A writer’s notebook is a place to write down what you notice and don’t want to forget; a place to record your ideas and reactions to things. Most of all, it’s a place for students to take what they’ve learned in class and make it their own. It’s a place to live like a writer.
Writers often put unsatisfying drafts on the back burner, but our students seldom have the luxury of time, says literacy expert Lynne Dorfman. They need to take a piece through the complete writing process. Knowing when to let go and choose a new topic becomes a valuable skill.
Teaching poetry can give students a sense of connection, collaboration, and creativity as they express themselves and read the expressions of others. During National Poetry Month, teacher-author Marilyn Pryle shares fun activities from her classroom that touch on all three.
In an era of ‘writing to text’ and responding to prompts, students may not eagerly respond to our invitations to “write free!” ELA teacher and cartoonist David Lee Finkle uses an interest based mapping strategy to convince his writers they have something worth writing about.
Writing workshop can be an exciting part of the day for students in the middle, writes author and workshop expert Lynne Dorfman. Even when middle level schedules aren’t a great fit for extended workshop writing, teachers can nurture “writerly” attitudes with daily quickwrites.
How do we put our young writers first? We seek to develop a mindset and actions that provide opportunity, dignity, and encouragement, says literacy expert Regie Routman. Then we carefully tailor feedback that celebrates strengths and boosts each and every writer’s confidence.
Get kids engaged in narrative writing using Story in a Bag. ELA consultant Lynne Dorfman shows how this hands-on activity enlivens in-class and distance learning as it helps students build their writing fluency and encourages them to learn problem solving on the spot.
Students need more writing support than we can possibly offer them, writes literacy consultant Lynne R. Dorfman. Peer conferences are a safe, supportive structure that will help writers grow in their problem-solving capacity while experiencing the joy of collaboration.
The narrow “alphabetic” definition of writing found in many school classrooms actively disengages youth, says literacy author Shawna Coppola. Students simply prefer to compose using forms that incorporate visual, aural, and multimodal texts as a way to make or enhance meaning.
Why is NBCT Marilyn Pryle’s “never-fail” Character Sketch activity so effective? Because it asks students to use the people in their own lives as inspiration – a parent, grandparent, sibling, or friend. Pryle provides the teacher’s script, complete with student prompts.