Friday, June 30, 2017

I Needed a Breakthrough to Promote Student Engagement in Writing

Welcome to our book study of The Writing Strateies Book: Your Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Writers by Jennifer Serravallo.  I'm joining forces with some fabulous teacher bloggers, hosted by An Apple for the Teacher, to discuss the writing strategies we come across in this AMAZING professional text!

Because this book isn't your typical professional development book filled with individual "Chapters" of narrative, each teacher blogger will be giving you a glimpse into the 10 goals that are preresented in the text.  Each goal area is filled with many valauable strategies that will help you to support and guide your students as they become better writers.

Keep in mind, we are only highlighting a FEW strategies in each section. There are over 300 strategie in the whole book.

You can find my posts for the previous sections below:
Introduction to 300 Writing Strategies

Goal 1:  Composing With Pictures


I love this quote by Jennifer Seravallo,

One tool that Jennifer uses to figure out who needs support with engagement is an engagement inventory which is a "kid-watching" tool. This tool lets you know what students are spending their time doing. Things to monitor in a 5-10 minute increments during the writing time would include:
  • writing
  • thinking or planning
  • setting up: putting out pencils, erasers, setting up paper
  • meeting with writing partner
  • distracted: out of seat, getting a drink, wondering around the room
  • hand raised
  • at writing center (getting supplies)
I just added this document.  I have only used Forms a couple of times, and it worked quite differently the last time I used it.  My options were different, so you will need to make a copy or my copy will change.  Once you make your own copy, you can add your students in and your inventory should be ready. Click HERE for a copy.   Please let me know if this form did or didn't work for you.

Another tool used is a chart of the volume of writing adapted from Writing Pathways (Calkins 2014) I made a chart for my students. 
For a free copy of this chart, click here

This chapter suggests that we ask our students to reflect on their writing, so I have created three foldable lessons to go into their Interactive Journals.  To find out more about the foldable, just click on the picture below.

Engagement Strategies

Decide if the Piece is "Finished" (for now) and Self-Start a New One

Strategy: When you have written all you can, turn the page and start a new writing.

Teaching Tip: Most writing is not really done, until it is due, because there is always something you can tweek.  It is a great skill for a writer to learn to set something aside and start on a new topic.  The student needs to understand that this piece that has just been set aside is something to return to at a later date to work on.

It is recommended to have a chart that students can refer to and then add to it throughout the year.  Here is the chart I am going to start with.  It is free at my TpT store.  Just click on the picture.

 Fun Little Aside

When I was working on this chart for my students, I decided that I needed a checkmark.  I couldn't find any in my clip art (even though I'm sure I have one somewhere), so I looked for a free check mark on TpT.  I didn't find any, so I made some.  I got a bit carried away, and made a ton of them. Here they are.  The first set is one of my new freebies.

Enough checkmarks. It's time to get back to writing strategies.

Listen. Praise.

I chose this strategy to share because it involves the writing partners, it is good for any genre or text type, and it works well with any grade level.  One partner reads to the other  partner.  The listener's job is to listen to the engaging parts.  When the partner finds a spot he enjoys, he will interrupt the reader and they mark the margin next to the powerful spot.  I really like how the author gives a purpose to use writing partners in her "Lesson Language"
Sometimes when we write, a voice of doubt starts to creep in. "Whose every going to want to read this?!" you might thing.  "There's nothing here worth keeping," you might tell yourself.  It is at this moment that you need to reach out to a friend, or your writing partner, for some help.  Not the kind of help to "fix" the things you think are wrong, but the kind of friend and partner to cheer you on to keep going. (Serravallo, 2017)

Writers Are Problem Solvers

Often times students want to solve their own problems, but just don't know how.  The student needs to identify the problem, then check the spot in the room, a resource, or a friend that might help solve the problem.  Try the solution.  If it works, great.  If it doesn't work, try a different solution.  The author gives an example chart in the book titled "How to Stay Focused."  What a great chart!  It is the kind that you don't want as a prefab chart.  This is the kind of chart that should be created by your students.  Here is an example one.

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