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Raise the Roof on Student Writing Authentic Writing Experiences Rowan Literacy Consortium. Steve Zemelman. Let’s hear from you First!. On one side of card : a step your team has taken; or one great new idea or strategy you’ve introduced.

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raise the roof on student writing authentic writing experiences rowan literacy consortium

Raise the Roof on Student WritingAuthentic Writing ExperiencesRowan Literacy Consortium

Steve Zemelman

let s hear from you first
Let’s hear from you First!
  • On one side of card: a step your team has taken; or one great new idea or strategy you’ve introduced.
  • On second side of card: one question you have about writing (not that I can address everything in a day).
  • When finished, share with a partner.

(By the way, this is a writing-to-learn activity.)

our agenda
Our Agenda
  • First, your current status and thinking.
  • A few concepts (briefly) about “authentic” writing and Common Core plusses & minuses.
  • Building engagement for writing: responding to short, real-world nonfiction articles.
  • Work time for application to your projects.
  • Building engagement: Writing on students’ own questions about self & world.
  • Additional work time.
  • Some handy tools for formative assessment.
  • Going beyond individual classrooms.
building student engagement in writing
Building Student Engagement in Writing
  • “Authenticity” – real audiences, real purposes, issues that matter & that students care about.
  • Student choice.
  • Writing as a tool for learning (useful in school as well as step to engagement).
good things about common core writing standards
Good things about Common Core Writing Standards
  • Three types of writing (not just argument).
  • Recognizes importance of writing process.
  • Values the role of audience & purpose in shaping writing.
  • Research gets an entire standard.
  • Frequent writing of variety of types & purposes.
limitations to common core writing standards
Limitations to Common Core Writing Standards
  • Listed elements of writing types are pedestrian, uninspiring.
  • Not much recognition of writing to learn.
  • Young kids can do more than standards say.
  • No logic to grammar & mechanics at various grade levels.
  • Implementation focuses on argument – but story is equally important in human activity.
  • No explanation WHY a given skill matters.
  • Tone is joyless.

But teachers can go beyond the limitations and raise the roof to make writing exciting and meaningful for our students.So we focus today on creating engagement to get writing started.

writing in response to nonfiction articles choose one
Writing in response to nonfiction articles – Choose one
  • Video Game Addiction a Real Problem
  • Dementia Risk in NFL Football
  • Boss Hog: the bacon we love means vast, deadly pig waste on farms
  • The Superbug in Your Supermarket
  • The Long Walk – Navaho suffering during 1863 forced march.
sticky note annotation symbols
Sticky-Note Annotation Symbols
  • = This is important.
  • ! = This is surprising to me.
  • X = I disagree with this.
  • ? = I’m puzzled by this.
  • Then add a phrase with your comment.
five card writing starter
Five Card Writing Starter
  • On first card: Jot words or phrases related to the article. Refer to your sticky notes as you do this.
  • On second card: Pick one thing that stands out from the first card, something you can tell more about. Write to explain about it.
  • On third card: You have a choice. Tell about another item from the first card. Or write a statement about what the article is trying to show.
five card starter continued
Five Card Starter, Continued
  • On fourth card:Same choices as third card. Or if you wrote a statement about what the article shows, use info you marked with sticky notes for evidence that backs the statement up.
  • On fifth card: Same choices as fourth card.

When finished, each group member share one bit you wrote on one of your cards.

let s debrief
Let’s debrief -

Strategies we experienced:

  • Short, engaging, nonfiction reading
  • Participant choice
  • Sticky notes with annotation symbols (tool to help students spot & use evidence)
  • Five card starter (helps writers elaborate, explain evidence, & then organize their ideas)
  • Importance of modeling

This activity could expand into a larger inquiry project.

what about applications in early grades
What about applications in early grades?
  • Let’s take a look at a first grade teacher Kristin Ziemke’s students using sticky notes in science books on animals.
time for a break
Time for a Break!

