Thursday, August 7, 2014

2014 TCRWP August Writing Institute - Day 4

Annie - Argument Essay
A suggested classroom visual to have during this unit: 3 posters (for/against/undecided).
As he unit topic is first shared, ask students to place a sticky with their name on it on one of the 3 posters. Then as they do research, check back and move it is hey change their mind. Remind the class that we all have opinions. For this unit, the challenge is to stay open to all aspects of a topic (which is a great life-skill) and know that their name sticky note can move at any time based on the evidence they learn through research.

The TCRWP website has MANY text-sets already created to do this work.

They also have performance assessment in reading NF that could be used as an assessment or as texts to read to write an argument:

During Round 2, the topic stays the same. Now you are teaching how to write a stronger essay.
* Teach how to analyze the writer of a source of information.
* Do with articles by having readers question what the research article and info-graphics say/show
* Start noticing the moves that are one in the text set and apply this craft to writing

Possible lace to find a topic is the local paper an hen use the local paper's articles as a text set.

A well-written article uses many techniques (see grade 6-8 list) to reach many goals (see handout of gr 6-8 goals) To notice this, we watched an amazing speech by Severn Cullins-Suzuki given in 1992 at the UN Global Summit - Watch and be ready to be speechless after she completes her argument (just as the members of the UN were!)
Then we named the techniques Severn used and the goals she was able to achieve while listening to her speech. The same kind of work can be done with the essay arguments that our students write. The worksheets shared from the MS Units of Study is a VERY useful tool!

Colleen - Mentor Text
Thee books Colleen shared today are:

All could be used to teach many, many writing lessons! 
We were to bring a mentor text we plan to use this year in WW and plan out a mini-lesson in just 7 minutes! I used:

It was useful to plan purposeful work using a mentor text in a short amount of time!

Finally Colleen stated "A happy teacher is one that has a conferring toolkit" (which I have started to make!) and she listed those things to include in it:
* One familiar whole class mentor text, marked up with post-its, pointing out how all the ways different parts of the text can be used as a model for students' writing
* More mentor texts at various levels, maybe typed up to leave a copy with a stuent after a conference
*Student work samples - can use the nes in the Writing Pathways book
* A typed up version of my charted class demo writing 
* Checklists
* My Writing notebook
* My conference notes
* post-its
* highlighters
* gel pens
* plastic pocket to mark up a piece of writing and then it can be wiped off to use again

Workshop - Carl Anderson on Mentor Text
Carl reinforced ALL that Colleen has said all week long!
He emined me that another possible small moment mentor text to use is Ralph Fletcher's Marshfield Dreams:

I want to reread this and add some of the excepts to my toolkit!!

Keynote: Seymour Simon
As Cornelius brilliantly and enthusiastically introduced this amazing nonfiction children's author, he reminded me of why we need to read NF. "We cannot fix the world if we cannot describe the problems of the world." By reading Seymour's books, we come to understand the world and can then write about it. He also reminded the audience that if the 1,200 Institute participants were placed in book clubs of four people each, each group could be given a different Seymour Simon book to read and no repeating of titles would be necessary. That is a lot of books!!
Then while Seymour talked, he shared that when he writes NF, he tries to:
* write it as an exciting story
* use vivid language and action verbs
* use comparisons ("Just the tongue of the whale weighs as much as an elephant.")
* asks questions
* uses photos and diagrams

His website is amazing:

He also posts a prompt each Wednesday to encourage student writing. Here's the link:
Maybe this can be a place to visit on Wednesdays!!

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