Writing Workshops PLUS. Managing the complex demands of teaching writing (and still remembering to have fun) University of Wisconsin Reading Research Symposium June 27, 2009 Dr Kath Glasswell Griffith University [email protected] In “REAL” life people write to DO real things.
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Writing IS purposeful
Writing is learned and used in meaningful contexts where the goal is to do something OTHER than ‘produce the writing’
People write to:
conduct social and cultural customs “gust a little something”
persuade others to do things “Dear Mum”
manage their work lives “I cant work here”
report information “Kookaburras”
explore and express their own feelings “antiebodys”
Children and OTHERSJOINTLY constructdevelopment inwriting(Glasswell, 1999, Glasswell, Parr & McNaughton,2003, McNaughton, 1995).
Joint construction takes place as children:
observeexpert writers at work (and want to become like them)
are engagedin meaningful writing WITH more skilled writers
experimentindependently as writers
Do our classroom programs provide meaningful opportunities for ALL these avenues of learning?
Learning to write is not a solitary activity.
“Literacy Floats on a Sea of Talk” (Britton, 1976)
In home and community contexts, talk and collaboration support learner-writers’ efforts.
Research in school and home contexts tells us that literacy learning is enhanced when the activity SURROUNDING it provides motivation, affirmation, purpose and identity (Dyson, 2003; McNaughton, 1995, 2003)
Writing is done to learn the writing
“The big people write, they write the alphabet and stuff we, the little folks got to write” (Dyson, 1982)
The purpose is work
“We’ve got to! [write at school]. You have to do the writing - everybody does- that’s what you do at school”
“You’ve got to learn the writing. You need to do the words right”
She [the teacher] shows us what to do so when we get to high school we’ll know and that” (Glasswell, 1999)
Writing is used to assess you
“Well, so the principal can see it and see how you’re doing…And see if your teacher is doing a good job”(Glasswell, 1999)
Our goals for children’s learning should be reflected in our teaching
These goals impact
the ways we organize for writing
the tasks we undertake
our instructional emphases
the ways we use our language to support learning
the assessment tools and procedures we use to understand where writers are at
All these carry powerful messages about what it’s all about(and sometimes the messages are mixed)
Assessment tools for
teaching and learning
Writing Workshop PLUS:
Learning to tell stories
in 4th grade
The genesis of a Writing Workshop PLUS
Teachers and children co-constructing development in writing
They reported that they focused on
Implicit and explicit teaching in writing was occurring simultaneously
Planning (Forming intentions):
Who am I writing this for? Why am I writing this?
What do I want to say? What’s the best way to do this job?
How shall I organize this ?
What should go in here? How do I write that?
Will this do the job? Have I produced what I intended?
Does this look right? Does it show I know what I’m doing?
Do I need to check anything?
What should this look like? Do I need visuals?
Conferences were of 2 types “roving” (informal and impromptu) and more structured (formal)
Differences from Y1-Y8 in who requested conferences
Y1 teacher controlled
Y8 student controlled (reflects a view of writer autonomy)
Way 1: Confuse Quantity with Quality
Way 2: Let Yourself Be Interrupted (More Often and for Longer) while You Work
Way 3: Place Your Major Instructional Emphasis Consistently on Low Levels of Text
Way 4: Promote Their Dependence on You by Taking Responsibility for Their Actions
If your achievement profile is systematically “patterned”, what consequences are there for your identity as a writer?
(*often about what they lacked rather than their competencies)
writing “lacks a certain something” (Y8)
“No ideas” (Y8)
“Vocabulary is poor” (Y5)
“Doesn’t try” (Y5)
“He’s hard work” (Y5)
“No flair” (Y8)
“Takes risks” (Y1)
“Willing to have a go” (Y1)
“Uses resources well” (Y8)
Good vocabulary (Y5)Teachers’ perceptions of good and struggling writers
Y1 teachers: All agree that it is possible that struggling writers will develop into good writers
Y5 teachers: Possible: It could happen, but it’s unlikely
Y8 teachers: 2/3 “Not now”. “It’s too late”
Teachers demonstrated less faith in the possibilities for learning as kids progress through the school.
Pssstt - That’s not REAL writing
Sean- (Y1) already accomplished at avoidance tactics
William (Y5) erases his slimy night text after several days of work and starts the next piece of “work” over the top of it.