How about 10 minutes.

work time for teams
Work time for teams

Tell us how you wish to use the time. Options:

  • Plan application of a strategy used just now, for your team project.
  • Work on plans you’ve already begun to develop.
using writers workshop to organize classroom work
Using writers’ workshop to organize classroom work
  • Actual writing gets done.
  • Teacher gets to observe students writing.
  • Student choice is important.
  • Mini-lesson provides direct teaching.
  • One-on-one conferences enable individualized instruction.
  • Builds community – sharing at end of period.
gradual release of responsibility
Gradual Release of Responsibility
  • I do while you watch.
  • We do together.
  • You do with my support.
  • You do with partner or group.
  • You do independently.
  • A key aspect of writers’ workshop.
  • Makes visible to students what good writers do.
  • Shows teacher as a competent adult.
types of mini lessons in workshop
Types of Mini-Lessons in Workshop
  • Elements of the type of writing being taught (such as marshalling evidence, for argument writing)
  • Modeling curiosity, questioning, everything, really
  • Making thoughtful choices, so student choice works well
  • Noticing important ideas in readings used
  • Using annotation symbols & sticky-notes
  • Searching for reliable info on web (but not copying)
  • Choice of lessons depends on grade-level
writing based on questions about oneself and the world
Writing Based on Questions About Oneself and the World
  • Fold a sheet of paper in half.
  • On top half: Jot questions – things you wonder – about yourself and your life.
  • On bottom half: Things you wonder about the world around you.
compare questions in teams
Compare questions in teams
  • Each team choose a scribe to record questions on chart.
  • Each team member share one question from your “self” list. Share in repeated rounds until most questions are listed.
  • On chart, group similar questions together.
  • Then do the same for “world” questions.
  • Finally, each team identify one question that all or most members would like to learn more about, to find answers.
write around
  • Each person write briefly about the chosen question – why it’s important, what you think about it, or further questions it brings up.
  • On my signal: In your teams, each person pass your writing around the circle to your right.
  • Respond to the ideas in the writing handed to you.
  • Pass to the right again.
  • Read the two entries and add your response.
  • Continue until sheets get to original owners.

Turn and talk to a neighbor: How could this process be adapted in various grade levels, subject areas? Or for a novel?

Activities covered:

  • Starting with students’ self and world questions
  • Small group work
  • Write around
  • Turn and talk, itself
work time
Work time

Tell us how you wish to use the time. Options:

  • Plan application of a strategy used just now, for your team project.
  • Work on plans you’ve already begun to develop.
  • “Rolling break” as needed.
t ools to support formative assessment
Tools to Support Formative Assessment
  • Writing goals sheet
  • Writing strategies log
  • Writing strategies log with categories
  • Status of class chart
  • Observation/conferring sticky-note chart
  • Writing conference record sheet
  • Revising and editing checklist
professional resources
Professional Resources
  • Bonnie Campbell Hill, Cynthia Ruptic & Lisa Norwick, Classroom Based Assessment (out of print but available on Amazon)
  • Harvey Daniels & Nancy Steineke, Texts and Lessons for Content-Area Reading.
  • Harvey Daniels & Steve Zemelman, Content-Area Writing.
  • Harvey Daniels & Steve Zemelman, Subjects Matter: Exceeding Standards Through Powerful Content-Area Reading (2nd edition out in April, 2014).
  • Ralph Fletcher & JoAnn Portalupi, Writing Workshop.
  • Stephanie Harvey & Harvey Daniels, Comprehension & Collaboration: Inquiry Circles in Action.
thinking about change in school s
Thinking About Change in Schools
  • Many great teaching initiatives fail to take hold in schools. Why??
  • Plans must address change process that works with the social dynamic in a school.
  • Mandates from above vs. mutual responsibility, leadership, & support among teachers.
  • Single focus instead of “Christmas tree” of initiatives.
  • Structure that involves teachers, a development process, specific goals & timelines.
organize whole school growth with an instructional leadership team
Organize whole school growth with an Instructional Leadership Team
  • Teachers represent grade levels and/or departments.
  • Team develops norms for working together, solving disagreements, getting tasks done.
  • Team communicates with & gets feedback from all teachers.
  • Identifies a specific teaching/learning strategy.
  • Plans a well-defined implementation process.
  • Reviews progress in the school as a whole.
building support in the wider community
Building Support in the Wider Community
  • You do this good work – does community know?
  • We educators don’t toot our own horns – but negative views of public education are rampant.
  • We need to tell positive stories in public media.
  • Many administrators will support this. (Example: Western Mass. Writing Project newspaper stories)
  • Help for this is at: http://teachersspeakup.com
  • TEDx talk examples: search TEDxWellsStreetED on Youtube.
thanks for a great day working together
Thanks for a great day working together!

I’ll want to hear about your progress as the year continues.

-- Steve Z.