As I worked with my class today on "inventing characters", I stopped to look back at some of my anchor charts from last year. I always save them for a year as a "bread trail" of what I did...I always remake them with my class each year but as I get older--it helps having a little visual reminder! I happened across this one. I remember the day we made this...I simply asked the students ... Read the Post
Getting Students Excited to Revise? Ten Points to Ponder
OK...unless my students are unusual, fourth graders don't always love to revise. For some students, getting ideas down on paper is hard enough the FIRST time...and then to be told to go back and CHANGE things? I have worked hard to try to change the perceptions with my students about revisions and here are a few things I have learned over the years... 1. If your goal is ... Read the Post
Demand Writing…How come?
Teaching writing is hard. REALLY hard. There are so many components to teaching it--from dealing with students who have fine motor issues to difficulties coming up with ideas to challenges getting ideas on paper to spelling to organization to...I'll stop. You teach. You get it. By far one of the biggest “difference makers” for me as a “teacher of writers” has been my use of ... Read the Post
Evaluating Writing…Giving Students and Families Simple Feedback
If your school is like mine, you have some common rubrics for scoring writing. If your school is like mine, they are long and involved and not very "real world" friendly! We are required to use them for certain pieces, but I am always on a quest to find quick and easy ways to communicate with students and parents about writing progress. As some of you know, I do demand prompts from ... Read the Post
Digging Deeper into Texts
If you have followed me for the last year, this post may look a little familiar. It's come around to our "writing about historical fiction" unit, and once again my students are LOVING IT! I would go so far as to say that today's writing block was one of our best hours of the year so far this year! In a nutshell, this writing unit asks students to think back and reflect on a book/books ... Read the Post
Digging into texts…how do authors “show not tell”?
My current reading and writing unit is asking students to dig deeper into familiar texts to see some of the "craft" of writing. The other day I really wanted my students to see what Patricia MacLachlan does in Sarah, Plain and Tall to help the reader "see" what is happening. We have been working on "showing" not "telling" in our own writing, but students seem to be struggling with the ... Read the Post
Evaluating Writing: Such a Challenging Task
Sigh. This is one of those tasks that I KNOW is so important but that I just dread. Whether it's because I lack confidence or that I am still after 20+ years unsure of exactly what "4th grade writing" is, I struggle every time I need to evaluate student work. This quarter our big unit was opinion writing. It's a great unit--and an important one, I believe. We learn about ... Read the Post