Effective Writing Instruction

In the article by Zumbrum and Krause, they discuss five main themes of effective writing instruction. The themes are listed below. Bullet pointed beneath each theme there are examples connected to what we have discussed in class this semester.

1. Effective writing instructors realize the impact of their own writing beliefs, experiences, and practices.

  • We have discussed in class the concept of teacher as writer. There is value in the students seeing the teacher process and work through writing the same way they do including possible misspelling of words, pauses in thought, and other editing strategies.

2. Effective writing instruction encourages student motivation and engagement.

  • We talk a lot about helping the students discover topics that are meaningful to them and worth writing about. By writing a poem, narrative, etc. the students can then work toward publishing their work and having an audience to read or hear their work.

3. Effective writing instruction begins with clear and deliberate planning, but is also flexible.

  • We have created many models to walk students through the process; however, when it comes down to it the teacher guides the students through teaching and they come up with their own product. Like writing a poem as a class, the teacher has planned in advance, but in the end is flying at the seat of their pants.

4. Effective writing instruction and practice happen every day.

  • We have talked about how writing can be pushed aside, but ultimately you get better at writing by writing. In all subject areas the students can practice writing to incorporate other content areas. By using writer notebooks the students are also encouraged to take them home and write when they are inspired. It does not all have to happen at school.

5. Effective writing instruction is a scaffold collaboration between teachers and students.

  • The students need effective feedback in order to grow in their writing abilities. The teacher needs to know their students and know what they are capable of. In class we have discussed how to prompt more writing through interested questions or the use of mentor texts

 


 

I appreciate in the book Any Questions, Marie-Louis Gay tells the students that what inspired her was all of their questions. This shows students that they do have the stories and abilities already in their minds of being capable story writers. Questions are encouraged and imaginations can run wild. Children tell stories all of the time and this is a place for them to write them on paper. Through her book she has an example of a traditional story that has outrageous and fun ideas in it to spark the students creativity.

The scaffolds in the article by Laminack, provide the support students may need to create characters, setting, purpose, etc. It is broken up in sections for the students to list out their thoughts. This could even be completed as a class to have guided practice. Much like in Mentor Texts, the scaffolds can be exciting like through using theatre or a seesaw scaffold!

The students are encouraged to be a reader too. I like how the article overlaps reading and writing. The students will be better readers by reading and will become better writers by reading too.

References:

Dorfman, L.R., & Cappelli, R. (2007) Mentor Texts. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers.

Gay, M. L. (2014). Any Questions. Ground Wood Books

Laminack, L. (2016). Story matter. The Reading Teacher, 70(2), 249-253.

Zumbrum, S., Krause, K. (2012). Conversations with leaders: principles of effective writing instruction. The Reading Teacher, 65(5), 346-353.

 

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Blackout Poetry #2

20161107_215814Lord, what must

I do until death.

go.

making relations in

everything you do

open to dialogue

and unfamiliar experiences.

 

*The strategy I used was first finding an opening line, then I found the keys words that were topical for the poem. I continued to skim throughout the page to find words that would flow together. I boxed the words I liked until a poem formed and blacked out the rest.

 

 

Poetry, Boys, and Misconceptions

The article “It’s something that I feel like writing, instead of writing because I’m being told to: elementary boys’ experiences writing and performing poetry” by Hawkins and Certo goes through a study of teaching boys poetry. More often than not, boys interact with poetry less and are less engaged with it. This goes beyond the way it is taught, but also the content it usually covers.

The study investigates teaching about twenty boys poetry using mentor text that interest them and writing on topics that are meaningful to them. The boys wrote about basketball, cheetahs, dragons, war, their mother, etc. The results and responses from the boys showed that they can and do enjoy poetry when it is meaningful to them. It is a way for them to write about their thoughts, feelings, interests, and a way to share their work for their voices to be heard. I love this poem below by DeMarcus who goes against all grammatical structure and creates one, long, run-on sentence. He demonstrates how there is structure in his poem through the lack of structure and carries you through a story of a basketball game.

