Teaching Writing

Discussion in 'Fourth Grade' started by mstnteacherlady, Jun 10, 2009.

  1. mstnteacherlady

    mstnteacherlady Cohort

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    Jun 10, 2009

    I am interested in hearing how other 4th grade teachers teach writing. I've been reading a lot about Writing Workshop, and I'm not sure if that's the approach I want to take in my classroom. I am moving from a grade (5th) where writing is tested and moving to a grade where it is not. I'm trying to decide if there's another approach I'd like to take in teaching writing...and I need help from others who are better at it than I. So, what is your process for teaching writing? What does a normal week look like in writing for your class? Do you have a specific structure or schedule you follow each time you teach writing?
     
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  3. 773 Miles Away

    773 Miles Away Comrade

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    Jun 10, 2009

    This link is pretty awesome. Scroll down for the writing aspect. It deals with the Writer's Workshop, if you're still contemplating using that method. I am going to be tackling ELA for the first time this fall (we are adjusting the way we departmentalize) and I'm probably going to use the workshop method.

    http://quest.carnegiefoundation.org/~dpointer/jennifermyers/workshopapproach.htm#openingroutine

    I am still interested in what others think as well though... as I will be giving writing a go for the first time in a long time.
     
  4. Cpark

    Cpark Rookie

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    Jun 14, 2009

    I will be teaching 4th grade next year (just graduated) and when I student taught in 2nd grade, I did writers workshop.

    I did a little 10-15 minute mini-lesson about a writing lesson (writing a letter, subject and verb, etc. "theme" for the week) and then the students had ~45 minutes to write about the topic I put on the board, focusing on what we talked about before. Each day had a different topic they had to write about, still following the weeks "theme". Every day, each student would share their writing with the class

    On wednesdays or thursdays they would begin to peer edit each others work and then by friday they should have "mastered" that topic
     
  5. MrsS2009

    MrsS2009 Rookie

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    Jun 15, 2009

    When I student taught in 4th grade, we used Writer's Workshop & I liked it a lot. Cpark described it exactly. I just got my first 4th grade teaching job and they are sending me to the Effective Literacy (ELF) workshop, so maybe something like that would help you!
     
  6. Cpark

    Cpark Rookie

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    Jun 15, 2009

    I don't remember exactly what book I used but that sounds familiar. It had a "pacing guide" inside the front cover if you wanted to follow that... I kind of followed my own thing and taught what I thought would benefit my kids at the time.
     
  7. Mrs. Porter

    Mrs. Porter Rookie

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    Jun 18, 2009

    Writing is my hardest subject to teach because they are all at different spots in their writing, and they all need your help.
     
  8. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    Jun 18, 2009

    Our district adapted a writing program that has taken a couple of years for schools to transition to. Unfortunately, mine was one of those. I've brought the materials home to study it & plan better for next year. One of the things I saw lacking at the beginning was the basic foundation of teaching grammar. Now having said that, there's some great things I quickly learned about this program:

    Students use thinking maps first to draft their ideas in words & short phrases. They first start with a circle map - small circle has topic, bigger circles has five ideas to support topic. Next they move to a flow map. This starts with a rectangle (Introduction), below this are 3 square/rectangle's side by side ( 3 of the 5 ideas used to develop each paragraph. Lastly, at the bottom is one rectangle for the conclusion. Using these graphic organizers prove effective for the students to learn the structure for writing a composition. This is the main purpose but there are also mini lessons on topic sentences, active words, etc...

    The result was that we had one of the best years, yet in student scores. I had one that had a perfect score in the composition.
     
  9. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    Jun 18, 2009

    I forgot to mention that I also used other sources like Ralph Fletcher & scholastics. I also did many lessons on using the five senses for writing. My favorite activity is the quick-writes. Students are given a topic & they have to come up with 10 sentences in 10 minutes. I learned so much about them through this activity and it help built their stamina for writing.
     
  10. mstnteacherlady

    mstnteacherlady Cohort

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    Jun 18, 2009

    Teachling, thanks for your ideas! We are moving to thinking maps this year so I'm trying to incorporate those in throughout my plans for writing. I have been doing a lot of reading this summer to better myself as a writer and writing teacher. I'm getting more excited!
     
  11. summersun61

    summersun61 Comrade

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    Jun 19, 2009

    QUOTE]Teachling, thanks for your ideas! We are moving to thinking maps this year so I'm trying to incorporate those in throughout my plans for writing. I have been doing a lot of reading this summer to better myself as a writer and writing teacher. I'm getting more excited! [/QUOTE]

    I'm moving from 1st grade into a strand as a writing teacher for 3rd/4th/5th grade classes and I'm freaking out!! What books did you read to better yourself? Also what state are you in? I'm hoping to hear from someone who teaches in Florida too. I just bought
    "Crafting Writers, K-6" by Elizabeth Hale;
    "Models for Teaching Writing-Craft Target Skills" by Marcia S. Freeman; and
    "A Writer's Notebook: Unlocking the Writer Within You" by Ralph Fletcher.
    I'm still waiting on them to arrive from Amazon...so until then I've been trying to absorb as much info as I can from online sources. Any good web pages for teaching writing?
    Any pointers or tips? I'll take any advice anyone has!!! :help::thanks:
     
  12. carlea

    carlea Comrade

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    Jun 19, 2009

    I've using the writing workshop method for a few years with great success. I use Lucy Calkins' Units of Study for Teaching Writing (there is a K-2 set and a 3-5 set). This set has 6 units of study - each unit is about a month long and each book includes a mini-lesson, conferencing, reviewing, sharing, and mid-workshop lessons for each day.
    Since there are only six, I can create other units - this year I did letter writing, poetry, and changing personal narratives into a different writing genre.
    One of the things I especially like is that differentiation is built into the workshop model through individual and small group conferences.
     
  13. mstnteacherlady

    mstnteacherlady Cohort

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    Jun 19, 2009

    carlea, can you tell me more about Units of Study? I have heard various remarks here and there about liking and disliking it, but cannot seem to get any good information about how it works. I'd love to hear about it from someone who has used it.
     
  14. mstnteacherlady

    mstnteacherlady Cohort

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    Jun 19, 2009

    Summersun61, I am in TN. I have been rereading Guiding Readers and Writers (Fountas & Pinnell) and Notebook Know-How (Aimee Buckner) recently. I have been planning to buy some Ralph Fletcher books, but haven't made it to the bookstore. Other than books, I just google different things I want to know about writing and writing instruction and read through some of the results. This brings in ideas from other teachers who have posted on the internet and such.
     
  15. BB0211

    BB0211 Companion

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    Jun 24, 2009

    Writing is BY FAR my favorite to teach! I would love to share what I do for writing. Can you be more specific on what you need help?
     
  16. mstnteacherlady

    mstnteacherlady Cohort

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    Jun 24, 2009

    BB, I am really just looking for ways to do things in writing instruction. Since my first post, I've been reading more books about writing workshop and I've actually become quite interested in how it can be used in my classroom. I've been making plans and aligning our district expectations within the workshop model. At this point, I'm trying to figure out how to get started once the kids are actually in the room and we begin working together. I have lots of great ideas, but if I don't get things started off in the right direction, I know things won't work out right. Make sense? I'd definitely like to hear about how you do things! I have really grown to love teaching writing and have gotten even more excited about it this summer.
     
  17. Teachling

    Teachling Groupie

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    Jun 25, 2009

    I would also love to hear more about writing workshops. How do they work? I'm always looking for ideas. I, too have grown to LOVE teaching writing.
     

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