Interactive Writing

By: Lindsey Maugh---Section C---2/11/16

What is Interactive Writing?

A dynamic instructional method during which the teacher and students work together to construct a meaningful text while discussing the details of the writing process. It facilitates students' thinking about the content and it builds their composing skills.

The Essential Parts of an Interactive Writing Lesson

1. Experience

-Students are motivated and informed by a shared classroom experience.

2. Prewrite

-The class together thinks about who the audience is, the overall message and its importance.

3. Compose

-The teacher synthesizes the ideas they hear from the students.

4. Share the pen

-The students and the teacher take turns writing.

5. Review

-The teacher summarized what is crafted by the class and its conventions.

6. Extend

-The teacher can hang the writing in the class so the class can continue to use it as a tool.

Why Interactive Writing?

1. The guided whole-group interaction supports and propels independent writing because the lesson is always linked back to the students' own writing.

2. It can be used for a number of purpose: writing a letter, recording a science experiment, summarizing or extending a story read aloud, or labeling a diagram.

3. Students are actively participating in the entire lesson.

4. Can be used for ongoing tools and resources.

Four Shifts in Grades 2-5

1. Lesson sequence is more fluid and dynamic

-More fluent writers might write several sentences or paragraphs in one lesson whereas younger writers might spend several days to complete an entire piece (1 single sentence during each lesson).

2. Elements of Share the Pen are modified

-Pre K-1st grade: share the pen and write the message on a word-by-word or even a letter-by-letter basis.

-Grade 2: one student could go up and write several words or an entire phrase.

-Grade 3-5: teachers talk through conventions of an entire sentence before student goes up and writes.

*** Another modification for Share the Pen: having the students type the letters/words/phrases/ sentences instead of writing on the board

3. Lessons decrease in frequency while increasing in length

-Frequent lessons for young students are essential.

-At beginning of the year, start by using interactive writing three times per week.

-As the year goes on, it can be used periodically to highlight key writing principles.

-1st grade: lesson is an average of 10-15 minutes a day.

-2nd-5th grade classroom: lesson generally lasts 20-30 minutes.

4. Teaching points expand and extend around genre

-Writing is created around a topic that is relevant and engaging for the entire class.

-I.W. works well in a classroom where students work on a writing through a genre-based unit.

-For upper grades: writing can be used for exemplars for students.

Universal Elements of Interactive Writing: Four Principles That Holds True for All Grades

1. Value each step in the lesson

-The numerous opportunities for craft and convention instruction can only be met when each step of the lesson is carefully planed and implemented.

2. Balance the planned and unplanned teaching opportunities

-There will always be unplanned instructional opportunities but use them to lift the instruction to a new or a higher level.

-You will never know in advance the exact wording students will choose for their text.

3. Make intentional teaching decisions as students develop

- The roots of instructional decisions which fuel an efficient and effective lesson come from teacher analysis of formal and informal assessments of students' literacy skills.

-Lessons are matched to students' needs rather than a concept that may have already been mastered or one that is too difficult.

4. Make explicit links between a whole-class lesson and students' own writing

-The whole goal of Interactive Writing is to improve students' independent writing.

Seven Points for Preparation

1. Teach Routines First

-Break down procedures to the smallest point the first time doing the lesson.

2. Consider Carefully the Time of Day to Deliver the Lesson

-Interactive Writing demands a high level of focus so it is important that it is during a time of day where students can be attentive (after lunch/recess, after a movement activity, first thing in the morning).

3. Create a Comfortable Space Near Writing Resources

-The physical environment is important in bringing everyone together to support learning.

4. Use High Visible Materials

-Examples: Use a chart paper with writing lines on it, use a sharp black marker when writing.

5. Prepare to Make Thoughtful Teaching Decisions

-Read and analyze students' writing to determine what they are doing well and where they need support.

6. Keep All Students Engaged

-Always have the students doing something even if they aren't writing on the board (writing in the air, turn and talk time, etc.). They need to be engaged 100% of the time.

7. Be Patient with Yourself

-It can take a class several weeks to find a natural rhythm in writing, just give it time. Planning, pacing, and management are very important.

Personal Opinion

I really enjoyed this article because before reading it I have never heard of Interactive Writing. I believe that this strategy will help your students be more successful and find writing more fun because of its' process. The Interactive Writing process offers a high level of support while involving the students the entire time which I feel like is a very beneficial aspect in a classroom. The more you have your students engaged and participating in a lesson, the more they will learn and take away from it. I also really like it because the lessons are based around an interest that the whole class has. That way every student can get involved and stay engaged in the process. I will definitely want to use this strategy in my classroom because it will assure me a way of keeping all of my students engaged and continuing their growth as writers. After reading this, I want to make sure that with everything I am teaching I want to incorporate my students into it all and make sure they all have a chance to contribute to the class work.

My favorite step of the Interactive Writing process is Sharing the Pen. I feel that this step is most important because the students are able to put all of their work together and make it visible, and also because each student has an opportunity to contribute to the writing.

3 Disucssion Questions

1. Would you follow a procedure as to how to select the students to write for the Sharing the Pen step, or would you randomly pick a student each time?

2. As the teacher, how would you make sure you are still differentiating instruction with Interactive Writing for your students? Would you be able to still differentiate instruction?

3. If you had a student that was not engaging in the lesson and not wanting to participate in class work and discussions, how you would get that student engaged and participating?

APA citation

Roth, K., & Dabrowski, J. (2014). Extending Interactive Writing into Grades 2-5. The Reading Teacher, 68(1), 33-44.

Additional Resources

1. YouTube video: Interactive Writing Lessons (1st grade classroom)

2. What is Interactive Writing?

3. Interactive Writing | Reading Rockets