Hoops by DeMarcus

Shouting yelling peanuts throwing

basketball flying nets swishing

Lakers Celtics all-star games people

talking having fun crowd going

crazy coach yelling shoot the

ball Pierce shoots Celtics win

This article has given me more insight on how to teach poetry to both boys and girls alike in the coming week as Leanne and I teach my class our unit. I am looking forward to seeing how the boys and girls respond to the unit!

I love the two resources below that address views on poetry and helping people discover or recreate their personal view on poetry. It also mentions how “sappy” poetry should not define the entire unit. There is more too it and it can connect with all people at any phase of life.

Creech, S. (2001). Love that dog. New York, NY: HarperCollins.

Damico, J. S., & Carpenter, M. (2005). Evoking hearts and heads: Exploring issues of social justice                 through poetry. Language Arts, 83(2), 137–146.

Reference:

Hawkins, L. K., Certo, J. L. (2014). It’s something that I feel like writing, instead of writing because I’m          being told to: elementary boys’ experiences writing and performing poetry. Pedagogies: An                    International Journal 9(3), 196-215.

I am from

I am from a feather duster

from a water filter and granite counters.

I am from the bars on windows

rough, rigid, cold – but common.

I am from the black iris.

The olive tree

whose long gone limbs I remember

as if they were my own.

I’m from chocolate gravy and games

from Baba and Mama.

I’m from reflecting and prayer

and from forgiveness.

I’m from have fun and don’t get hurt

and ahlan wa sahlan.

I’m from airports.

I’m from Jordan, Switzerland, and the Cherokee tribe.

Shwarma and Falafel,

From my mother’s illness

and my family’s support.

The time we spend together

anyhow anywhere

Is always a reason to celebrate!

Poetry Mini Lesson: draft #1

Grade & Setting: Four third-graders in an EC resource setting (30 minutes per day).

Purpose: To submerge students in a wide variety of poetry and poets; specifically, free verse poetry in an effort to redefine their understandings and expectations of poetry.

Hook: Ask students to think about their experiences with poetry.

  • Do they like reading it?
  • Have they ever read it?
  • Have they ever tried to write it?
  • Do they have a favorite poem?
  • If they don’t like it, why? What do they not like?

After students have had time to process, provide students with black paper and chalk in order to begin a Chalk Talk. Students will silently write their feelings and experiences with poetry in chalk; engaging with their classmates through conversation on paper.

(For more on Chalk Talk)

Poetry Reading: During this time we want to engage students in a poetry read aloud. We have selected poems from

  • All the Small Poems, Valerie Worth
  • Firefly July, Paul B. Janeczko
  • Forest Has a Song, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
  • and other selected mentor texts.

Exploration: After reading 6-7 poems that were purposefully and intentionally selected, students will have an opportunity to browse a wide selection of poets and poems in a book browse. During this time, texts will be available for them to flip through, read, and enjoy; further allowing them to build a self-motivated love for poetry.

Poetry Heart Maps: We will provide the materials necessary to create a poetry heart map. This will be a place for students to think through the places, people, and things that they are inspired by. This is a source for students to come back to again and again as they begin to write poetry. We will model the creation of a heart map and then guide students through making their own with support as necessary.

Reflection: Students will complete an “exit ticket” identifying one new thing they learned about poetry during our time together.

More Poetry!…

I Am a Fox

I imagine my life in the wooded wild.

I make my home in the bristly bushes.

I appear to be a native.

I wonder if other foxes know I am a fraud?

I’m known for my past because I don’t fit in yet.

I hear the birds calling back and forth to each other; whistles all around.

I see trees blowing in the wind.

I want to be a part of the wild.

I excel at seeking out adventure.

I am predisposed to pounce on prey.

I am a fox.

 

In my ecosystem, the soldier you will find is the only remnant of home.

I question if my boy misses me?…is he looking for me?

My family saved me; my second family that is.

I feel torn between two worlds.

I touch the toy soldier as a reminder of him.

You probably didn’t know this, but I intently watch my surroundings.

I worry about my boy and what he is doing.

I cry when I allow myself to feel.

For me, communication happens with my boy and fox.

Like you, I understand the need of a family.

I am a fox.

 

I sound like a small pup.

I believe I am much bigger.

Unlike my kind, I’ve been domesticated.

Every day I discover ways that I am not.

