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How Dialogue Journals Build Teacher-Student Relationships

…students.” Writing Fluency: When students write in dialogue journals, there’s no pressure to fulfill an assignment or construct perfect sentences. Students just write. And the more a person writes, the more confident they become and the better their writing gets. If the teacher can identify topics that are important to the student, this can inspire far more writing than a student would ever produce for an assignment. Nick, the student above who wrote about Derek Jeter, initially told Galarza he hated to write. After their first exchange about the Yankees, Galarza says the topic stayed with them for the rest…

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Fire Up Your Students with a Campaign Project

…checking in on what they were doing, giving encouragement, asking questions to redirect learning, and supporting with writing models where necessary. I paused by one pair of students who were writing a speech. They were using an anchor chart to prompt ideas and had already integrated some good speech writing techniques into their writing. “What’s the rule of 3’s?” I asked. They explained that you repeat a phrase three times at the start of three sentences in a row to add emphasis. They showed me their example; I was so impressed.  Anchor charts help students apply genre-specific strategies to their…

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Why is my kid allowed to make spelling mistakes?

…inventive spellings! Sharon This was fantastic to read, due to the fact l’m working with children with literacy and writing. Maybe you can give me more helpful hints encouraging children getting interested in writing Mona Thank you very much for sharing the research. My own experience in writing was terrible because my primary teachers focused more on spelling, handwriting and presentation rather than the writing ideas which was given to us in order to present good writing. As I started my secondary school I found that I have to find my own ideas for writing, it took me a while…

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Episode 171: Does Your School Need a Literacy Check-Up?

…there’s a checklist of items that are focused on writing process and writing modeling and demonstration. That is the same all the way up in the tools through grade 12 for writing. But the difference on the elementary tool is that we’re also looking at handwriting and spelling instruction.  So there are practices that are deemed more effective, and actually there’s a continuum that children move through with their handwriting and their uses of spelling and sound relationships from scribbling to things that look more like words. So anyway, this tool is trying to check where are they? What are…

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Delaying the Grade: How to Get Students to Read Feedback

…long your terms might be) Thanks Geoff Lauren Jackson I have been using a similar process to yours for several years and have really appreciated the difference it makes to student focus on their writing. One more step in the revision process that I find helpful is to ask students to include a brief one-paragraph reflection about how they made their writing stronger. This helps them think about the effectiveness of their changes and also helps me understand what their goals were for the revision. Sometimes students are interested in working on a particular aspect of their writing, and it…

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Episode 160: Fire Up Your Students with a Campaign Project

…to present it to each other. Actually, as we go along, we stop and share bits of our writing. They’re all exposed to a whole range of ways of writing. So I think they’re getting a lot of breadth from that, from just one theme. I think that’s another big advantage.  GONZALEZ: Yeah, and that’s ultimately what this is. It is a writing unit, it’s just that it’s got a much clearer focus and a better real-world application.  CURRELL: Yes, yeah.  GONZALEZ: Yeah. So what our main goal today is to sort of teach people how they can do this…

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Episode 175 Transcript

…that that would be part of the process.  GONZALEZ: Yeah.  FRIEDEN: So that, all of this stuff is happening more regularly in my class, and students are just understanding that this is the way writing happens.  GONZALEZ: That’s great. So, is their actual writing getting better too?  FRIEDEN: Yes.  GONZALEZ: You’re getting better writing from them?  FRIEDEN: Yeah, because I’m making them write a ton because we need a ton to work with here and then as they just, just going through the motions of processing their own writing and turning it into a second draft multiple times, just makes…

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Does Your School Need a Literacy Check-Up?

…and fluent, legible handwriting. They need lots of opportunities to write in order to become both more competent and confident. Unfortunately, what I’m seeing in elementary classrooms is what Mike Schmoker has seen too—arts and crafts activities masquerading as writing instruction (see “The Crayola Curriculum” here).  The tool below focuses on the writing process and specific, effective strategies (shared writing, interactive writing, mentor texts, etc.). It’s a succinct guide to help everyone remember and look for evidence of best practices. Click images to open larger view. Click here to make a copy of this tool for your Google Drive. Middle…

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Back to Basics: A Review of Mike Schmoker’s “Focus”

…attempt to solve problems.” Handle the paper load: Don’t collect or grade everything; focus feedback on specific issues rather than everything in a piece of writing. Students should be involved in discussions at least three times per week, with established criteria to guide them; write at least one formal essay per month (or a minimum number agreed up on by PLCs); and give one or two presentations per semester based on their formal writing.     Social Studies Reading and writing must be at the core: Too many teachers are falling for “faddish” activities like skits and posters. Build the…

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