The purpose of this blog is to provide a space to share teaching ideas that deal with writing - K to 12.
Recently, I have been working in schools, implementing the Calkins' Units of Study that are aligned with the CCSS. This program and the rubrics that accompany it are often used as a framework to meet proficiency guidelines.
I will continue to post articles that support these processes.
Please join in.
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Here are some great ideas on word work in the early grades. Coutesy of Choice Literacy. Enjoy
The mind once expanded with the knowledge of duct tape never returns to its original size.
One day late last fall, I received an order of classroom supplies. The students were excited to see what all the
"Open them now!" they clamored.
Without a teaching point in mind, I began to open the boxes. What was
in those boxes belonged to this community of readers, writers,
and thinkers. Post-it notes, chart
paper, colored pens, and highlighters were just a few of the treasures
emerged. I was methodical when ordering these supplies, knowing they
would be tools to help us
think. I was still surprised at what caught the students' attention.
"Duct tape!! Oh my
gosh! Angry Birds! Mickey Mouse!
Owls! Tie-Dye! Penguins!
Flower Power! Peace signs! Paint splatter! This is the best duct tape ever!"
Everyone seemed mesmerized by the choices of duct
tape. More important, their next
question really changed our writing workshop and publishing for the rest of the
"Can we use this tape to make our books?"
At the time, that seemed like a silly question to me. Of course, they could use the duct tape to
publish their books and stories. That is
why I had spent my budget that way; I wanted resources for them to be
But, after reflection, the question made more sense
to me. Looking back at the ways I had
encouraged students to publish previously that year, the choices were almost
entirely digital. We live in a digital world and I wanted students to be
comfortable making their writing and stories public that way.
What I hadn't taken into account was the magic of creating a
book, and in this case, the missing piece of that magic was the duct tape found
in these boxes. The publishing in our
classroom after that order came in grew exponentially. It turns out that students love to make
books; it gives them a feeling of pride and ownership. Unlike digital publishing, creating a physical book
yields a tangible product.
The display bookcase in our classroom became jammed with all
the books and stories that were being published. It got so bad at one
point that books were
three and four deep, and we couldn't even see everyone's wonderful
work. I devoted a writing minilesson to deciding together what books
could stay and what books needed to be taken home to
share and enjoy.
The learning for me in all this? A container of quirky duct tape options, a whole lot
of choice in what students write and publish, and voila - books are born and
students feel empowered.
This week we look at word work in the early grades. Plus more as always -- enjoy!
The new online course Making Assessments Work for You with Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan will run October 15-26. The course includes three on-demand webinars, a DVD, book,
and personal responses from the instructors tailored to your needs on the class
discussion board. Click on the link below for more details: