Lessons from Americas Choice

 

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Lessons from Americas Choice

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writers workshop the first 30 days 5th grade

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the national center s programs an overview since 1987 the national center on education and the economy® has been developing policies tools professional development and technical assistance to support states and communities determined to get their students to high internationally benchmarked academic and occupational standards the ncee® is the manager of the new standards® program which produced academic performance standards and matching assessments for the schools america s choice® school design is a comprehensive program that includes the tools professional development and technical assistance needed by schools and districts to implement standards-based reform the national center s workforce development program provides the designs assistance and policy guidance that the federal government states and localities need to implement world-class workforce development systems © 2004 by the national center on education and the economy® all rights reserved limited reproduction permission the publisher grants permission to participants of the america s choice training programs to reproduce pages as needed to conduct professional development activities for the school or schools they represent america s choice® school design and the america s choice® and ncee® logos are registered trademarks of the national center on education and the economy® new standards® is a registered trademark of the national center on education and the economy® and the university of pittsburgh 555 13th street nw suite 500 west washington dc 20004 telephone 202-783-3668 fax 202-783-3672 http www.ncee.org/

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table of contents introduction goals of the writers workshop first 30 days introducing students to authors their works writing lives and writing processes the importance of procedural knowledge rituals and routines teaching students to live their lives like writers 1 3 3 6 8 lessons first 30 days 5th grade introducing authors/thinking of ourselves as writers starting the writers workshop generating topics i generating topics ii setting up the writer s sourcebook moments that lead to writing what to do when you think you are finished beginnings using setting beginnings using action beginnings using character partner response getting writing up on the wall using the sourcebook to gather information seed ideas conference structure habits of good writers rubric rubric for habits organizing structures using transitions adding details setting adding details character great endings the writing process drafting response groups response groups modeling developing the characteristics of good writing rubric 13 15 17 23 29 32 36 41 47 50 54 57 60 62 67 71 76 81 86 89 92 96 99 102 105 108

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completing the characteristics of good writing rubric what revision means more work with revisions what editing means publishing student work sharing student published work 115 119 122 124 127 129 references references 131 133 appendices appendix a appendix b 135 137 141

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introduction

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goal softhewr it e r s worksh o p f ir st 3 0 days four primary goals of the first 30 days of lessons for the writers workshop are to introduce students to authors and their works teach students procedures for conducting the writers workshop help students understand that this year they will become writers they will learn to develop the habits and processes they need to become writers set the foundation for writing instruction and work for the rest of the year an important additional goal for english language learners · provide ways for all english language learners to participate in lessons the instructional process contained in the lessons will enable you to continue the writers workshop long after the first 30 days by using these lessons as models you can create additional lessons as needed to meet the needs of your students you may want to reteach and/or review lessons or aspects of lessons as appropriate for your students as well in tro duci ng s tu d e n ts to a u th o rs t he i r wo rk s w ri ti ng l i v es andw ri ti ng p roc esses you should introduce an author to your students before you read a book to or with them giving your students prior knowledge about the person who wrote a book that you will read together will help them understand that a real person wrote it connecting the real person the writer of the text to themselves their lives or lives of those they know personally can demystify the act of composition for both narrative and informational text and sharing with students some knowledge of a writer s process can help students connect to the way they can work on their own projects many authors openly talk about strategies they employ to think of stories or texts they wish to write and strategies building prior knowledge they use to create about authors and in a written work you can begin to search for this information by looking at general for english language learners is essential to their comprehension and understanding of new concepts and word knowledge the lessons contained in this document are meant to support you as the teacher in the establishment of the writers workshop in your classroom during the first 30 days of the school year and the lessons are also intended to build a foundation for the instruction and production of writing for the whole school year these lessons will help you put into practice the procedures necessary to ensure that students develop effective writing habits and help students focus on the craft of writing the lessons lead you and your students through a series of simple to complex learning experiences by employing a variety of modeling and think-aloud demonstrations that allow you to teach and students to observe and practice appropriate writing behaviors in troduct io n © 2005 america s choice

