Tuesday, April 27, 2010

This blog response will require some personal reflection about how you developed as a writer in school and your development as a writing teacher. The excerpts are derived from Linda Christensen's book Teaching For Joy & Justice and the question for each response is located under the excerpt. There are 2 questions to respond to this week.

In too many classrooms, grades are the "wages" students earn for their labor. Teachers assign work, students create products, and grades exchange hands. There are problems with this scenario. Students who enter class with skills- especially reading and writing skills- are rewarded with higher grades. They already know how to write the paper; they just need to figure out what the teacher wants in it. Essentially, they take what the teacher talks about in class and reproduce it in a paper. Students who lack these basic skills are at a disadvantage. Unless there has been an explicit teaching of how to write the papers, they don't know how to produce the products the teacher expects. This doesn't mean they lack the intelligence, desire to achieve, or capacity to learn; it means they lack skills. As a result, they receive a lower grade.

Let me pause to say that sometimes students can't write a better draft. They need more instruction. How fair is it to grade them down on a paper if they don't have the tools to complete the task? Is it their fault that they have made it to my class without academic skills? I don't think so. It's my job to teach them how to write, how to revise. I believe that most students would write a better draft if they could.

1. Describe your writing journey through school.
a) Did you enter high school with the skills required for writing or did you acquire them in school?
b) What or Who was instrumental in helping you to become a writer?
c) Do you only write for academic purposes or do you write for other reasons outside of the world of academia? (Currently)

Because I want my students to view their writing as a process, I refuse to let them be "done." If students turn in drafts that represent their best work at that point in time, they receive full credit for the writing. If students don't have drafts, they receive no credit. If they turn in rushed drafts that clearly aren't their best efforts, I return them and ask them to re-do the papers. Students regularly write and rewrite papers they care about a number of times.

Too often, writing-and thinking- in school becomes scripted (hence the five-paragraph essay) because scripts are easier to teach and easier to grade. Unfortunately, they fail to teach students how to write. Real writing is messy. And students often don't "get" how to write narratives or essays the first time we teach them. They need lots of practice without judgements; they need to be told what they are doing right, so they can repeat it; they need to examine how to move to the next draft.

2. Describe your journey as a writing teacher thus far in your career:
a) What strengths do you bring regarding the teaching of writing (whether you consider yourself a novice or expert)?
b) What is your greatest fears when it comes to the teaching of writing?
c) If writing does play a pivotal role in your daily teaching, describe its role - or- if you aspire to include writing in your daily teaching what are some obstacles you need to overcome as an educator to do so


  1. 1A) I think I entered high school prepared with the skills to be a successful writer. I was encouraged to write by my parents outside of school and remember typing up and mailing letters (the old fashioned way) to my great grandfather when I was in elementary and middle school. In high school, I wrote in all my English classes and had additional writing in other content areas.

    1B) For me, I took a class called Advanced Writing Workshop my senior year in high school. Up until now, this was the only class where I had a chance to creatively write. I got to write personal anecdotes, short fiction, poetry, and several variations of college essays in that class. I enjoyed that class because much like the articles talk about, it was more for the joy of writing than the grade on the paper.

    1C) Collegiate-level writing became a burden, so I ended up taking a lot of time off from "fun" writing for many years. It was not until that past Christmas break where I got bored at home and decided to start a blog. I blog about educational issues today. I've found the blog a good venue to put down some of my thoughts and I enjoy engaging in conversation with my friends and colleagues about things that I have posted on my blog. Check it out at http://afutureinperil.blogspot.com. Shameless plug, I know ;)

    2A) Right now I struggle big time with writing instruction. It's hard for me because in planning my curriculum, I first and foremost worry about the content. Right now, my biggest concern is that my soon-to-be graduating seniors know how to use a credit card, get a loan, and make a resume in our economics class. That doesn't leave a lot of time to teach the writing process, although that is equally important. I feel that since I don't have the writing teaching background, I wouldn't do it justice if I tried to explicitly teach it in my classroom.

    2B) My greatest fear is that I have done a disservice to my students. Sure, they wrote an essay on a famous president, but did I give them enough feedback on their writing? Can I really live with myself knowing that my students will soon graduate but still have run-on sentences in their writing? I want to help my students improve but there are so many issues to tackle I don't know where to start. I ultimately fear that they will miss out on future opportunities in their lives because of their inability to have learned the standard English writing needed to get a job or get into the college of their choice.