I dream that I return to Peter.

I try to look for tracks.

My greatest threats are beasts in the woods and thinking of the state my boy is in.

I hope my boy is looking for me too.

In the wild, I discover more of who I was created to be – who I could have been.

But in captivity, it is truly home.

I am a fox.

 

Who am I?

I am all around,

but you hardly notice me.

I hold myself together

in the sky, I can be

streaky, buffy, or fluffy.

 

You may see me as clear

as crystals as soft as

snow or as hard as hail.

I tumble down and fall

from the sky.

 

I gather in bowls

and bring life to all.

I come make my way

to an even greater bucket.

I then, in the heat, make my

way back up in the sky.

 

You see, I go around and around.

Who am I?

 

Blackout Poetry

20161101_094335

Language Arts – TAKR

My favorite part of this chapter is the art exhibit hung low to the ground. The walking on knees part may be a little uncomfortable; however, the sitting part and slowly moving around is appealing to me. I have been to many museums and art exhibits around the world. When I was younger, they would bore me easily. I appreciated the fact that my dad would take pictures of the signs and read them later because we did not have the patience to read every word. The older I have gotten, the more interested I am in learning new information and the art behind it.

One time I went to an exhibit in Belgium with some friends. One friend in particular was a graphic designer and just had an eye for art. She could critique and admire the details I never would have thought about on my own. I remember her talking about the different types of strokes, the angles, the color schemes, etc. It blew my mind! I’m the kind of person who loves to stand and look at a piece that catches my eye, study it for a while and learn about it then walk and glance for a while at a few until the next major piece catches my eye. If I did like TAKR mentions, I would appreciate, learn about, and enjoy much more art on a deeper level as I rest on my knees.

References

Rosenthal, A. K. (2016). Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal. New York, NY: Penguin Random House.

 

all the poetry and more poetry

I have to say I have read and written more poetry in the past two weeks than I ever have before. It has been a beautiful process and has allowed me to see the significance in shorter lines. In our writer’s notebook we wrote stories about the small moments in life. I like the transition to writing poems about the small moments or small items in our every day lives.

In Awakening the Heart it says, “How we see ourselves inside determines how and why we write, and what poems we choose to read and cherish.” The small moments I choose to write about mean something to me on a deeper level. The objects I write about, like in All the Small Poems and Fourteen More, carry a heavier weight and are valuable to my upbringing.

I mentioned before in another post that I love reading poetry by people I know. I think this is because I get to know more about who they are, how they think, and what is important to them. In turn, I am looking forward to having my students write poetry because it is an avenue to know my students’ hearts too.

Below are drafts of a couple poems I have written this past week.

Hammock

after Broom from All the Small Poems and Fourteen More pg. 90

 

The hammock, kept

In a drawer, bundled

In a bag –

Squeezed lifeless,

Squished all together

As tight as a ball –

 

But strung

From trunk to trunk,

It is another thing,

Stretched far,

Easily breathing,

Swaying back

And forth wrapped

Around a body:

 

Where it swings,

Together,

Pleasantly,

A long, thin

Bed, having

Nothing at all

To do

With a bag

 

I Wish

I wish

the parking lot

was always

this empty.

I would

always get

a good

spot.

20161014_194047

References

Heard, G. (1999). Awakening the heart. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Worth, V. (1994). All the small poems and fourteen more. New York, NY: Square Fish.

Small Poems

I have vague memories of writing poetry in elementary school and do not remember going much further until Shakespeare in high school. It was difficult for me understand the text and dulled my perception of poetry. I read All the Small Poems and Fourteen More by Valerie Worth and it helped me realize that poetry is about expressing yourself, but it can also be about anything. I figured I would try it out myself. Here is a draft of a poem that I wrote in my writer’s notebook. This is an object that is close to me, but other than that this is just a poem written similarly to how Worth writes hers.

Columns

Corinthian

Doric

Ionic

Styles at the top.

 

Tall

Stacked

Round

Its size from the ground.

 

Cold

Firm

Stuck

Is how it feels.

 

Rows,

miles long

aligning the road

which leads to Rome.

 

References:

Worth, V. (1994). All the small poems and fourteen more. New York, NY: Square Fish.

