Once upon a time there was a skilled educator who dared to raisesome interesting questions as for how kids were traditionallytaught to write and read. The educator offered a bunch ofinnovative changes. However, as she earned popularity, criticaldebate mostly ceased and her word turned to be a sacred law.Gradually, some of her techniques became dogmatic, while herinfluence kept growing.
She’s the visionary founding director of Teachers College Readingand Writing Project, named Lucy McCormick Calkins. Started in1981, her think tank and teacher training institute hassuccessfully trained hundreds of thousands of tutors across thecountry. She appears to be one of the original creators of theso-called “workshop” approach to teaching writing to kids,according to which, writing can be defined as a process,including distinct phases, and that all kids, not just those withdecent talent, are capable of learning to write well.
New York City is the place where here influence is especiallypowerful. In New York, the project broke out as a consultingservice to several elementary schools and gradually evolved intoa highly profitable venture. As some sources state, Calkinscharges up to $1,200 to send one of her tutors into a school forjust one day. In 2003, Joel Klein, schools chancellor appointedLucy and her project, through a no-bid three-year $5.4 millioncontract, to the mission of modifying the way literacy skills aretaught in over 100 district schools. The project’s ambitious goalis to have primary as well as upper-grade tutors retrained vialeadership seminars, onsite workshops, curricular materials, andalso an intensive summer institute. The same training is alsomust-have for central department policymakers and administrators,including district superintendents and principals.
Calkins’s approach to literacy
According to her philosophy, kids should be granted with a“voice.” They need to be encouraged to discover and polish theirown personal writing style when composing stories, which reallymatter. Calkins is assured that kids require generating their owntexts, making use of material from their own lives. Her approachsuggests kids work in small groups, consulting each other fromtime to time.
Calkins instructs tutors to provide room to students to keep aso-called “writer’s notebook.” That’s the place where they couldjot down what they notice in their daily life.
She tells kids to revise their writing in compliance with quitestringent guidelines. In order to keep the focus onautobiographical writing, Calkins trains tutors to deter pupilsfrom composing fantasy of any kind. Instead, kids are encouragedto focus on various social issues, including racism, genderdiscrimination, violence, poverty and so on. They’re assigned tocreate a personage around the chosen social issue. Unlikeprofessional authors of fiction depicting the element ofdiscovery and surprise as major to the process, under Catkins’approach when getting down to writing kids already know whattheir personages will say and do. Once papers are ready, theleader has them projected on the wall and calls for a discussion.
Lucy calkins writing paper: running your writing center
A writing center happens to be a center for writing a variety ofmaterials. Well, it needs to have all the materials learners needto write. You should let your students paper clip, staple datestamp and also freely determine their own writing needs. Theyshould be granted several paper choices changing over time andincluding multiple options for all their needs in your classroom.Don’t forget to include stapled booklets. As a teacher, yourequire making it absolutely independent. Clearly explain how toutilize all of the materials provided.
My learners are used to bringing their writing folder to thecarpet every day. They simply take their folders to their writingspot and utilize them during their independent writing. It’scrucial for them to have all the necessary tools they require tounderpin their writing. You’re also expected to include suchthings as mini-charts, word lists, not to mention writing ideas.
After each unit the folders need to be cleaned out. Three oftheir pieces can be kept: their first and last ones from the unitas well as their published piece. You can utilize the first andlast pieces for grading. They will show you how they have evolvedas writers. As for the published piece, I can be displayed in theclassroom and then sent home by the end of the year.
As a tutor, you need to have your own writing folder for everyunit that you utilize annually and add to. Exactly in this folderyou’re expected to keep your own writing pieces, anchor charts,student samples, exemplar pieces and mentor texts.
I really can’t do without anchor charts. I enjoy making them andI’m fond of teaching my learners how to make use of them. Anchorcharts should be at hand when teaching writing. These charts areemployed to engage and lead learners towards completeindependence. It’s up to you to make them visually attractive andappropriate for the grade level. With younger pupils, utilizemore images, while older students will require more text.
These charts need to be added and modified gradually as yourlearners grow. Anchor charts should be created with the class.Sure, every class will require different examples, accordingly,you won’t be able to employ the same charts every year. It’s nowonder as you create them on the fly.
Your learners need to be allowed to freely use pens, as it makeswriting special. Moreover, kids adore using them. Utilizing pensenables you to monitor your kids’ thoughts. You might have lotsof cross outs. However, you should employ it as a teaching point.
Some learners merely sit as they have no idea of what to write.Needless to say it’s so frustrating for them. That’s the timewhen a parking lot comes in handy. It’s a place where yougenerate and store ideas your learners can write about. So, eachtime some of your students is struggling to start writing, simplysend him or her to the parking lot to choose an idea to writeabout.
Have a lot of fun!
I’ve just decided to add this in simply because it’s verycrucial. It’s the time for your learners to write their ownbooks. Being authors is what they should value. It's crucial tomake publishing and celebrating it a top priority. You canorganize so-called themed celebrations, when special attributesare used, such as berets for a poetry share. Ensure to displaytheir work. You should teach your learners how to take pride intheir writing.
Must-have writing tools
There’re three things you ought to check out before launchingyour writing workshop:
- A repositionable glue stick: We really hope that you knowwhat it is. It coverts any piece of paper into a sticky note.It’s how teachers make their anchor charts. You write every majorskill on paper, after this you utilize this stuff. As a result,you’re ready to make a good anchor chart with your kids.
- The Smarter Charts book: You know this awesome stuff, writtenby Kristi Mraz. She’s a phenomenal writer. Try to make the mostof this book of hers.
- A stapler: You’d better have three ones in your classroom, asthey’re extremely helpful. You will require just one finger tohave a whole booklet stapled. It won’t be difficult for kids touse them.
The tips illustrated above will help you to create an effectivewriting workshop in the classroom. The more thrilled you’re, themore excited your learners will be. Simply play it, makingwriting their favorite time throughout the day.
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