    2C) I need to dedicate more time to the writing process, period. Social studies lends itself to writing, but I don't utilize it enough. For example, opinion letters are a perfect way to integrate writing instruction into the class, but I have yet to do this as a teacher, again because I don't feel confident in my background in writing instruction. It is something I am going to make a conscientious effort to improve upon in the coming year.

  2. 1.
    a) I can’t recall exactly when I learned how to put an essay together, or when I learned how to organize my ideas. I’m sure that I learned it progressively throughout middle school, but I don’t think any student really remembers much about middle school besides all their mini-dramas and maybe a fun project along the way. However, I do remember my sophomore English teacher (who I despised at the time) drilling the pyramid structure of paragraphs into our minds. I also remember her as my most rigorous teacher. So I’m thinking that it was probably in her class where I learned most of my writing skills because after that, I never really had much trouble with the skill of organizing and putting together my ideas.
    b) I think my elementary teachers were more responsible for this. They would always encourage my writing because it was something that I have always been pretty good at. Their encouragement led me to feel more confident about my writing and therefore, do more of it. Also, I really liked writing letters, and my camp counselor (who became an English teacher), my cousin, and my 3rd grade teacher all graciously became my pen-pals, which helped my writing along as well.
    c) I write as a kind of release of emotion as well. Mostly I write in order to find out what is really inside my brain. A lot of times our emotions become so confused and jumbled that we lose sight of what we are really upset about. When we write, we sort it all out, and when we
    read back over it, we often realize what is at the base of whatever the issue is.

    a) I really try to focus on getting my students’ ideas organized. I feel like no matter how good your writing is or how much you know, that it’s impossible to communicate the information or convey your skill if your writing is unorganized. Also, being that most of my students are freshmen, this is a skill they will need over the next 3-7 years in order to be successful in other classes. I try not to be overly critical of my students’ writing and always focus mostly on content as well. However, I struggle with this because it’s in my nature to dissect grammar. Overall, I have seen an improvement in some of my students’ writing, but we have a long way to go.
    b) My greatest fear is that I will a)make no difference at all or even worse b)squash a student’s confidence and love of writing. I recently realized that I have many students who actually love to write, and all the focus that I have been putting on standards this year hasn’t exactly allowed them to spread their little writing wings.
    c) I try to have the students write each day, whether it be by journal topic, shadow sentences, or a project. This class has definitely reminded me of the importance of having them express their own words every class though, and I am going to try to get back into that mode…

  3. 1.

    A) It’s hard to think back and remember what exactly I knew to start each grade. I want to say that I had the general idea of how to write reports and essays. I know that in 8th grade I had the same teacher for social studies and for English. We had to write reports and I remember a lot of word study such as in depth parts of speech. As for being equipped to be a good writer on entering high school, I think I was a decent writer. I knew the mechanics behind it, knew the parts I needed and how to create them. Whether or not I could put it all together into an interesting paper is questionable though.

    B) Writing was never a strong suit for me in high school. It wasn’t until I hit college and the whole writing process did a complete 180. No longer was it about making a paper as long as you could. It wasn’t about incorporating “flowery” words. It was really about creating a story with your words; putting the reader into your world. Funnily enough though, it still didn’t all click for me until I was a junior in college. We had a paper due once a week. Basically on any topic we wanted as long as it fit into my professor’s bigger picture. The point though, was to get your whole idea across in no more than once page. I struggled so much at first, but then it became more natural. People don’t usually sit there and talk on and on and on about a subject, so why do that in papers?

    C) As of now, with my world being so busy, I tend to only write for academic purposes. The great thing for right now though is that my classes require us to be creative in our writing. I get to create poems and stories and papers that show my personality more than only my research.


    A) I am definitely not an expert in writing. However, of my second grade team, I am the youngest and the only one still in college learning specifically how to make my literacy knowledge better. I think I bring a lot to the table because I can relate new research and new ideas that have been popular and successful. I see many of the teachers talking about how to model and what kinds of examples to show the students. Many of them say, ok let’s show them 3 “bad” examples of writing, and then we can model to show them what’s good. I can turn around and say, why show the bad at all? Why put the bad in their heads first? Show the good examples and model with the good. What’s the point in them seeing what not to do? Another strength I believe I have is that I always want my students to feel the freedom to write what’s in their heads. I have a structure they need to use, yes of course, otherwise how will they ever pass district measures. The encouragement to use their voice though is always present.

