Wednesday, August 6, 2014

2014 TCRWP August Writing Institute - Day 3

Annie - Literary Essay / Research Argument Essay
 We first spent time orally rehearsing our draft of our Literary Essay and then we did a flash draft of it. Some tips Annie gave included:
* Be sure to have at least 2-3 pieces of evidence for each bullet point
* Ask if each piece is relevant to the point
* The goal is to have the reader of your essay consider your opinion. to reach this goal, the most compelling evidence must be used.
* Providing time to orally rehearse just prior to the flash-draft helps to great strong writing down on the page
* On flash-draft days, be hands-off as a teacher. Walk around and read over shoulders looking for patterns. Push all to get their essay down and remind them that during revision, they can fix it up.

Argument Essay
All the skills from essay and literary essay are used. The difference is that a debatable topic is chosen that exists in the world and our job is to suspend all of our own judgement and read LOTS of research on both sides. Then the essayist decides on which side to agree with and writes an essay.

Bend One - Though choice is usually given in WW, for this unit, the topic is assigned. This ensures that the teacher can provide resources that are for both sides of the argument. The resources are articles, graphics and videos. As text is read, the reader charts evidence that is for and against. Annie modeled reading one text with us and then had us reading about the topic of competitive sports. Are competitive sports good or bad for kids? This is the argument that is part of the new Grade 7 Argument Unit. A typical cycle will look like one day to research, one day to flash-draft, 305 days to revise and then publish.

Colleen - Mentor Text
Colleen shared a nonfiction text with us - No Monkey, no Chocolate.

It is by Melissa Stewart, Colleen's new favorite nonfiction children's author.
On her website, she has an amazing timeline showing why it took 10 years to get this book published! Check it out and peruse her whole website where she shares so much of her writing process!

We read the text, using one of the lens and asking the suggested questions.
As promised, here's Colleen's list:
What are the parts of the text? How are those parts connected? How are those parts organized? What effect does organization and connectedness have on the reader? Are there any parts of the structure that don't seem to fit? Why? Why do you think the author organized it this way? What possible connections are there between the meaning of the piece and its structure? Where else have I seen this structure before? Was it for similar reasons? How could I apply it to my own writing?

What is this text really about? What else could it be about? If I'm not sure what the text is really about, what am I sure it is NOT about? What are some moves the author makes that help make the possible meaning clear? What do I know about the author that helps me further understand the meaning? What similarities so I see between this text and other texts with similar meanings or themes? How could I apply this to my own writing?

What is my favorite parts of this piece? How did the author create those parts on the paragraph, sentence, or word level? How does the craft affect the structure and vice versa? What possible connections are there between the craft of the piece and its meaning? Where else have I seen similar craft moves before? How were the effects similar or different? How could I apply this to my own writing?

What moves has the author made that are clearly in line with the characteristics of the genre? What moves, if any, are out of line? Why would the author decide to do that? How could I apply this to my own writing?

What moves around grammar, punctuation, and sentence construction stand out?
When looking at the powerful segments of the text, what ways were conventions used that contribute to that power? Looking across the piece, what patterns in conventions do you see? What effects does the author's use of grammar and conventions have or not have on the reader? How do grammar and conventions affect the meaning of the piece? Why do you think the author chose to use conventions in those ways? How could I apply this to my own writing?

Next Colleen pointed out that published writing is very inspiring for writers. However sometimes they are too perfect and our students can be intimidated. This is when WE can write a mentor text.

Mirror Writing Strategy - Colleen showed us writing by a 3rd grader. Then she modeled writing a similar piece just as the student did, using all the things the student was doing as well as what he wasn't going.  Then we tried to do it on our own. This was hard but it did give me a strong understanding of what the student can and can't do as a writer.

Write Off the Checklist
Looking at the checklist, try to write a piece to match. This gives you a strong felt sense of the checklist.

Student's Best Writing
Ask students to look at their writing and pick a place where the writing is really good. Then have them annotate that place, naming what they did. "Now take the things you did well and try writing another piece. Write it as good or better."

Closing Workshop - Mentor Text by Cynthia Satterlee
1. Using the checklist, read a menotr text to see if it has examples that match. Using three different colored sticky notes, name what you see in the mentor text. Orange = structure; Blue = development; Green = Language conventions. She modeled this showing a NF book called Surprising Sharks. On the first page she placed an orange sticky and wrote: The author wrote a lead that asked a question of the reader to engage them and also included humor. Once the mentor text is annotated, it can be used during a ML or conference to help a writer see how they might "steal" this writing move.

2. NF Goal Sheet and Technique Sheets - these were created for the grade 6-8 Writing Units of Study. They are a great reference to remind the teacher of the moves that an author makes in NF books and WHY these moves are made. GREAT RESOURCE!!

3. Units of Study - she pointed out that in the Units of Study book, there are specific lessons explaining how to teach students to use mentor text! I'll be sure to read these and teach them!

Keynote - Kate Roberts
(staff developer, co-author of Falling in Love with Close Reading and new mom to Bo!)
Just like parents-to-be who research to know what to expect, teachers research and study to know what to expect in their classrooms. However, just like new parents, teachers need to adjust their expections to fit the reality. We need expections in eduction but we can't hold on too tight. Instead, she suggested we keep our expections huimble.
* Know what they are good for and what they are not good for
* Keep kids at the center of our work
* Make the decision as a teacher to have FUN because then our students will remember what we teach them.


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