Intentional Writing

Kelly Harmon

Goals

  • Establish a Writer's Workshop framework
  • Identify & discuss critical teaching points for expository writing
  • Explore & implement writing strategies to increase student writing achievement

Agenda

"We only have time for the best things!" - Gretchen Bernabei

Building a Foundation

Writer's Workshop

  • Write independently
  • Try out writing strategies using mentor texts as models
  • Write about the research you are conducting on a topic of interest
  • Meet with the teacher in a small group or by yourself to read or discuss what you have written
  • Meet with a writing partner to write together
  • Meet with classmates to discuss writing pieces
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Writing Standards 4th Grade

What skills and knowledge do expository writers need?


  1. Understanding of the expository genre--what is always present and what is often present
  2. How to break down the writing prompt
  3. Ways to generate big ideas for the essay
  4. Understand writers write about what they know and care about
  5. How to consider the audience needs
  6. Ways to narrow the focus
  7. Approaches organization structures used for expository writing-cause/effect, comparison, problem/solution, chronological, etc.
  8. How to engage the audience
  9. What a thesis is/isn't
  10. Techniques for writing a thesis statement
  11. Developing main ideas related to the thesis.
  12. Techniques for writing a conclusion
  13. How to NOT be formulaic

TEKS Progression of Learning to Write Expository Texts

3.20A Create brief compositions that:

  • Establish a central idea in a topic sentence
  • Contain a concluding statement
  • Include supporting sentences with simple facts, details, and explanations



4.18A
Create Brief Compositions that:
  • Establish a central idea in a topic sentence
  • Contain a concluding statement
  • Include important facts, details, and explanations



5.18A Create multi-paragraph essays to convey information about the topic that:

  • Present effective introductions and concluding paragraphs
  • Guide and inform the reader's understanding of key ideas and evidence
  • Include specific facts, details, and examples in an appropriately organized structure
  • Use a variety of sentence structures and transitions to link paragraphs



7.17A Write multi-paragraph essays to convey information about the topic that

  • Present effective introductions and concluding paragraphs
  • Contains a clearly stated purpose or controlling idea
  • Is logically organized with appropriate facts and details and includes no extraneous information or inconsistencies.
  • Uses a variety of a sentence structures, rhetorical devices, and transitions to link paragraphs.
  • Accurately synthesizes ideas from several sources
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Grammar

Teaching grammar and mechanics authentically is CRUCIAL! G & M consist of rules. Students must know the grammar rule, apply it while writing, and be able to pinpoint and correct the misuse of the rule in other's writing as well.


Teaching Grammar Through....

  • Journaling
  • Modeling
  • Discussing
  • Proving

The Journal Writing Format

  • Students Journal everyday! (10 minutes)
  • Teach grammar immediately after journaling so that students have a reference or "proof" of the rule taught.
  • "Teach It"
  • "Model It"
  • "Practice It"
  • Make notes in back of journal to "prove" the grammar rule or as a reference tool

Lesson Planning

1. Select a Grammar TEKS SE for your grade level. (Just one!)


2. What rule does the TEKS SE address?


3. How can you explain this rule to students simply? (Teach It)


4. Write an example to share with students. (Model It)


5. What practice activity can students do to apply the rule in the context of their own writing? Think about the rigor level at which this TEKS SE might be tested. Plan with the rigor in mind.


6. Jot down a note about what you learned about this grammar rule today.

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Strategy 1: Using Inquiry to Think About Texts

1. Collect texts in the genre to explore. You want mentor texts, texts for independent reading, and texts for group discussions (literature or inquiry circles).

2. Pose a question for investigation. Example: How do writers explain? What text structures and devices do writers use?

3. Read and think aloud using mentor text. Invite students to notice the moves the writer takes to explain (or persuade) the topic.

4. Have students examine additional text examples to gather more information about writers' moves.

5. Create an anchor chart that lists the noticings. Have students use the noticings to answer the original question.

6. Have students "try out" one of the moves on a topic of their own. This is a short writing, not a full essay. Have students share their "try outs" and get feedback from peers on the process (thinking) and questions for further thinking.

7. Have students self-evaluate. What do you now understand about expository writing?

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Strategy 2: Gradual Release of Responsibility

  • Gradually increase the amount of writing
  • Overcoming reluctance
  • Non-threatening opportunities (Journaling)
  • Don't grade it! Just Share it!
  • Turn oral tasks into written ones (Quick Jots)
  • Admit or Exit tickets

Activtiy: Admit Slips

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Strategy 3: LOTS of Varied Practice

  • Practice everyday
  • Give Choices
  • Use technology (engage your learner!)


  1. Quick Jots: Turning oral tasks into written.
  2. Journaling: B,M,E of day
  3. Note Taking
  4. Blogging: Class website, Edmodo, Tween Tribune
  5. Responding (choice boards): The Power of Choice! Centers, homework, etc.
  6. "Driting": Drawing and Writing
  7. Post Its: Notes
  8. Letter writing: to peers, famous authors, administration
  9. Write Arounds

Activity: Write Arounds

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Strategy 4: The Writing Process

  • Pre-Write (Planning), Drafting (Sloppy Copy), Revise (Ears), Edit (Eyes), Publish, Rate
  • Classroom routine rather than teaching point
  • Before getting started, students must be able to produce writing of a sufficient length.
  • Introduce the writing process as one step at a time.
  • Explicit instruction is required!!
  • Model, Model, Model! (Shared writing)
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Strategy 5: Writing in all Content Areas

  • Quick Writes
  • Reading Responses

Strategy 6: Conferring & Monitoring