    B) My greatest fear would be that I’m not coming across clear. Writing is a difficult process to teach. Even when students have the process down and they understand the format, you have to then go back and find the areas of weakness. Well you create mini lessons based on these areas and while students work on these areas, they lose the whole rest of the process. My greatest fear is not knowing how to keep it all together. Why is it that if you focus on capitals, they forget how to write a narrative? Where does that information go?

    C) Every morning, I put a poem on the docu-cam for my students to read. They have to write about their reaction, whether positive or negative. We have a 45 minute block that is spent modeling, or giving a mini lesson, or just having them write. I never think it’s enough time. 45 minutes flies by and for those students who struggle to get going and never seem to have an idea in their head, it means they’re always behind. We also have power writing time. This is where students receive a topic to write about, we discuss for a minute or two, and then they have 1-2 minutes to write as much as they can on the topic. The point of this is to increase their fluency and ease as a writer. For some it works well, for others it just takes a lot of practice.

  4. 1.a. Like others, I don’t recall exactly what writing skills I entered high school with or when I acquired them. One thing I do remember is the 5 paragraph essay format and how often I used it. I don’t know when I learned it, but I am fairly certain I learned it over time, from different teachers, and overtime it was engrained in me. I believe this “skill” of writing helped me in high school, where I was asked to write more 5 paragraph essays (at least in 9th grade). After that, when teachers expected us to break out of that format, I still think it helped me. It was a skill that helped me organize my writing into understandable pieces.

    1.b. My 12th grade English teacher (who I also had as my ninth grade teacher and liked very much) had the largest impact on my growth as a writer. I believe this is in large part because I was not scared to write for her, and at the same time, wanted to create quality work because I truly admired her, and wanted her to admire me. I remember writing an autobiography in class senior year of high school and thinking it was fun. That is the only time in high school that I can think of where writing a paper was fun, and I believe it was because of her encouragement and ease with how she communicated with her students.

    1.c. I currently only write for academic purposes, aside from birthday cards and notes every now and then, and of course, to do lists. I don’t anticipate myself writing for my own purposes in the future. I don’t mind writing for academic purposes, but that is all I have ever done and I don’t see it transferring over after I am done with my program.

    2.a. As an aspiring elementary teacher, I believe the biggest strength I bring with me as a novice writing teacher is to help my students express themselves. I hope to be able to create a solid foundation from which they have the skills they need to express in writing what they are thinking in their heads.

    2.b. My greatest fear when it comes to teaching writing is that my students will loose their voice or “style” in their writing because of strategies I am trying to teach. Similarly, I am afraid of giving too many suggestions to students who say they “don’t know what to write about” because then they tend to only write about what I suggest.

    2.c. In elementary classrooms there are many opportunities for writing and I hope to have my students participate in different kinds of writing activities every day. One activity that I plan to implement is the quick write. I think this helps students who have perfectionist tendencies to simply write what they are thinking about or their thoughts on a topic without worrying too much about how their handwriting looks or if they are spelling something wrong.

  5. 1.
    A) It’s not easy for me to recall the high-school thing now. However, I remember that I did not learn how to write essays or reports in my high school years. All I did was that put sentences together, but I did not know that was it logical or not. In my country, we usually learn to write paragraphs in the last year of high school. But, this is not an easy way to master my writing in a year. Normally, students only need to write sentences in English classes instead of writing essays.
    B) Until I met my English teacher in my last year of high school, she taught us how to us the part of speech correctly and how to put sentences together using propositions accurately. She was an amazing teacher because she usually instructed English as American teachers and gave us an opportunity to write. She asked us to write a journal every day and shared in class. She would not grade our journals instead she collected our journals and left comments. If she thought some students needed extra instruction, she would talk to us in person.
    C) Normally, I write for academic purposes when we have a research paper or a final project during semester. Personally, I only write English journals twice a week. It seems not enough for an English learner. Or if I found out something is interesting and I would like to share with my friends, I will post an article on my blog.
    A) I do not think I am a writing expert when I was tutoring my student to write an essay. In my opinion, however, I think I can bring my logical thinking for my student. All the teaching experiences I had were to instruct very basic writing skills. Sometime, my student did not have much critical thinking when she wrote paragraphs. Therefore, I can provide some suggestions for my student to prepare them well-organized their writing.
    B) The greatest fear is that I cannot explain some tricky connection between sentences. Sometimes, I know what is wrong with my student’s writing, but I cannot explain to her. Or I also afraid that my instruction is not clear enough. If my explanations are vague, my student might use inaccurately.
    C) Personally, I will try to ask my students to write a journal every day, like my English teacher asked me to do in my high school. In addition, I will also ask my students to read, whatever the reading is. For me, writing is another important channel to express your emotion or your opinion. To write frequently, students will have a sense to write instead of struggling with writing.

