Saturday, December 10, 2016

Here are some great articles on revision - a topic all writing teachers need to teach. courtesy of Choice Literacy.

The Big Fresh Newsletter from Choice Literacy
December 03, 2016 - Issue #530
If you are having trouble reading this newsletter, click here for a Web-based version.
A bad habit never disappears miraculously. It's an undo-it-yourself project.
                                                                                                        Abigail Van Buren
If you live in Maine and spend any time outdoors, you’ve got to be vigilant about looking out for ticks. These small, nasty critters lurk in the grass and weeds, and a bite from one can be the source of a debilitating disease. You don’t come through the door after any time outdoors without a quick and careful search for ticks.
Lately I’ve been thinking about a different kind of tic -- those idiosyncratic features that show up, unconsciously and unbidden, in any writer’s work. They are a different kind of blood sucker, draining the vitality out of writing.  We all have them, and whether you’re writing newsletters for parents or memos to the school board, ferreting out your writing tics can improve your communication in subtle but potent ways. Here are three of the most common tics found in writing from teachers and school leaders:
Relying on “the research says” to make a point.  Research matters, but you need to trust your own authority. And if you don’t yet have authority with your audience, establish it with the honest, unvarnished and funny stories from your classroom and school that you share freely with others. Heck, your audience won’t even trust the research you cite if they don’t trust you first.
Overuse of  just, really, and pretty.  These spare words and qualifiers minimize the value of your ideas. On one level, they are throat-clearers -- the professional’s equivalent of a teen’s like and you know.  On another level, they take the oomph out of whatever word follows. Remove them from almost any sentence, and you’ll be amazed at the new rhythm and clarity in your writing.
Too many exclamation points!!! You may be using these to convey how excited you are!!! Instead, trust that the ideas and experiences you are presenting can generate excitement all by themselves.
As Dani Shapiro notes in Still Writing, “Our [writing] tics are a road map to our most hidden and sensitive wounds.” As I’ve looked at my own writing tics and those of the authors I’ve edited, I realize they are all generated from a wellspring of fear. We don’t trust our voice, or authority, or that others will value the experiences we are recounting as much as we do. Ridding writing of tics won’t take away that sense of vulnerability all of us have in putting words out to the world, but it will make you a better writer.
This week we look at how to teach revision strategies. Plus more as always -- enjoy!
Brenda Power
Founder, Choice Literacy

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[For sneak peeks at our upcoming features, quotes and extra links,  follow Choice Literacy on Twitter: @ChoiceLiteracy or Facebook: or Pinterest:]    

Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan offer three strategies to use during writing conferences with struggling students:

In Space to Draft, Ruth Ayres argues against lockstep approaches to the writing process, including a rigid view of what constitutes revision:

You can see Ruth Ayres in action in her How to Peer Edit video, which includes sample anchor charts and a sample conference between two boys:
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Monday, December 5, 2016

What is it like to have dyslexia? This article explores dyslexia and includes how it impacts writing. Well worth the read. Courtesy of ASCD SmartBrief.

Dyslexia is widespread but often misunderstood, Gabrielle Emanuel, an education reporter with dyslexia, writes in this commentary. Emanuel highlights the challenges some students with dyslexia face in the classroom and beyond.
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