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the back cover inside cover preface or dust jacket of a book for information about the author and illustrator if there is little or no information immediately available multiple ways of learning about authors illustrators can be employed you can find information about authors from websites hosted by publishers or by an author or from interviews with an author in online magazines or newspapers a quick way to search for information beyond what is offered in the book is to use a search engine online by typing in the author s name you will likely find a good number of hits the most reliable web information about an author or their works or that includes interviews in which they talk about their writing will be a publisher s website or a site hosted by the author interviews may appear on other sites utilizing the work of authors online magazines who culturally represent the student population can or news sites or motivate students to become excerpts from writers and validate students print magazines cultural experiences or newspapers you will find information about authors and especially their thoughts on writing in books such as books are by people interviews with 104 authors and illustrators of books for young children by lee bennett hopkins more books by more people interviews with sixty-five authors of books for children by lee bennett hopkins how writers work finding a process that works for you by ralph fletcher meet the authors and illustrators volume 1 grades k­6 by deborah kovacs and james preller meet the authors grades 5­8 by deborah kovacs the big book of picture-book authors illustrators by james preller author talk conversations with by leonard s marcus and judy blume seeing the blue between advice and inspirations for young poets by paul b janeczko contemporary spanish-speaking writers and illustrators for children and young adults a biographical dictionary by isabel schon is a resource for finding more information on latino authors wondrous words by katie wood ray chapter 6 openhearted audience ten authors talk about writing for children by virginia haviland talking books children s authors talk about the craft creativity and process of writing by james carter often biographies of authors or profiles will contain information on how an author works creates edits or thinks about writing you could search online or through a bookseller for profiles or biographies using phrases such as profiles of children s authors biographies of writers of children s literature children s nonfiction writers profiles intro duc tio n © 2005 america s choice

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latino author information can be found through the following · http www.books@delsolbooks.com as well there are other websites you might want to explore that include a variety of information about authors and/or illustrators including random house kids random meet the authors a long list of authors with links to information and additional websites http www.randomhouse.com/kids author scholastic book central authors and illustrators links with brief descriptions and photos http www.scholastic.com/titles authors children s book council about authors illustrators this site contains a variety of authors and illustrators profiles lists and other information http www.cbcbooks.org/html aboutauthors.html author yellow pages this site lets you search by genre or author name http www.authoryellowpages.com many authors use their names or a variation on a name as the url these are easily found through a search engine the google search engine was used to find the following http www.janeyolen.com http www.patriciapolacco.com http www.eric-carle.com http www.memfox.com http www.billmartinjr.com/bill.htm http www.betsybyars.com http www.cynthiarylant.com latino author websites publisher s websites are useful for locating information on authors and finding links to additional sites the following websites are three of many examples check the publisher of a book you wish to read to or with your students and do an online search for that publisher s site you may find a rich repository of information about the author/illustrator houghton mifflin authors and illustrators a large listing of links to author profiles and urls for author s websites or places to visit for additional information http www.eduplace.com/kids/hmr mtai/index.html sharing information about · http patmora.com authors lives can · http garysoto.com be as much fun · http almaflorada.com and as important · http sandracisneros.com as sharing information about how when or why they write it puts the real life of a real person together with the text as you share information be sure students in troduct io n © 2005 america s choice

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make the connections between authors their processes and the end results and be sure to remind students that they too will undergo similar processes as they begin to write and live their lives as writers through their participation in the writers workshop the imp ortanceof procedu ralkno wle d g e ri tual sandrout in e s 1 in writers workshop rituals how something is done and routines when something is done are created with students so that procedures become habits and students can rely on the structure necessary to learn study read and write when all members of your classroom-learning community understand what must be done how it must be done and when the flow of teaching and learning need not be interrupted or stopped during the first 30 days of establishing the writers workshop an imperative key vital crucial important gotta-get-itdone focus is on establishing classroom procedures you will want to make sure that rituals and routines are firmly established within your classroom you will need to review expectations frequently and may even have to revisit specific lessons as needed how successfully you set up the rituals and routines from the beginning will determine the level of success both you and your students will have during the year the structure rituals and routines provide itself allows english language learners with predictability in their for instruction learning environment and independent allows students to focus on work time and learning new content most importantly conferring the workshop consists of an opening meeting a work period and a closing meeting within each of these routines rituals will be established that will help you and your students understand what needs to happen and how so that maximum teaching and learning ensues throughout each day and throughout the year a challenge many teachers face in the writers workshop with the opening work period and closing is ensuring the right amount of time is allocated for each routine and how you allocate time will communicate the value you place on instruction student work and reflection it is important to remain aware of the length of time you take for each part of the workshop so that your students have the opportunity to spend time actually writing or working on their writing every day however it is important to note that sometimes the lessons in the opening meeting will run longer at the beginning of the year in the first year of writers workshop implementation as more needs to be taught at the start of the year rituals and routines and content 1 besides the writing monograph on rituals and routines you can consult the collection of procedural lessons lessons establishing the writers workshop the lessons in that document cover a variety of procedures that will be important supplements to these lessons for the first 30 days of the school year intro duc tio n © 2005 america s choice

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o p e n in gmeeting 5 ­ 1 5 minu tes 2 in the opening meeting you teach a short 5to 10-minute lesson focused on the workshop routine procedures author s craft or skills this is the routine that helps students move into independent partner or group work in the work period in the opening you can set the focus for the workshop s writing tasks by the content of the lesson after the lesson students can move into the work period where they can apply what was taught in the lesson from beginning to end this routine should take no more than 15 minutes work period however if a lesson is taught in the opening meeting that requires students to try a writing strategy or even practice a ritual the first thing scheduled in the work period should be that try-it so the teaching of the lesson can be applied while the experience is fresh try-it using specific strategies from the opening lesson in sourcebook write independently plan a writing piece draft in sourcebook re-read entries in sourcebooks to plan for topics and appropriate genres participate in partner response groups participate in small response groups finish a draft review past lessons edit your work confer with teacher participate in small-group instruction think of new ideas to write about and include entries in sourcebook with dates opening meeting tips for helping english language learners provide visuals drawings artifacts realia and models to make lessons comprehensible wo rkperiod 3 5 ­ 4 5 minutes 3 during this routine your students will apply what was modeled in the opening lesson it is through the opening lesson that students will learn what to do in the work period and what possibilities exist for their work over the year as students learn more about how to work in writers workshop they will be able to engage in one or more of the following activities you should set the agenda in the beginning of the year as students learn to work like writers the following are some of the possibilities for a 2 see the writing monograph rituals routines and artifacts classroom management and the writers workshop for more information on rituals routines and how artifacts support the workshop 3 the work period will necessarily look different for kindergarten and 1st grade as those students will not be doing more advanced writing work nor working in a sourcebook see those particular lessons for a deeper understanding of the work period for those grades work period tips for teaching english language learners student responses in the work period will vary based on their english proficiency the earlier the english proficiency stages the more support english language learners will need to implement the trying of strategies in troduct io n © 2005 america s choice

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the most important factor in the success of the writers workshop is the accountability you and your students share for what happens in this routine you need to hold students accountable for what they know must be done and eventually they will begin to hold each other accountable closing meeting tips for teaching english language learners english language learners will benefit from repeated modeling practice and application of the various rituals in the closing routine c lo s in gmeeting 5 ­ 1 0 minut es the writers workshop ends with the whole group refocusing on what was accomplished through the lessons and its immediate application as well you may choose to include these possibilities read-around each student shares a favorite sentence they used in their writing in which they used interesting language or details sharing a try-it students share their attempts at using a writing strategy and what difference this made to their writing teacher sharing an important issue raised in a conference author s chair students share their work and ask for specific response small-group sharing an accomplishment partners sharing a strategy for reading each other s work evaluation and solving of problems what worked for a writer what did not what help may be appropriate through the rituals and routines of the writers workshop you give students the opportunity to write daily and learn a process for writing that includes planning drafting getting response conferring with you the teacher revising editing and publishing their work analyzing text structures writing strategies and authors style of writing in a variety of genres is part of the overall goal for writers workshop students are shown models of proficient writers and learn how to learn from writers students always have more than one exposure to a writer and the craft of a text more on touchstone and mentor texts in following sections the writers workshop is also the time when students begin to understand the mechanics of language and become proficient at editing and proofreading their own writing so that their work is easily read by others tea c h i ng s tu d e n ts to l i ve theirlivesli ke w ri te rs students will need to understand and practice the habits strategies and processes of good writers in order to begin to live their lives like writers you can lead them to the knowledge they need and guide them to discover how to apply that new knowledge to their own writing the information you gather and share as you learn about authors can and will the closing provides a necessary reflection back through the workshop and a sense that students are not working in isolation that they are all part of a writing and learning community that values and celebrates each other s writing intro duc tio n © 2005 america s choice