  6. From my earlier school days, I don’t have too many memories of extensive writing, other than responses to different readings and weekly sentences using various vocabulary words. By the time I was in high school, I had learned all the “proper” writing rules, all the grammar and other mechanical techniques, but I think much of it was practiced on my own. In my junior year of high school, I had an English teacher, Mr. Archibald, who was instrumental in facilitating my interest in both Literature and writing. All of the responses to our readings that year were creatively structured, and I remember even devoting a month-long unit in personal writing pieces, both poetry and short stories. Mr. Archibald made our class interesting and fun, he consistently provided useful feedback to our writing, and often had us peer edit each other’s pieces. One of his mantras was that no one piece of writing was ever complete, even after we had had numerous revisions, we were always encouraged to revisit our texts if they ever called to us. Currently, other than for academic reasons, mainly my action research thesis, I regrettably do not devote much time to personal writing. For the past eight years I have kept a diary, but each time I read through entries, I find them almost years apart. One of these days I hope to pick up this important habit with renewed interest again and write more meaningful entries.
    2) Currently I teach academic writing to adult ESL students, and in many ways, I try to use my development as a second language learner and writing when I guide my students’ writing. Probably my biggest strengths are my attempts to describe writing to students depending on their writing customs and current writing techniques. I consistently ask students what the word and sentence arrangement is in their respective languages, so that I can focus part of my instruction on contrastive analysis. Initially, when instructed to develop their thoughts on a particular topic, students had meaningful ideas but did not know how to linearly organize them in a more academic, linear fashion and many acknowledged not having needed to be so organized in their sentence structure in the past.
    My greatest fear when it comes to the instruction of writing is that students remain focused on the big picture, even though we must initially analyze the word-by word construction of sentences. At times throughout the semester, I find that students need more guidance with simple grammar instruction such as subject-verb agreement, fragments, and run-on sentences. I try not to make grammar instruction too dry or separated from the actual writing process by asking students to integrate the newly acquired forms into their following writing pieces. My fear is that after students have been sufficiently “drilled” on the proper process for developing a topic sentence with its controlling idea and supporting details and examples, that they still remember that writing is so much more multidimensional than just that.
    Since academic writing is a central part of my daily instruction, I need to consistently provide students with abundant feedback during their writing process. As this class and reading research reminds us, constructive feedback throughout students’ draft writing is so essential for their writing development and improvement. Often I try to organize structured peer-feedback sessions where students highlight each other’s both strong and weak writing elements. I aspire to include more mentor texts so that students have a variety of writing examples from which to gain inspiration for their own writing.

  7. 1.)
    A- A big part of me would like to say that I started high school with a lot of the skills needed to be a successful writer. I can remember that the first teacher to challenge me with writing reports, essays and poems was my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Sevensen. When I entered middle school, I remember feeling excited and proud that I could write a three page paper easily, since I had already wrote tons of papers in sixth grade. In high school, I acquired many higher level wirting skills.

    B- The person that sticks out the most in helping me with my writing was my AP English teacher. Surprisngly, she was my AP LIterature teacher. She had us write almost all period long. Looking back now, I realize that she must have been utlizing mentor-text strategies. I credit her fully for helping me pass the AP exam with a 5.

    C- Throughout my undergrad studies I only wrote for academic purposes. Now as a grad student I constantly find myself writing in a journal. Sometimes I write down quotes I hear and write about what they make me think about. I am a big scrapbooker, and so I write down the memories so that I can scrap them later. I also do a lot of letter writing. I love making cards and giving them to my frineds. I have friends out of town, that I frequently write too- email would be faster, but letters are precious and rare.

    A- One of the biggest strenghts that I bring as a teacher is that I love reading. Hopefully, this will help when I am reading tons of student writing. I am also very patient. I feel that this will come in handy when I am trying to help students become better writers.

    B- My biggest fear when teaching wrting is that I am not familiar with all the techinical grammar rules and tricks. I don't even know that the different verb tenses are by name. I really think that this is something one can learn, but I would like to learn sooner rather than later. I also am scared of not being able to explain a confusing concept to my students in a way that could make it clearer. I want to be a great teacher, and I am scared of not knowing how to be great. However, observing and having great teachers in my life are excellent models to mimic.