Kylie (Y8) “I’m not good at this- I never get the spelling right”
At Y8 Sarah no longer cares about spelling- “she [her teacher] will fix it up for me”
Alison (Y1) “You can tell people what you did at the weekend and that”
Danielle (Y5) is writing a book in her own time
At Y8 Colin conferences himself in the teacher’s presence and assigns his own (realistic) grade!Writers’ identities were being developed in quite different ways
Assessment Tools for Teaching and Learning
National testing “in teachers’ hands”
Thanks to Prof John Hattie and the asTTle team
(mapping children’s development in writing according to ECNZ achievement outcomesat Levels 2 – 4)
the writer and the context
Text: content and structure
Conventions:sentences and words
“I think it was difficult before to know what writers could do. Like we said, ‘that’s a report’ and it had no levels of development in it- now we can say that is a level two report writer and we can see what they know and what we need to teach to move them on.”
“…we were reminded when we were marking with this that yes, actually-we haven’t really taught this. And if we’ve taught it, we haven’t taught it well. Because it is …you sort of don’t know a lot about… or you tell yourself you don’t know a lot about the genre so we tend to go constantly with narrative or report writing and you think you’re doing report writing well- But when we did the marking we started thinking ‘Oh no– perhaps not!”
e.g. “different sorts of texts have different structures”
e.g. “not just adjectives” but looking at how they work”
e.g. “…we need to think about linguistic and structural features of the texts when we are teaching them”
What have you changed?
–modeling what I am looking for.
-being more explicit about grammar within context.
-teaching of the language resources associated with the function.
“It reminded me again of things like…you have to talk to children about the language that they use… cos there was all that talk about compound and simple sentences and noun-stacking and adjectives and verbs that were used and it reminded me again of how important it is and that you cannot actually separate out aspects of grammar.”
A critical take on “spin”
“In what ways do writers shape readers’ understandings of their texts?”
“How’s it getting at ya?”
Learning process and strategy
Making informed decisions about writing
Learning about texts
Critical reflections on texts and grammars
Learning to encode meaning in text
Breaking the written codes of the meaning making systems
Learning to talk about texts and processes
A meta-language for talking about writing
Learning to BE a WRITER
Ownership, identity, motivation and engagement
USE strategies, model and EXPLAIN decision-making,
deconstruct texts and language in use
Joint writing for real-life or life like purposes
Small group modeling
Engage and coach throughout the process
Use different grouping strategies
USE writing: reflect, analyze, craft extended pieces
Monitor time and focus
discuss, guide, coach
authentic audiences, focus on helpful feed-forward as well as feedback,
time to shine for ALL
See scoring anchors
See tips on scoring
BENCHMARKS Working on Meeting Exceeding
COMMUNICATION OF IDEAS ABOUT THE BOOK*
COMMUNICATING WITH MY READER
I can write some parts of a story or tell a brief story. My readers may be left with many questions.
I can tell a story. My story shows that I am thinking about writing for another person. I include information a reader needs.
I can use narrative writing to entertain. I am clearly attempting to be creative and interesting for my readers.
AUDIENCE & PURPOSE
AUDIENCE AND PURPOSE
Paragraphs are detailed and well developed. Whole text is effectively managed. Overall natural language flow achieved and enhanced through the use of strong transitions.
I can write about a topic and include a few details. Most of my ideas belong in the story.
Paragraphs are used and mainly include sentences on the same topic. An overall STORY structure is present.
I can keep to my topic, including main ideas and several details to develop my story.
I can write a detailed and focused story. I develop characters, setting and plot.
Paragraphs are self-contained and the organization is managed. Letter flows from beginning to end.
CHOICE AND USE OF LANGUAGE
I can write my story using simple words. Little description is present.
I can use some descriptive words and phrases in my writing.
I can choose descriptive words, phrases and use figurative language to create images.
LANGUAGE AND ORGANIZATIONAL FEATURES
I can order some parts of my story. Other parts may jump around and confuse readers.
I can manage my story from beginning to end. My story has a clear structure
I can write a story with a beginning, middle and end.
I can use simple paragraphs. I may just use one paragraph for my story. Some sentences may be out of place.
I can use elaborated and focused paragraphs with transitions to help my story flow.
I use simple paragraphs . Some paragraphs have detail. Most sentences belong together.
I can use simple and compound sentences correctly most of the time.
I can use simple, compound correctly and some complex sentences.
I can use a variety of sentences correctly. I vary them to enhance the language flow.
I can apply simple rules correctly most of the
time. I may be trying to use more complex spelling & punctuation.
I can use simple spelling, simple punctuation, and grammar correctly some of the time.