade readers, using an authentic reading… Continue reading
The books featured in this post, all of which were published in 2015, represent a variety of information writing. All of these are texts that can pull double- and even triple-duty in your classroom, thereby allowing you to use a text during read-aloud time so you can revisit it during a writing workshop minlesson and/or in a content area.
A recovering hater of information writing, this post is my first step towards bringing information writing to life for my third graders! It is a vision and collection of possibliities for infusing information writing across the curriculum through the day.
I’ve long believed teacher-written texts can serve as excellent mentor texts during a unit of study. While I’m a huge advocate of student-written mentor texts, sometimes student writing doesn’t have everything we need… Continue reading