    C- As an educator, the think that I must overcome is the fear of not knowing how to teach writing. I must make myself include writing components into my lesson plans. I also need to remember that all students will not come into my classroom knowing how to write. I actually need to provide them with the tools they will need to succeed. Really getting to know my students will also be a huge obstacle to overcome, but I am ready!

  8. 1. a) I think I entered high school with some of the skills required for writing, but only those that had to with editing grammar and punctuation. I had no knowledge about the craft of writing or how to revise my writing to improve it. In high school, I remember writing essays in the ‘five paragraph format.’ When we were assigned papers to write that had to be a few pages long, I remember feeling scared and frustrated because I wasn’t sure if I was doing it correctly. No one had ever taught me how to write long papers, or how to develop my thesis and elaborate in my writing.
    b) I think many people were instrumental in helping me to become a writer. Ever since I was young, I used to write poems and stories for my mother to read. She always told me that I was a good writer and that I should publish my stories. In regards to my academic writing, one of my friends helped me realize how to write formal papers. She didn’t really teach me anything but I modeled my writing after hers and I think it made me a better writer. I got discouraged about my writing skills when I was a senior in high school because my English teacher gave me a D on my first paper. It was the first time I received a grade that low and I thought it was because I was a bad writer. I wanted to prove her wrong, so I worked very hard in her class. At the end of the year, I was given an award for excellence in English, which made me more confident in my abilities as a writer.
    c) Currently, I only write for academic purposes. I always keep telling myself that I want to start a blog or keep a journal, but I never find the time to actually do those things. I think its also due to the fact that I do so much writing for academic purposes that I just don’t feel like writing in my ‘free time.’ I have been considering compiling a few of my personal essays into an anthology and publishing them, but I doubt that will ever happen!

    2. a) I don’t consider myself an expert nor a novice in teaching writing; I think I’m somewhere in the middle. During my undergraduate studies, I took a class about teaching students how to write in elementary classrooms. In this class I learned about the writing process and different tools that students can use to improve their writing like ‘exploding the moment’ and ‘taking a snapshot.’ One of my strengths is that I will be able to teach my students how to use these tools to improve their writing. However, I don’t have much experience in responding to student writing and giving them helpful feedback.
    b) My greatest fear when it comes to teaching writing is where to start with my students. I’ve never taught a writing class to adults, and I’m not sure if it follows the same basic steps as a writing class for children. Another one of my fears is not being able to give my students meaningful feedback to help them improve their writing. Sometimes I know what I want them to do, but I don’t know how to explain it. I’m also afraid of being too harsh with my feedback and maybe discouraging my students from working on their writing.
    c) If I plan to include writing in my daily teaching, I need to find a way to make my students comfortable with the task of writing and sharing their writing. Many people are very nervous about sharing their writing, which makes it my job to create an environment where students feel safe to share their work without being judged. One way to encourage students to write without feeling any pressure is by using dialogue journals in my classroom. This method of communication is beneficial because it pushes students to write without having to worry about being graded. It will also help me get closer to my students and pinpoint any struggles they may be having with their writing.

  9. 1a. I think I did enter high school with the necessary skills for writing, as I was lucky to attend a good elementary and middle school and was exposed to a fair amount of reading and writing. I don't remember how I learned this in school, but I'm sure it was focused on the more technical as opposed to the creative end.

    1b. I liked reading and writing, particularly writing, so I "became a writer" largely through internal motivation. It was also due to the great teachers and great education I received. I can't say who or what exactly was the cause. My father also helped me when I wasn't sure how to say something or needed another word, and he is a good writer, so that was helpful as well.

    1c. I mainly write for academic purposes but I write a little bit on my own. I've done so much writing for school, though-- more than I've ever written before-- and I'd like to continue to write when school is over. I'm not sure what form that will take but it's a good creative outlet for me.

    2a. As far as teaching writing goes, I think I'm a decent writer and I love helping people with their writing. I'm also patient and accepting of other styles of writing-- I'm not looking for an exact style or format but rather the best way a person can express what they're trying to say, especially one that is reflective of them as people.

    2b. My greatest fear is that I'm going to discourage them, or not explain the reasons for doing things well. It's difficult sometimes to explain why something is not right-- writing is not as cut and dry as grammar and not as easy to explain. I worry that I focus too much on errors and not on the content or the things that students do well. Errors aren't the worst things in the world and what's more important is the students are communicating something meaningful and comprehensible in their own voice.