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help you teach your students about writing so that they may create and live like writers in your classroom and beyond you will find useful information to help students learn about the writing process in the writing monograph series these documents explain the various parts of the writing process and offer information about rituals and routines as well titles in this series include rituals routines and artifacts classroom management and the writers workshop mini-lessons for the writers workshop planning a rehearsal for writing drafting getting words on paper response groups providing feedback to writers writing conferences revising writing editing for clarity and conventions author s chair bringing closure to the writers workshop a sourcebook in the writers workshop to collect writing ideas notice the world around them and take notes and experiment with and try out different writing strategies some of the information you share about authors can help you show students how writers work touchstone and mentor texts will also be sources of inspiration for students more on these below at the end of the first 30 days the goal is that students will have begun to think of themselves as writers the sourcebook 4 becoming a writer requires working like a writer writers look all around them to find and record ideas for writing both fiction and nonfiction writers also write down favorite words striking sentences descriptive passages or make notes of chapters or pages in books that they really want to remember one way writers help themselves to remember all of these inspiring moments and create more is to use a writer s notebook called a sourcebook in the writers workshop because it is a source for a writer to return to again and again for help in writing writers also try out new strategies in the sourcebook they may mimic the way a book opens or ends they may try to replicate a certain way of describing a character or setting they could also use the sourcebook for testing various if english language learners graphics or are not yet ready to write in illustrations to english allow and encourage support or enrich them to write in their sourcebooks in their primary a piece of fiction language if they are able or nonfiction 4 kindergarten and 1st-grade writers do not work in a sourcebook see the lessons for these grades to determine how to show young students how to work like writers through a careful inspection of these monographs you will find information to help you define and teach the writing process rituals and routines as well as how to help students begin to live their lives like writers it will be your students growing knowledge of writing that will help you help them become proficient writers in and out of school one of the key factors in students writing success can be learning how to use a writer s notebook students need to learn how authors use writer s notebooks called in troduct io n © 2005 america s choice

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no matter what goes into the sourcebook writers write in it every day entries could consist of a record of things a writer finds engaging ideas for a story or report descriptions of people real or fictional phrases that sound appealing getting-started activities descriptions of places sounds smells a mood or feeling lines from a poem outline for a piece of writing or other tools for planning snippets of an overheard conversation dialogue for two or more characters reflections drafts for pieces various genres notes of responses from partners or peers a try-it the application of author s craft strategies taught in a lesson or in a conference or small-group instruction sourcebooks can be anything from spiral notebooks to composition notebooks to folders as you explore the writing lives of authors you and your students will learn that some author s write notes on any piece of paper they can find and then stuff them in a shoebox for later reference and inspiration besides the source students will create for themselves via the sourcebook you can provide two other resources for students that can serve as learning and inspirational tools these are touchstone texts and mentor texts touchstone tex ts touchstone5 texts are an integral part of writers workshop as they provide models of good writing that will help students become more proficient and skilled writers see appendix a for the book list and order form for your grade they are a collection of texts you use repeatedly to model the craft of writing texts can be used in multiple ways to teach multiple strategies touchstone texts must be carefully chosen by you the teacher in preparation for launching a writers workshop touchstone texts should include books from multiple genres that inspire you with writing that is well-crafted books that you and your students will want to discuss and analyze over and over and that although more sophisticated than student writing are reasonable models of good writing touchstone texts work as models to teach author s craft because students become 5 a touchstone is something by which you may assess or evaluate the quality or genuineness of something else as the term touchstone text is used in this document it would be one which allowed you to analyze and understand the strategies an author uses resulting in an application of that understanding to inform your own writing see lucy calkins the art of teaching writing for more information on touchstone and mentor texts important entries in the sourcebook are try-its these should be kept in their own section as a record of what students have attempted and a resource for students as they write throughout the year try-its take place immediately following opening lessons and require students to try out the strategy or technique that was taught or modeled in that lesson intro duc tio n © 2005 america s choice

