Posted on 05/11/2010 by debrennersmith
Posted on 04/29/2010 by debrennersmith
Read the book, Petunia, then establish the procedure that there is no FAKE reading during independent reading time by students.
Establish that students pick a book that they want to read instead of that the teacher assigns a book to the child.
Establish with the students what independent reading looks like and sounds right. What are the expectations? When we look around the classroom, what does the teacher see and hear? What do the students? How is the teacher holding the students accountable?
Read the book Wolf to establish what fluency understanding means.
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Posted on 02/08/2010 by debrennersmith
Just Right Books
To help keep kids’ in seats instead of moving back and forth to picking out books during their self-selected reading time (or independent reading time), book baggies help. Often, teachers will have their students place books that are at their level or are ‘just-right’ books into the baggies. Some teachers will include nonfiction books, magazines, fiction books, picture books, even chapter books.
Filed under: Beyond Retelling, comprehension strategies, conference, confering, Debra Renner Smith, debrennersmith.blogspot.com, explicit teaching, Favorite Picture Book, http://www.debrennersmith.blogspot.com, I can read the book, independent reading, just right books, Linda Gambrell, Pat Cunningham, Patricia Cunningham, Reading Aloud, reading real books, Self Selected Reading, SSR, www.debrennersmith.blogspot.com | Tagged: Debra Renner Smith, Four Blocks, independent reading, just right books, Pat Cunningham, Patricia Cunningham, SSR, True Stories from Four Block Classrooms, True Stories to Four Blocks Classrooms | 2 Comments »
Posted on 03/02/2009 by debrennersmith
The goal of a conference is not to ask questions, it is to understand our students as writers.
Conferences are designed to give students time to ask questions and clarify their thinking, and it gives teachers the opportunity to shape instruction to meet students’ individual and collective needs. The goal of a writing conference is not for the teacher to ask questions. Remember that each student is different, and therefore you need to approach each conference differently. Find out what that student needs to be a better writer. Questions may come naturally once the conference has started, but questions should not be the objective. I find myself coaxing some children into conversations by asking questions. It just doesn’t work. I find that silence works. Students will start talking if I let them. I have to remember to teach the writer, not the writing. The Art of Teaching Writing by Lucy Calkins, 1994. I also have studied Carl Anderson’s extensive work. He encourages teachers to deliberately teach during the conference. I agree. This is a wonderful one-on-one time for the teacher and student.
Filed under: conference, confering, writing, Writing Mini-Lessons, writing minilesson, Writing Workshop | Tagged: Carl Anderson, conference, conferring, Lucy Calkins, Strategic Writing Conferences Carl on Camera. conferring, The Art of Teaching Writing, writing | 1 Comment »
Posted on 01/22/2009 by debrennersmith
Mentor texts using picture books are effective and one of my favorite ways to approach teaching. I label the teaching strategy simply first in one-three words, then find it in the picture book. I explain the teaching strategy in simple, general terms. Finally, I explain the writing strategy specifically combining the picture book and the writing strategy. It sounds complicated when I write about it, but actually it is very simple for students and the teachers I train to understand. I have numerous books done now. This is one of the teachers’ favorite trainings that I offer now.
Stellaluna by Janell Cannon is wonderful for a Mentor Text to use with grades 2 and 3. I use Jeff Anderson’s book, Mechanically Inclined and his book, Everyday Editing as resources.
I hope you find this resource useful. Many other teachers have found it useful. I bought 25 copies of Stellaluna to model this lesson with teachers and students.
Stacey wrote about The Pencil on her site: http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/2009/01/17/draft-of-a-new-craft-table-about-ahlbergs-the-pencil-a-work-in-progress/
I wrote about mentor texts and gave lots of examples of craft lessons on my other blog here: http://debwritingcraftlessons.blogspot.com/
Filed under: conference, confering, craft lessons, Debra Renner Smith, Jeff Anderson, writing, Writing Conference, writing consultant, Writing Mini-Lessons, writing minilesson | Tagged: Debra Renner Smith, Janell Cannon, Jeff Anderson, MEAP, mentor text, Stellaluna, writing grammar | Leave a Comment »
Posted on 01/22/2009 by debrennersmith
“No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.” Robert Frost
Donald Murray about Writing and Teaching For Surprise in his book, expecting the unexpected Teaching Myself – and Others - to Read and Write. Don writes that his students become writers when they first write what they do not expect to write.
