Showing posts from February, 2011

Slice of Life Writing Challenge MARCH 2011

For the past few years I have chosen to participate in the Slice of Life Writing Challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers.  This is mission possible. Maybe you could get involved with your students? You need a BLOG and you need to be prepared to post a slice of life writing piece each day for the month of MARCH. Anyway, please read on for more information...You Up for a Writing Challenge?Posted on Thursday February 24, 2011 by Ruth I’m hoping you plan to join the Slice of Life Story Challenge in March. I’m also hoping you talk to your friends, parents, children, spouses, or strangers in the grocery store line about the challenge because documenting the little moments in our ordinary days is rewarding. (Mom, are you reading this? It’s time for you to start a blog!) In fact, just this week I received two emails from people who have started Slicing and are excited about the way our writing community has given them more energy for writing. This is a flyer I plan to share with teachers arou…

A Peek Inside A Writer's Notebook -Ruth Ayres

I have been considering making a video that would unveil some of the treasures one finds inside a writer's notebook when I stumbled across a great little video on You Tube created by Ruth Ayres of Two Writing Teachers fame. Ruth shares the influences on her writing and how they come together within the collective pages of her notebooks. I want to share it with you as I believe Ruth captures quite clearly the essence of why we as teachers need to develop our own writer's notebooks. It's a powerful model for our students, and a wonderful resource to use in our teaching. Check it out! 
I might still make a video. Ruth has inspired me...

Using The Writer's Notebook to Launch Publishing Projects

I have just updated a post from November 201O titled, 'Moving Writing from the Notebook towards Publication.' The rewrite came about due to questions teachers have been asking me recently concerning writer's notebooks and how we move students into the publishing phase. I hope you are able to make use of the information to guide students towards more effective use of their writing resources.

Starting Out With Your Own Writer’s Notebook!

Teachers who are embracing the Writer’s Notebook for the first time often request examples of the types of entries one might gather when starting out. Entries, that will serve as examples to share with your students.
I am not a great fan of prompts, but if you are having trouble gaining the inspiration to launch your writing, maybe these ideas might prompt your thinking. They may prompt you to think of a connection to a topic/idea you feel more strongly about. Most importantly, I urge you to dive straight in and start filling the page with your words. Your own writing is such a powerful model for your students. I urge you to take the risk... Write about the first book you remember reading Create a Life Map to show events in your life so far Write an entry about one of the items on your Life Map. Write an entry over any topic of your choosing. Write about your personal opinion Write a response to a book you are currently reading  Write about the meaning behind a treasured object - what me…

A Way To Use Mentor Texts With Student Writers

Lynne Dorfman andRose Capelli in their book ‘Mentor Texts –Teaching Writing Through Literature, K-6 refer to having students walk around in the shoes of another author; to use the syntax of that author. I like this approach...
Using the style of another author enables one to teach aspects of grammar and mechanics in an authentic way. Using mentor texts we can embed the teaching of grammatical language. That way we allow students to view it in the same context experienced writers do.
A way to teach these important messages about language structures is to have students copy exemplars from mentor authors in to their writer’s notebooks and then try it out for themselves. They are effectively trying to 'write in the style of the chosen mentor. Dorfmann and Capelli refer to this as having students walk around in the syntax.
We start with the mentor text, imitate it ourselves, then have our students try it with us in a shared writing exercise. Then we challenge them to try it independently…

Where Does Inspiration For Writing Come From?

As students return to classrooms across Australia to commence a new school year, I find myself reflecting upon what it requires to launch an effective writing program. There are a number of vital ingredients, but in those early days of contact with students, we don’t get far without energy, enthusiasm and examples. It’s as if we are standing on a launching pad. This is one rocket, we need to successfully launch!

How do we create the necessary spark to firstly draw in and then draw out the best in our young writers? How do we set them up to be successful? How do we set ourselves up to teach as successfully as we desire to teach?
During the last two days of professional learning, I have tried to share the irrefutable truth about writing. That is, if you truly wish to develop a great writing program in your classroom, then you have to be prepared to be a writer yourself. Accepting the challenge is the first important step each of us can take. We gain credibility and develop understanding …

Using Alliteration –Writing With Your Ear

We first meet alliteration in those early rhymes, chants and tongue twisters so much a part of the early primary years of schooling. It’s the literary technique that involves the deliberate repetition of the initial sounds of particular words. Examples are plentiful in literature: ’Swollen steams snatched the nests from ducks and forced moles from their earth fortresses.’ (The Boat, Helen Ward and Ian Andrew.)

We often think of alliteration in relation to poetry, but other writers use this technique too, as the example above shows. Alliteration used in this way directs attention to a particular phrase and it is more likely to register in the mind of the reader. Alliteration adds rhythm. It adds a lyrical quality to the writing. However, it is important not to over use alliteration. Used in moderation it can be highly effective.
One of our tasks as teachers is to teach students not just to pay attention to meaning in the sentences they write, but to listen to how they sound to the reader…