    2c. Writing plays a role but it's not pivotal. I'm trying to incorporate it more and more as well as incorporate writing activities focused on fluency and not (just) accuracy. I want them to get used to writing and get more comfortable with it-- not simply expect to turn it in and get it back with all the errors highlighted. My obstacles are the emphasis on error correction and lack of emphasis on content, organization, and other important areas.

  10. a) Did you enter high school with the skills required for writing or did you acquire them in school?
    On my case, I will talk about my Arabic writing skill, because I just had learned English two years ago. I believe that I entered high school prepared with the skills to be a successful writer. My house environment, which my parents and sibling have a high level of education, was the best encouragement. When I was in middle school I won first place in creative writing which meant I was well prepared for high school.
    b) What or Who was instrumental in helping you to become a writer?
    For me, as I mentioned before my house environment was the essential instrumental to make me become a writer. When I was a child, in very early age, my father had a streak rules. Each week we have to read nonfiction book, then we have to write at least one paper to explain what we learned, think and why? Although, my father streak rules, at that time, brought up my tears, later I realized it gave me a skills and the way to read the world from a different side. I am glad that I have such a great parents who gave me the chance to obtain better learning.
    c) Do you only write for academic purposes or do you write for other reasons outside of the world of academia? (Currently)
    My pen is my best fiend, I use my pen to release my emotion. Most of the time, my writing help me to go through a tough time.
    2. Describe your journey as a writing teacher thus far in your career:
    a) What strengths do you bring regarding the teaching of writing (whether you consider yourself a novice or expert)?
    I think my strength side that I have an experience for being former ESL student. This experience and struggling will impact positively on my teaching methods . By knowing my students' feels, I can draw the best conclusion in which I can convey what I want.

    b) What is your greatest fears when it comes to the teaching of writing?
    My greatest fear is to give any student negative comments or feedback, sometimes we unconsciously hurt someone. In students case, that kind of mistake will cost a lot, it might break some one heart, bring it down, and change his/her future badly.

    c) If writing does play a pivotal role in your daily teaching, describe its role - or- if you aspire to include writing in your daily teaching what are some obstacles you need to overcome as an educator to do so?
    I think I most overcome the fear of writing, most of the students do not like writing class. I will try to create a safe and enjoyable class to give my students a confidence and a passion to write. Free writing would be a good idea, and choose the topic carefully would be very beneficial.

  11. 1.
    a. I think that I acquired most of my writing skills during high school. The only writing memory from middle school was a 10-page research paper. I remember that the teacher assigned us an occupation to research. I was assigned a meteorologist- which I had zero interest in. This made writing seems very tedious. A skill that I remember the teacher demonstrating over and over was how to write an annotated bibliography. In high school, I remember learning about writing strategies and the writing process.

    b. I was very lucky in high school, to have English teachers who were enthusiastic about writing. I felt like I was always writing for a purpose, even if it was a response to literature or a research topic. I appreciate that they were able to teach me the necessary writing skills in meaningful ways.
    c. Currently, I only write for academic purposes. This is largely because I don’t have a lot of extra free time. A few times, I have tired to keep a daily/weekly journal. This has usually never lasted for more than a month. I hope that in the future, I can have the discipline to write daily for 10 to 15 minutes.
    a. As a new teacher, I consider myself a novice at teaching writing. I think that my strengths are in accompanying texts with writing and modeling writing. I incorporate meaningful and engaging texts that relate to the writing topic. This has been a valuable way for me do introduce a writing topic, and gets my students excited to write. I also think that my modeled writing has been effective this year. When modeling writing, I try and write about a topic my students are very interested. Before my students being writing I always model an example before they being. They seem to be excited and engaged when I am modeling my writing. When they begin working, I see them using some the strategies that I demonstrated.

    b. I am afraid that I am either too “harsh” or too “nice” when editing my students’ writing (with them). Teaching second and third graders, they are still sensitive and want to please their teacher. I don’t want to tear apart what a student has written. At the same time, I need to make sure that they are making progress and writing at grade level. This is something that I struggle with and am still trying to find a happy medium.

    c. I try and have my students write every day. I have a daily 45-minute writing block, and writing activities in my centers. I also make an effort to celebrate my students’ writing. We partner up with a first grade class and about once every two weeks share and celebrate our latest writing accomplishment.