My niece Abby and I often confer about writing. She writes. She loves school. She willing shares her writing with Aunt Debbie. I appreciate her willing spirit. I often ask her, “Who cares? Why did you write this?” I remember the first time I asked Abby, “Who cares?” She looked at me with a shocked look. I wanted to know why anyone would care about her topic of choice. She interpreted the question as if who would care about her personally. It is interesting looking at our words from the child’s perspective. Words matter.
Filed under: conference, confering, Donald Murray, expecting the unexpected, writing, Writing Conference, writing minilesson | Tagged: conference, conferring, Debra Renner Smith, expecting the unexpected, Who cares? Donald Murray, writing | Leave a Comment »
Posted on 01/20/2009 by debrennersmith
Donald Murray warns us not to do the student’s work. Many teachers become experts at grammar and punctuation rules. The longer we teach, the better we become at our craft. The problem is that the student’s are not internalizing what we know. When we are red penning the corrections and we are marking up the papers, the students are not learning how to correct their mistakes.
Murray wrote, “The better I did my job the less my students learned. (page 128).”
When we focus on how we feel about about the mistakes or the draft, it is the incorrect focus. The writing teacher has to teach the students to teach themselves about writing. Writing is about thinking, looking at a draft and figuring out what they might need to draft a better one. This doesn’t mean that the teacher is not teaching or not important. The teacher is not the lion tamer, instead the teacher is a coach, interacting during the writing conference. The teacher encourages the student writer to talk about the writing first. These questions are listed on page 130:
“What surprised you about this writing?”
“What did you do differently in this draft than you’ve done before?”
“What did you learn from writing this draft?”
“What would you do differently if you had another chance at it?”
“How was this written differently than if would have been at the beginning of the course?”
“What are you going to do next?”
“The goal of reading student’s work is to to encourage students to learn (page131).”
Murray realized that as students learned to reflect on their writing by writing a reflection, it lead to better writing students and better writing. The students know what they have done and why. Often students do not realize that they know they know. The reflections force writers to pause and think about what they know about themselves as writers (132). Writing teachers do know how to reflect on our students’ writing, Murray teaches us to teach our students to reflect also.
expecting the unexpected teaching myself – others – to read and write by Donald Murray, chapter 13
Filed under: conference, confering, Donald Murray, writing | Tagged: conferring, Donald Murray, expecting the unexpected, writing | Leave a Comment »
Posted on 11/25/2008 by debrennersmith
This is the description from Heinemann’s site:
Although conferences appear to be informal conversations, they are in fact highly principled teaching interactions designed to move writers along learning pathways. Used strategically, conferences can be powerful interventions that address individual writing needs. Carl Anderson’s Strategic Writing Conferences is a curriculum resource and diagnostic guide for writing teachers looking to use conferences to move young writers another step forward. These conferences will enhance your current writing curriculum and help you confer with greater purpose and effectiveness.
* The Teacher’s Guide outlines the principles that shape Carl’s approach to conferring and provides tools for diagnosing common writing problems.
* Three conference books present over one hundred conferences organized around three stages of writing—identifying topics, crafting drafts, and polishing finished projects. Each book opens with a diagnostic guide that helps you locate a conference that addresses a student’s particular area of need.
* Two Carl on Camera DVDs provide video-based professional development support.
1 On Introducing Strategic Writing Conferences Carl explains the elements of an effective conference, conferring concepts, and ways to assess young writers.
2 On Modeling Strategic Writing Conferences eleven full length conferences let you eaves drop on Carl as he confers with students at various stages of the writing process.
These books and 2 DVD’s are worth every penny of the $82.00 I spent plus postage!
Filed under: Carl Anderson, confering, writing | Tagged: Carl Anderson, conferences, Heinemann, Strategic Writing Conferences Carl on Camera. conferring | Leave a Comment »