From How? to WOW! - Work on Writing

Work on Writing in the Daily 5 Classroom

Work on Writing Daily

Students need small doses of academic writing every day! Differentiate writing instruction to provide support for your ELLs, SPED & students suffering from "word poverty"with sentence frames & wordplay. The Daily 5 structure allows teachers to meet the needs of all students through personalized work on writing.
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Personalize Your Writers Notebook

Yes, you need a writing notebook!

You need to write with your students, for your students and in front of your students.

Choose a page and let's do a quick write:

Writing Memories

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What kept you writing?

What kept you from writing?

Share with a partner

Linda Rief, author of Read, Write, Teach says:

■ Writers do their best work when they are given choice about what they write and what they read, time to craft their writing and time to read, and models or examples of the finest writing from a variety of genres, professional writers, and their peers. Writers need to care about, or be interested in, the topic they are writing about.

Turn & Talk - Roadblocks to Work on Writing in your D-5 Classroom?

How can you be proactive?

Get them writing!
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Quick Writes

Writing to find writing...

Quick writes are a time to write as fast as you can where you are not constrained by structure.

Ask students to:

1. Write as quickly as you can for two or three minutes, capturing all that comes to your mind in response to the work, or

2. Borrow a line or part of a line (they choose or the teacher chooses) from the work and write off (or from) that particular line nonstop for two or three minutes, or

3. Use a specific line or particular style as a model from which to write.

Let's Practice

Borrow a line or part of a line or write whatever it makes you think about...

A Day in July by Janet M.

Do you remember? I do. A day in July, we were on the beach, our pants rolled to our calves. The sand and salt made our ankles itch, like lemon juice on a rash, and the sun made my cheeks burn. Our conversation was not heavy. We did not talk in circles to pull us down. Our words were light and I can’t remember them, they were lost like the bubbles on a crashing wave. As the shadows lengthened so did the focus on my eyes. I knew the day would end. My heart was in my throat, like seaweed choking a tidal pool. I wanted to stay on that beach with you until the sand covered our ankles and the moon held the tide from us.

Let's do another for 2 minutes:

Mama Sewing by Eloise Greenfield and Lessie Jones Little from Childtimes: A Three-Generation Memoir
I don’t know why Mama sewed for me. She sewed for other people, made beautiful dresses and suits and blouses, and got paid for doing it. But I don’t know why she sewed for me. I was so mean. It was all right in the days when she had to make my dresses a little longer in the front than in the back to make up for the way I stood, with my legs pushed back and my stomach out. I was little then, and I trusted Mama. But when I got older, I worried. Mama would turn the dress on the wrong side and slide it over my head, being careful not to let the pins stick me. She’d kneel on the floor with her pin cushion, fitting the dress on me, and I’d look down at that dress, at that lopsided, raw-edged, half-basted, half-pinned thing – and know that it was never going to look like anything. So I’d pout while Mama frowned and signed and kept on pinning. Sometimes she would sew all night, and in the morning I’d have a perfectly beautiful dress, just right for the school program or the party. I’d put it on, and I’d be so ashamed of the way I acted. I’d be too ashamed to say I was sorry. But Mama knew.

An excerpt of a larger piece will work:

Berry's 2 cents

A teacher’s primary goal should be to promote a love of learning that will last a life-time. We are here to play a part in each child’s life. What I want them to remember is that they have a purpose and a voice. I want them to have a spark of something that starts in my classroom and lasts long after they walk the stage on graduation day. Whatever it is that they want to pursue, I want it to be a need for them to fulfill. For me it was the need to be a teacher. I want them to live up to their potential. That desire to be an author should follow them until it is realized. Maybe it is their artistic ability that drives them to a career that makes them feel successful. I hope that they find the occupation that makes them happy to go to work each day. I can honestly say that I am blessed to have found the career that fulfills me.

Harvard professor, Teresa Amabile said, “The desire to do something because you find it deeply satisfying and personally challenging inspires the highest levels of creativity, whether it’s in the art, sciences, or business.” I have found that this is true for my students. It is true for me. I believe that teachers should ask themselves if they feel satisfied and challenged each day when they step in front of the eager eyes of their students. I want to be a role model for teachers and show them how to keep the passion for the profession that they have chosen. The kids deserve it. They don’t get a second chance at childhood.

Share with a partner:

Something that surprised you, or something you liked. You may want to read the whole piece or part.

A person can read without writing, but she can't write without reading!

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Students will likely choose a QuickWrite piece to work on during WOW time.

Encourage them to write books!

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Pre-writers can write with pictures.

Matt Glover works with students as young as PK on writing:

Isabella - Part One - PK

Using mentor texts works with even the youngest writers!

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You will notice the influence of the mentor texts in the books they create.

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Let's do another Quickwrite:

This is an excerpt from Wild Horses by Cris Peterson (from the 4th grade basal)

... Funny Face has a creamy white blaze that slides down the sides of her face like melting ice cream on a hot day. She loves to stand on the highest rock-strewn spot with her face to the wind. Yuskeya, whose name means freedom in the Sioux language, always stands at the edge of the herd, alert for danger and ready to run.

Another... Here we go for 2...

Read aloud an excerpt from All The Places to Love by Patricia Maclachlan:

On the day I was born

My grandmother wrapped me in a blanket

made from the wool of her sheep.


How do you choose the mentor texts for Quick Writes? Turn & Talk

Writing workshop and Work on Writing within Daily 5 are not the same.

During writing workshop we may focus on different writing techniques or teach a specific type of writing students must learn based on our current unit of study. Children often use Work on Writing time within Daily 5 to continue work they are doing during writing workshop, but not always.

Students thoroughly enjoy the freedom of choice that is part of Daily 5. It is then that they may do sustained writing of any form they like.

Conferring is the BEST way to give feedback!

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We don't want students to fossilize any incorrect habits, so feedback is imperative!

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"Experiments over the last fifty years have shown negligible improvements in the quality of student writing as a result of grammar instruction. Research suggests that the finer points of writing, such as punctuation and subject-verb agreement, may be learned best while students are engaged in extended writing that has the purpose of communicating a message to an audience. (Anderson et al. 1985, 22) "
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