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Showing posts from September, 2016

Let's Stop Calling Them Reluctant Writers

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I have never been a fan of the term, reluctant writer. I firmly believe all kids want to be able to write with ease. What the hesitant writer needs to build is, confidence and self-belief.



Every teacher at some time has to struggle to help a student overcome self-doubt about their abilities. To grow confident, self-directed readers and writers requires a lot of teacher investment. When teachers create a classroom climate that encourages risk taking, values mistakes as a learning opportunity and works consciously to build trust, students begin to engage with greater certainty. 
Children who experience positive learning experiences feel successful and supported. When a learner has such experiences a greater energy surrounds that person.
Blaming kids and labelling them reluctant does nothing to address the reasons for the student’s behaviour. Where the teacher controls most aspects of the writing from topic to genre, there is little incentive to buy in. Choice and ownership has been removed…

Planning For Writing, Let's Make It Count

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When teachers look closely at the writing students produce; when they understand how writers operate, the forward planning they undertake endeavours to focus on the point of need for each writer. 
The instruction that grows from such planning occurs on several levels- whole group, small group and individual. The planning doesn’t limit the young writer’s choice, nor deny them opportunities to add to their growing repertoire of craft strategies.
John Hattie’s research has revealed that up to 70% of what teachers ‘present’ to learners, they already know. To avoid such a scenario, planning must aim to build upon prior learning and move the student forward. For this reason alone, examining writing samples and conference notes is critical to effective planning. This is planning that sets high expectation for teaching and learning.
Planning that disregards such important considerations often places arbitrary limits on the student writer. When teachers plan using arbitrary or rigid guidelines, i…

Some Recommended Reading For Teaching Writing

A List of Professional Texts -Recommended Reading for Teaching Writing

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‘Breathing In, Breathing Out, Keeping A Writer’s Notebook.’ Ralph Fletcher, Heinemann
A slim, but precious book that reminds us of the need to capture the spark of being a writer and using the notebook as a safe place to experiment. I keep returning to this time and again… ‘What You Know By Heart - How To Develop Curriculum For Your Writing Workshop.’ Katie Ray Wood. Heinemann.
Katie Wood Ray reminds us how important it is to envision curriculum ideas through the writing we read. It was here that I learnt the importance of reading like a writer. Before Revision comes vision! ‘Wondrous Words’  Katie Wood Ray, NCTE A practical book that draws on stories from classrooms about the way students learn to write from their reading. Links theory and practice to supply valuable knowledge for teaching writing ‘About the Author, Writing workshop with our youngest writers’ Katie Wood Ray with L…

The Importance of Noticing To A Writer

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Noticings are a writer’s life source...

Part of the writer’s role is to draw attention to the details of the world. For this reason writers need to develop a capacity for keen observation.

Think for a moment what this means for teaching student writers. Teaching writing needs to delve way beyond structural considerations.  If teaching energy and focus remains solely on the mechanics of writing, the writing will remain functional at best. It will undoubtedly lack voice and precision. 

A teacher who assists the developing writer to grow as an observer, to connect strongly to the world in which they operate, provides the student writer with vital skills they can apply, not just to the writing they undertake, but to learning in general. Developing the writer as observer, creates an all-round curious learner. To teach writing in this way, empowers the writer, empowers the learner.
In order to achieve this, the writing teacher must practice detailed observation in order to become a model of a …