Writing Portrait

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by pattib7
Last updated 7 years ago

Language Arts

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Writing Portrait

There is no perfect writing program. Knowledge of best practice is crucial. According to Graham and Harris (2013, p. 14), “providing students with clear, specific, and reasonably challenging goals improves the quality of what they want to write.” I plan to incorporate goal setting into my practice.

EDU 743Multi-ModalWriting PortraitPatricia BessetteSummer B 2014

Writing floats on a sea of talk.~James Britton

District: Southwick-Tolland-Granville, Southwick, MACurrently, writing in my school district is disjointed at best. Before I arrived (1999), the entire district used a program called Links. I can't find any references to it on the Internet. I adapted two of the graphic organizers. See attachments.

School: Woodland ElementaryOver the past few years, we have tried several writing programs: Being a Writer, Mind Wings (Theme Maker, Story Grammar Marker), John Collins Writing Program, Fountas and Pinnell Writers’ Workshop, 6 + 1 Writing Traits, and MCAS released questions (not a program but used by some to teach to the test).

Our latest acquisition: Lucy Calkins’ "Units of Study". This program is Pre-K to grade six.

My Classroom—Grade 3I use a writers’ workshop model with picture books as mentor texts. Inspired by our study of "In Pictures and In Words" by Katie Wood Ray (2010), I purchased "I can write like that" by Susan Ehmann and Kellyann Gayer (2009).

Part One:Description of Current Practice

Because our state (Massachusetts) has adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), I am working diligently to learn the standards and create lessons that address them. Previously, our focus has been solely on the personal narrative. With the CCSS, there is a shift to informational and opinion writing. http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/W/3/

My dream is to have the mentor texts in my classroom. That would save me time as I wouldn’t have to go to the library to get the mentor texts I want to use in my mini lessons. Also, if a student is struggling with a certain concept, I could go to my collection and give them the mentor text to read. Then we could discuss it as it pertains to their writing.

Part Two: Desired Writing Plan aka "THE DREAM"

A video of a Writers' Workshop Model

My dream is to have the students have proficient keyboarding skills. That dovetails into another aspect of my desired writing plan—technology. I would love to have a projector and document camera in my classroom as well as iPads for each student.

Ehmann, S., ' Gayer, K. (2009). I can write like that!: A guide to mentor texts and craft studies for writers' workshop, K-6. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.Graham, S., ' Harris, K. (2013). Designing an Effective Writing Program. In Best Practices in Writing Instruction, Second Edition (pp. 3-25). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.Ray, K. (2010). In pictures and in words: Teaching the qualities of good writing through illustration study. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

And finally, my dream is to teach writing across all the content areas. I want my students to create Glogs, Blogs, Prezis, PowerPoints, and more. Instead of the same old same old posters and dioramas, I want my students to use the Internet and technology to create awesome projects and presentations using their writing skills.

Part Three: Differentiation

Current PracticeDifferentiation in writing includes providing extra support for lower-ability writers via a paraprofessional, extra teacher support, and/or graphic organizers. The tasks are not altered, the instruction is not altered, just the amount of support a child needs is differentiated.

My ideal writing instruction would provide for additional differentiation by also including different tiers of instruction as well as giving choices within the assignments. The sped, Title 1, and ELL students would receive pre-teaching prior to the lesson to better prepare them for the writing task. The higher ability writers will be encouraged to set higher goals.

Part Four: CCSS


Think time is very important!

And now for some Teacher Talk:

Paint a picture with your words.


For narrative writing:write from your heart.

A #2 pencil and a dream can take you anywhere. ~Joyce A. Myers


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