The school year has started for some and is soon to begin for others so, of course, my thoughts wander to writing. Teaching writing, to be more specific. This will be a big year for many teachers, with the implementation of Common Core as well Smarter Balanced assessment. Change is upon us, and lots of pressure too.
All that change and pressure makes this the perfect time to utilize what works. If you’ve been teaching a long time, you’ve read enough, seen enough, and done enough to know what makes for effective writing instruction. If you’re new to the profession, read, observe your colleagues, and try things.
During my twenty-five years as a classroom teacher, I found some strategies and activities that worked. Then, when I worked as a language arts staff development specialist, I found more evidence and research to support those practices. These are very important to have in the “data-driven” climate we currently have in education.
There are many important strategies and techniques to use during writing instruction. In my experience, the most effective is to write in front of your students. Let them observe you as a writer. Let them see you construct sentences and struggle with spelling. Allow them into your head you as you think aloud, transferring your thoughts into writing.
The power of modelling is amazing, and it doesn’t take any special materials or much planning either. Just get up there and do it!
I’ll share the rest of my list in the next post.