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familiar with the content and then can go beyond that to consider how the text is put together the way an author develops or uses character setting punctuation sequence detail ending dialogue etc through repeated readings and multiple lessons that illuminate author s craft in the texts or highlight appropriate skills students need to practice e.g punctuation syntax diction etc that can be modeled by referring to parts of the text you can help students learn from these touchstone texts they are the touchstones that you can return to repeatedly throughout the year to teach and reteach using touchstone texts written by bilingual authors show students ways to use their first language combined with english in interesting and authentic ways these lessons are built around carefully chosen touchstone texts that you can keep in your classroom to teach students about author s craft this year and for years to come however you should not restrict reading aloud or teaching to only these texts throughout the year you should plan to add to this list of books over time so you have many touchstone texts to use to teach a variety of author s craft strategies choosing touchstone texts considerations for english language learners does the book target a particular language challenge that needs to be explicitly taught in the context of the lesson for instance · style and syntax · word order · prepositions · dialogue · interesting ways to use bilingual texts · description · details · transitional words · idiomatic expressions at the beginning of the year your students may not be as familiar with the content of a touchstone text since you may not have a chance to read the book to or with your students before you teach a strategy from it but you will be using the same books over time and repeating important strategy lessons eventually students will know the content of the text and be able to better learn the strategy you are modeling/teaching and you will find that writing instruction founded on reading great writing and analyzing writer s technique is a powerful way to help young writers learn about the craft of writing and how to apply it to their own written work it is by studying published authors that students learn how to gather ideas for writing develop topics of interest craft writing into something purposeful and become more confident in their abilities as writers there are also a number of resources available to help you find more touchstone texts for your students ralph fletcher in craft lessons 1998 cites paper boy as a terrific touchstone text because it can be used to teach nine different writing strategies in wondrous words 1999 katie wood ray offers lists of books with various features for teaching chapter 9 as well sets of touchstone texts may be found through exploration of websites for various publishers and booksellers indeed even your state or district may have book lists that could help you determine additional touchstone texts for your classroom sharing books among in troduct io n © 2005 america s choice

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colleagues and using texts you currently have in your school or local public library can be some ways to gain if temporarily additional texts to teach writing when you choose a touchstone text you should ask yourself the following questions if you can answer yes to most of these questions then you may have found a touchstone text descriptions of settings characters or their development ways to begin or end a story or informational piece and how to employ illustration to the best advantage are all possible ways for students to learn from a mentor text or author you can encourage students to find authors and favorite books that they can turn to again and again to learn craft observe word choice evaluate sentence structure and more having as many books as possible in the classroom and available for students to read and explore is vital to helping students find mentor texts or authors if you cannot keep permanent collections in your room you might be able to share groups of books with other grade-level teachers or check out books from your school library to keep in your room for short periods of time see appendix b for a list of optional texts that might be a place to start gathering possible mentor texts the list contains books for a variety of grade levels and each book includes a character who writes do you as the teacher love the book have you read the book more than once and talked about it with your students do your students read the book or want to read the book without you do all your students have access to the book at least over time are there parts of the book that can serve as good examples of more than one writing strategy is the book a genre that you are exploring or going to explore me ntor te xtsa mentor text can be a touchstone text but it may also be another text which is a favorite of a student while a touchstone text is something all the students in the class share and is a teaching tool a mentor text can be something an individual student finds inspirational as well students may find a particular author worthy of being their mentor students use mentor texts the same way you use touchstone texts to teach the whole class students read and reread until the content is familiar and they can then concentrate on how the author writes rather than what happens in the text using a mentor text to get ideas for intro duc tio n © 2005 america s choice

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