Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What I'm Reading Wednesday- How's It Going?

It's been one of those summers.... filled with house projects and family.  Although I took a break from my teaching blog, I was still reading and thinking about writing.  I was stretching myself as a writer by starting another blog- just about my other hobby (trashy treasures!).  I needed to be living a "writer-ly life" in order to better connect with my students in the fall.

I try to read one professional book every few months, depending on my interests and needs.  For this series.... they are stacked :)  This is the book I brought home this summer:

Link to Amazon 
 My copy of this book was missing for about 2 months.  I even sent out "wanted posters" to the staff and verified my Amazon purchase.  The last week of school, my mentor teacher handed it to me (sheepishly).  She didn't even remember borrowing it.  I knew I wasn't crazy!

I know when I'm reading a great professional book when I write all over it and use multiple colors of highlighters and pens.  That means that I went back a few times to read a portion.  The permanent post-it.... I'm making something out of those notes to share with my teaching partners!

Here are some of my big take-aways....
  • We teach the WRITER, not the specific writing. We should be teaching students the things that they will carry through in other pieces, not just fix this one.
  • We should be able to specifically name what we taught the writer (and share the language of writers with the students).
  • There is a structure to an effective conference.
    • conversation about what the child is currently doing as a writer (research & decide what to teach)
    • conversation about how the child can become a better writer (teaching, and trying it out)
  • Sometimes, there are predetermined goals, but it needs to focus on the students specific writing.
  • We need to teach the purpose and model how to have an effective conference with expectations.  Students need us to give them the language (they don't naturally have it).  Practice conference conversations.
  • Carry mentor appropriate mentor tests and student samples in plastic (that can be revised/ edited with dry erase).  Then the student can see how the teaching applies to more than one piece of writing.
  • Research you writer!  I'll be making a cheat sheet to carry with me, using these questions to help prompt my inquiries:
Notice the post-it.... I'll condense and make it my own!
  • Only have ONE teaching point.  We cannot expect students to use more than one tip at a time.  We only have 5-7 per student, so make sure they can do that ONE thing great.  Chose the biggest bang for their writing buck.  There is more time on another day!
  • Balance student-directed needs and teacher-decided goals.
  • Share what you "notice" about their writing and help them to clarify what they want to learn.
  • Use post-its to remind students of teaching tips from the conference, as they may not be ready to do it at that exact moment (maybe 10 minutes later).
  • Confer EVERY DAY!  If students are writing for 35 minutes, set a goal of 5-6 conferences per day.  Teachers should also take a lap around the room to monitor behavior.  just knowing that you are present will squash many behaviors :)
Happy reading!

No comments:

Post a Comment