Volume 1 / Issue 10: Tips, Tools and Resources
Writers Workshop: How-To Books
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Check out Actively Learn here or watch the intro. video below.
Written by: Mary Lyons
Strategy groups are effective for all writers. Whether they are working at, above, or below standards, gathering your students together to help them stretch their skills is important!
Page 68 in Writing Pathways K-5 describes an effective structure for small group writing instruction. Note that this is only about a 10 minute session. Keep it brief! You are not trying to hit every teachable moment.
1 - 2 minutes: Teacher briefly introduces reason for small group
Be as direct as possible in explaining why students have been gathered together. Using language such as, “I think your writing will get a lot stronger if you…” helps children understand what is expected of them.
If you refer to a mentor text, be sure it is familiar. Do not introduce a new text within this format.
5 - 6 minutes: Children work (together or individually) as teacher coaches students
As you coach students while writing, “Aim for your commentary to lift their level of work a notch but not for it to solve all the problems you can possibly find.” Stay focused on the reason you’ve gathered students together and be encouraging in helping students persist while working. “You aren’t trying to make writing perfect; you are trying to help the writers practice more skilled work on the one trajectory you’ve chose to address.”
1 minute: Teacher concludes group
Encourage students to do this work across multiple texts. They should return to their other writing to continue this strategy.
Too Many Tabs?
Keepin' It Real
How much do we see this with our students? How much do we feel this way as well?
I see all the hard work you are doing for students. I see that.