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enhancing classroom writing
Enhancing Classroom Writing

“…but I still encourage anyone who feels at all compelled to write to do so. I just try to warn people who hope to get published that publication is not all that it is cracked up to be. But writing is. Writing has so much to give, so much to teach, so many surprises. That thing you had to force yourself to do – the actual act of writing- turns out to be the best part. .. The act of writing turns out to be its own reward.

“I’ve managed to get some work done nearly every day of my adult life, without impressive financial success. Yet I would do it all over again in a hot second, mistakes and doldrums and breakdowns and all. Sometimes I could not tell you exactly why, especially when it feels pointless and pitiful, like Sisyphus with cash-flow problems. Other days, though, my writing is like a person to me- the person who, after all these years, still makes sense to me. ..”

Anne Lamott in Bird by Bird

Adella Semidey & Karen Shantz


VANAS - January 22, 2010


This workshop will allow you to experience a variety of writing strategies firsthand as you write short pieces of fiction and non-fiction.


Our experience at the TTC course in Miami with Dr. Allen Koshewa.

writing a nf report
Writing a NF Report

Highlight some key words. Make web with main ideas and key words of text. Write paragraph based on web without looking at original text.

How People Live

In large cities, Mexicans dress similarly to people in the United States or European cities. They live in modern apartment buildings or houses. Homes in the wealthier areas are large and beautifully decorated. In city slums, though, poor people live in shacks made of cardboard or metal. Homes made of white adobe (sun-dried clay) with red tile roofs can be found throughout Mexico. In some regions, homes are made of wooden poles with thatched roofs.

Heinrichs, Ann. Mexico. Children’s Press; New York, 1997. p. 27

walt chart we are learning to
WALT Chart – (We Are Learning To…)

Brainstorm with students the characteristics that need to be present in the specific genre of writing being done.

Make your list in bullet form on chart paper.

Put a subtitle: We’ll Know We Have Done This Successfully When…

Display the chart in your classroom for students to refer to as they write.

guided imagery
Guided Imagery

Close your eyes and go back in time to your first memory.

Where are you? Who is with you? What emotions are you feeling? What is happening?

Go forward…

scientific analysis of fruit
Scientific Analysis of Fruit

With your group, discuss the part, location, properties, and possible function(s) of the fruit at your table.

TTC 2009: Enhancing Classroom Writing K-8

saturation writing
Saturation Writing

Sit in a location where you will have the opportunity to observe people passing by.

Sit quietly for 15 minutes, observing everyone who passes by.

Record everything you see and hear in point form.

Go back to your classroom and write a poem or short story about what you observed.

found poetry
Found Poetry

Keep a journal of funny/strange things you hear people say. You might want to try sitting in one place for several minutes to collect dialogue.

Use the various dialogues to write poetry.


Teaching that Makes Sense


Interactive Writing Prompts


NCTE Beliefs on Teaching Writing


K-6 Introduction to Writer’s Workshop


Writing Assessment Resources


story starters
Story Starters

Fortunately… unfortunately…

I used to be… now I am…

If I were a color, I’d be…

student work
Student Work

Fortunately I woke up with the sun.

Unfortunately it woke my little brother and he started crying.

Fortunately my mom came and took him away.

Unfortunately she sent me to get dressed and brush my teeth.

Fortunately I found my lost cell phone in my closet.

Unfortunately the batteries were almost dead.

Fortunately the charger was near.

Unfortunately I was shocked when I connected it.

Fortunately that woke me up.

Unfortunately my mom came and told me to hurry up.

Fortunately when I went to brush my teeth there wasn’t any more of that sour Listerine…

student work14
Student Work

Fortunately I was free to go to the pool.

Unfortunately it started to rain.

Fortunately the hotel had some umbrellas.

Unfortunately they were broken.

Fortunately I ran quickly into the hotel.

Unfortunately I tripped and fell into the pool.

Fortunately a lifeguard came and carried me into the hotel.

Unfortunately the hotel was not as warm as I expected.

Fortunately I had a sweater in the room.

Unfortunately I had lost the keys to the room.

Fortunately the janitor opened the door for me.

Unfortunately the room was a mess…

student work15
Student Work

I used to be a lonely person

Now I have lots of friends.

I used to be like a rock when I sleep

Now I am always rocking.

I used to be a student

Now I am the principal.

I used to be hairy

Now I am bald.

I used to be afraid of snakes

Now I live with them.

student work16
Student Work

I used to be afraid of water

Now I am a diver.

I used to be water

Now I am ice.

I used to be afraid of ants

Now I have an anthill.

I used to be a little seed

Now I am a big tree.

I used to be afraid of books

Now I am a librarian.

student work17
Student Work

If I were a color I’d be yellow…

Like the bright sun just coming up from the night and waking up every fellow.

Like the yellow apples, so sweet, that make people happy all day.

Like the sunflower’s petals, so thin, and so delicate.

Like an Oscar made of pure gold, staring at you proudly.

Like the stars shinning at night, their bright light blinding us.

Like a banana, so yummy, so sweet… when you peel it, its cuteness goes away.

student work18
Student Work

If I were a color I’d be blue…

I would make the sky shine blue and very bright.

I would make the sea glitter,

And not be so bitter.

I would make blueberry smoothies,

Blueberry muffins and cookies.

I would make awesome jeans

And make blue Jelly Beans.

I would make lakes so great, they wouldn’t be normal,

And right in the middle, you would need a dolphin’s dorsal.

I would be the chairs at my school –

They’re so cool, you might as well drool.