Poetry Reflection Draft 2

Like a lot of people, I didn’t like poetry growing up. I did not understand how someone could write about a tree and hundreds of years later people say that the writer was actually talking about “insert a deep thought here; related or not” and long discussions, debates, and even books be written about that concept whether or not it was the writer’s intention. Interpretation – that is where I struggled with poetry.

My brother is a poet. He enjoys writing poetry and he is very good at portraying his thoughts through fewer words and complex imagery. My friend Habeeb, who I grew up in school with, is a poet. He is very knowledgeable on literature and it is reflected in his poetry styles. What I have realized is that I value poetry and can now enjoy reading it. I enjoy it most when I know who wrote it. I can discuss more complex thoughts within writing, but can definitely be more invested when I know the circumstances and person as the writer. I like the full picture of knowing the writer and their writing.

I can’t say I write poetry very much myself, I am more of a story writer. What I do like about writing is that I can put down all of my thoughts and feelings. Like I have just mentioned, I like writing because it gives me the full picture of where I am at through my writing. I have not delved into writing poetry to speak enough about it, just an occasional haiku.

I have not had to teach poetry. The closest I have been to teaching poetry is through Bible study and reading poems written throughout scripture like in Genesis, Exodus, Psalm, etc. My criteria for good poetry is very broad. I guess poetry is not any other type of writing like narratives or research, etc.

Knowing that I like being able to relate to poetry, I would do the same for my students in my classroom. I would have them read poetry from people they know, read poetry I wrote, and have them write their own poetry. Some would be funny and others serious. There is a lot of variety in poetry and I would let them dabble in a lot of different types and see which ones they like. We could have a poetry open mic night which the stool and the spotlight with everyone else laying on bean bags and such. I would incorporate poetry centers into my classroom to address different topics in poetry. This could include listening to poetry, word scrambles, a treasure hunt for poetry, illustrating poetry, performing poetry, etc. I would teach a poem that is easily accessible and a poem they can relate to. Then I would guide the students to interpret and analyse the poem in depth in order to apply those skills to other poetry the students read.

Poetry is, like I mentioned above, a topic that is more often than not seen as boring and hard to understand. I like the idea of seeing where poetry hides and sharing that with my students. Poetry does not hide in an assignment but in nature and in life. It is personalized and is another way of looking at the small moments in life and appreciating them.

Poetry is a much more moving and interesting topic than what is typically viewed and I am looking forward to growing with that mindset as well.

 

Poetry Reflection. Draft 1

Like a lot of people, I didn’t like poetry growing up. I did not understand how someone could write about a tree and hundreds of years later people say that the writer was actually talking about “insert a deep thought here; related or not” and long discussions, debates, and even books be written about that concept whether or not it was the writer’s intention. Interpretation – that is where I struggled with poetry.

My brother is a poet. He enjoys writing poetry and he is very good at portraying his thoughts through fewer words and complex imagery. My friend Habeeb, who I grew up in school with, is a poet. He is very knowledgeable on literature and it is reflected in his poetry styles. What I have realized is that I value poetry and can now enjoy reading it. I enjoy it most when I know who wrote it. I can discuss more complex thoughts within writing, but can definitely be more invested when I know the circumstances and person as the writer. I like the full picture of knowing the writer and their writing.

I can’t say I write poetry very much myself, I am more of a story writer. What I do like about writing is that I can put down all of my thoughts and feelings. Like I have just mentioned, I like writing because it gives me the full picture of where I am at through my writing. I have not delved into writing poetry to speak enough about it, just an occasional haiku.

I have not had to teach poetry. The closest I have been to teaching poetry is through Bible study and reading poems written throughout scripture like in Genesis, Exodus, Psalm, etc. My criteria for good poetry is very broad. I guess poetry is not any other type of writing like narratives or research, etc.

Knowing that I like being able to relate to poetry, I would do the same for my students in my classroom. I would have them read poetry from people they know, read poetry I wrote, and have them write their own poetry. Some would be funny and others serious. There is a lot of variety in poetry and I would let them dabble in a lot of different types and see which ones they like. We could have a poetry open mic night which the stool and the spotlight with everyone else laying on bean bags and such.