What Works in Writing- Picture Overload

 Writing instruction is crucial.  Students in Texas begin taking formative assessments in fourth grade and again in seventh.  In order for students to be successful on the writing assessments, it should begin early.  Of course, learning how to compose compositions is not just for state assessments. Who doesn't want to be proficient in writing?  It's a critical part of our everyday life.  It is an every day tool.  Writing can also deepen student learning.  Let me explain.

Just as students first learn to read, then read to learn, students then learn to write and then use writing as a vehicle to support their learning.  However, writing can be a hurtle to many students.  I believe in planning and focusing on writing as equal as you would reading and math. 
Ways teachers can incorporate writing components:
1.  Writing aloud- teacher demonstrates writing on chart paper, board, etc... and explains their thinking process.
2.  Shared writing- teacher and students compose writing together.  The students and teacher decide topic, sentences, and word choice together.
3.  Guided writing- can be whole class, small group or individual.  Students write and the teacher guides.  Great to use during mini lessons.
4.  Independent writing-Students work alone using their previous learning.

So how do you get this all started?  Here are 4 ways to start this process.
 Create a classroom environment for writing.  This means resources are available.  In lower grades, a writing center is often seen in classrooms.  The teacher writes often too.   Students should see the teacher write and voice their thinking process.  Establish routines in your classroom and expectations about writing.  Set up writer's notebooks.  Create and explain writing anchor charts.  Supply students with writing tools: dictionaries, writing reference folders, topics, and writing goals or process steps.
 Devote an appropriate amount of time for writing instruction every day.  Writing does not have to always have its dedicated time.  Writing across other core subjects proven beneficial and can be a big timer saver technique.  If you are not a self contained teacher, collaborate on assignments with other content area teachers.  Writing instruction should not be just an after thought.  It is a necessary part of our daily schedules. 
 Plan for writing just as you would for reading, math and other core subjects.  Plan mini lessons that relate to students' needs and or assessment needs.  Use the student's writing pieces as teachable moments.  What are the students strengths and weaknesses?  Design mini lessons as determined by the students writing collections. 

 Provide meaning writing activities by promoting student choice on their writing.  Students can be given topics to write but also allow students to free write.  Topics are always a great tool but allow students to write at least one day in their journal on a topic of their choice.  For example, when I was teaching I gave students the topic 4 days a week and on Friday it was free writing. 

 Do you need writing materials to get you started this year?

Let's Write- Posters (25 posters)

My Revise and Edit posters recently went under a facelift operation.  I think they turned out pretty nice. 

Hope you enjoyed reading about writing instruction today!

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