In the first post in this series, I was thinking about the feedback I give student writers. That leads me to another big observation: sometimes I mess up, perhaps even bad enough to set a kid back a little. Learn more about two conversations with students that I’d like to redo.
I was everything in those stories that I thought I couldn’t be in real life: a sassy smart aleck with an uncanny ability to insult and/or shame all those who wronged me in any way. I also wrote letters to my mom (my frequent antagonist) and then tore them into tiny undetectable pieces and threw them away. I suppose it was always about the process of writing for me, about how I felt after writing, not about publishing my end products.
I am honored to be a contributor to a blog that I love, Sharing Our Notebooks curated by children’s author and teacher Amy Ludwig VanDerwater. I have given writing teachers a quick peek inside my notebooks in the past, but with Amy’s blog as inspiration, this time I am baring entries that fed the works closest to my heart.
Here are five notebook strategies that can support your poetry unit. They also fit or could be adapted to other units of study. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to teach the same notebook strategy in multiple units—that demonstrates how valuable the strategy is across genres, subject matter, audiences, purposes, etc.
I recently helped judge a story writing contest, and one of the criteria on the assessment form I was provided was: Does the story have a beginning, middle and end? As I began reading the entries, I quickly discovered that this was not useful assessment criteria.
Read more here.
Written for the Indiana Partnership for Young Writers
The best touchstone texts are sophisticated enough to work across multiple grade and comprehension levels. One of the first—and still one of the most frequent—touchstone texts that I used was THE LEAVING MORNING by Angela Johnson. Here are just a few of the brilliant craft strategies my students and I have discovered in it:
Readers and writers have strong – and disparate – opinions about the “right” way to read a poem. Worse yet, there’s wide disagreement among accomplished and highly educated poets, too. There’s really only one point we all agree on—poems are meant to be read aloud. Beyond that, it gets dicey, but here are some things to consider.