Monday, March 28, 2011

Getting Set for Writer's Workshop

Above is one more photo I'd like to share with you from my recent visit to a 2nd grade Writing Workshop in action. Consultant Renee Houser from Growing Educators, who was working with students, tacked up this poster. The set-up routine gets young writers ready, puts them in the right mind-set, and helps them focus on what they will be working on. I love the way this routine sets the expectation that serious writing will be taking place in this session! 

Here's more from Renee Houser's hand-out:
Create rituals and routines around notebook work
 such as:
 *  At the beginning of every writer's workshop, have students edit at least one entry as they sit and wait
for classmates to settle in the meeting area before the mini-lesson begins.

 *  Interrupt students in the middle of the independent work time and challenge them to accomplish a 'quick edit' (you might want to focus each quick edit for something specific each time such as: end marks, capitalization, word wall words, etc.).

*  Provide time for students to reflect on their own note-booking. Perhaps they share their reflections and goals with their partners. Example: I date each entry. I fill the page margin to margin with my writing. I use my writing notebook only for writing. I tend to use  ____  as a strategy because ____ . 

*   Building time during a 1:1 conference to invite students to share their notebook work and goals.

*   Establishing some non-negotiables for notebooks such as:  All entries are dated. Writing should be from margin to margin, etc.
Next, I will be blogging on one of my favorite subjects:
Book-making with beginning readers and writers. Stay tuned!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Becoming an independent writer. . .

As a continuation of my previous blog posting, I'd like to share some ideas
from writing consultant Renee Houser: 

"We can live wide-awake writerly lives and capture these moments in our writing notebooks by: 
  •  Writing about things that matter to you, you feel strongly about or perhaps want others to change or think about. . . let your voice be heard!
  • Searching for an object on your body or in your surroundings that may spark a memory
  • Time-lining part of your day
  • Observing people, places, sounds. . .
  • Collecting words, phrases, or parts of texts
  • Rereading old entries and find more to say
  • Rereading old entries in a way that it sparks a new or different memory
  • Sketching a place and then write about it
  • Making a list of things you want to write about, pick one and start writing
  • Being inspired by photographs or artifacts
  • Making a list of questions or wonderings and then search for answers or other questions and thoughts
  • Saying it better. . . reread an entry and find a line or phrase you think you wrote well and write it again, better, clearer . . . "
If beginner writers follow the guidelines above, they won't find themselves in the predicament Cat does in my book, Cat Can't Write.

                     Click here to read the book about Cat

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Scenes from 2nd Grade Writing Workshop

I was invited to my friend Renee Keeler's 2nd grade classroom to observe a model lesson (along with all the 2nd grade teachers in the district)  with consultant Renee Houser. She trained with Lucy Culkins and is with a group called "Growing Educators." All the teachers met with Renee H. first, but there was a mix-up with the subs, so I, having a credential, volunteered to take over for a half hour. I read a biography of Dr. Suess, then the students read a version on their own. Notice the level of engagement. Loved it!      
Here's Renee Houser, above, conferencing with a table of writers.
Renee's class is set up for "The Daily Five," so you can see lots of "busy brains" in the following photos. 
This story is off to a great start! Notice how this child planned the story by drawing a picture first.

Renee Houser demonstrated how she uses a graph, below,  to show how writing workshop time is divided. This is on display and referred to often. The sticky note star is moved to each section. Time is allowed for:  Set Up (materials), Meeting (planning, mini-lesson), a big chunk of Independent Writing Time, Partner Work, more Independent Writing Time, and Wrap-UP.

Scenes from the classroom. I love the self-portraits and the Daily Five Posters. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Scenes from CA Readers Luncheon on Feb. 26th, 2011

Me with legendary children's author Eve Bunting
New Books!

Rene Colato Lainez and Alexis O'Neill
Rene with his book featuring The Tooth Fairy and a cute rat.

The entire Leo Politi Collection.

59th Street School displays the reader's theatre project they created tied to the CA Collection.