Writing

Discussion in 'Sixth Grade' started by mopar, Oct 22, 2010.

  1. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Oct 22, 2010

    Do you use a writer's workshop approach or assign the topics and have specific due dates?

    I have gone between the two for years and can't seem to figure out a great match. I have some great writers and some very developing writers-so I don't want to hold the others up, but I also need them to practice different genres of writing to prepare them for Middle School and beyond.

    Also, if you do provide a time line for the students, how long do you generally allow for a piece from brainstorming to final copy? Do you send any or all of it home?
     
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  3. NYTeacher83

    NYTeacher83 Rookie

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    Dec 28, 2010

    Hi Mopar. This is my first year teaching 6th grade writing. Before this, I taught 3 years in 4th grade. My class mainly follows the Writing Workshop method, but I do have genre specific pieces I teach.

    Here's what my 42 minute period looks like:
    5 minutes - grammar warm-up/bell ringer
    10-15 minutes - Mini-lesson on specific topic
    15 minutes of independent worktime, where I conference with students to see their progress
    5-10 minutes - students share and their classmates can constructively critique the writing piece(s) shared.

    Some units, I do a lot of direct instruction and guided practice time. As for handing in assignments. Students are given a week to two weeks to work on a project. If it is in late, points are deducted and they still must complete the project.

    So far, things seem to be working well. The students aren't burning out, but we're only 15 weeks in!

    Best wishes.
     
  4. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Dec 28, 2010

    Very similar to what I have been following for this year. However, I haven't placed any deadlines on a piece of writing and just let my students move between a variety pieces. Sometimes I give them the topic, other times the genre, and other times complete free choice. Then, they can be working on three or four pieces at a time. Some like to completely finish one before starting another, others like to have multiple pieces going so that they can write what they enjoy during that day. I introduce a new piece about every two weeks...but again, sometimes a student may not start it for awhile after being introduced. So far, it has worked out okay for this year. Interesting to see what changes I will make for the future.
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Dec 28, 2010

    Grade 3..yes I use Writers Workshop. I teac different genres as units of study. Mini-lesson everyday on craft or structure of writing...some time for gathering entries in notebooks over the course of the unit ,then taking one of those pieces thru a refining/revising/editting process and then publish. Definitely have a timeline one you are done gathering emtries over a period of time and are ready for them to get their ideas polished up and published.
     
  6. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Dec 28, 2010

    It was taking a week to go from start to finish. One hour a day, mini-lessons thrown in.

    We're down to about 3 hour long periods.

    We have to be at 2 hours before the state writing test in April. That's 2 hours from prewriting to finished handwritten edited copy. Two pages. Sigh.

    I will be telling some of my students to skip the rough draft on that day. They simply can't write that fast. They stare into space and form their words carefully. I've done it before, and it works out fine.
     
  7. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Dec 28, 2010

    An hour for writing a day! That would be so nice.
     
  8. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Dec 28, 2010

    It's the grade level. Writing test is given in 5th grade. I have to teach language also, but they are pretty good at that. We had a 92% passing rate last year on the state test, including the special ed and ESOL kids, so I'm not worried about that.
     
  9. kidatheart

    kidatheart Habitué

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    Jan 12, 2011

    OMG I have 60 minutes to teach all of language arts: reading, spelling, vocab, writing/grammer... I am having such a hard time fitting it all in.
     
  10. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jan 13, 2011

    I know your feeling kidatheart. I get 90 minutes for the whole block and it's difficult! I could imagine only 60!
     
  11. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Jan 13, 2011

    And I forgot the second question....

    I do both. Sometimes I give a prompt, and sometimes they choose one from about ten, and a very select few ask if they can come up with their own prompts.
     

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