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Writing presentation

  1. 1. Jennifer Orr Teacher Consultant NVWP @jenorr
  2. 2. Writing is hard! Letter formation/keyboarding Word choice
  3. 3. Composing
  4. 4. Pixie
  5. 5. VoiceThread
  6. 6. Making Movies
  7. 7. Comics
  8. 8. Revising and Editing From bgblogging’s flicr stream
  9. 9. Writing for an Audience From Brett Sayer’s flickr stream
  10. 10. “By the end of elementary school, students seldom write unless they have to and then only because it “counts.” p. 266 Graham, S., MacArthur, C. A., & Fitzgerald, J. (Eds.). (2007) Best Practices in Writing Instruction. New York: The Guilford Press.
  11. 11. From cogdogblog’s flickr strea

Editor's Notes

  • My husband swears the only reason he can do what he does and has the job he has is because of computers. Writing before computers was too painful and tedious a process for him. Once he could use a word processor that all changed.
  • When we’ve been writing for at least twenty years, it feels doable. We aren’t conscious of all the things we are doing as we write.
  • My first graders write every day. But I found myself frustrated because their writing was dull. It was the same thing every day. Upon analysis and reflection I realized how much they had to do as writers. And that they tend to focus on the physical forming of letters, getting their uppercase and lowercase right, spelling, and including punctuation. They focus on those things because we’ve trained them too. What a terrible way to start them off as writers.
  • Writing is about communication and thinking. We lose sight of that when we focus on the mechanics of it. Those matter, and we have to help kids with them, but not at the expense of the craft of writing. This is some writing my youngest did, last year when she was a kindergartner and had something important to say.
  • So I stepped back to focus on the thinking in their writing. Irealized that first graders tell great stories. (Not always, but…) I needed to find ways to help them focus on the ideas and thinking but not get hung up on the mechanics.
  • I started looking for ways to capture their great stories. To have them tell these stories and share them widely. Pixie offered some great ways to do that.
  • These pictures may not make a whole lot of sense to you and the story can be hard to understand, but I share this example because of what a change it was from what this child had been doing as a writer. This was a boy who had repeated kindergarten and had an IEP. His fine motor skills were not strong. As a result of all these things, this was a child who struggled with multiple aspects of the writing process.
  • VoiceThread is another way to capture ideas and stories without having to physically write them. VoiceThread also allows them to give each other feedback. They can compose writing, share it, and discuss it.
  • In this VoiceThread kids shared stories, any story they wanted. They were doing this in our classroom with a partner, but I didn’t get to hear most of those, in fact, only their partner did. Using VoiceThread meant I could hear their stories in order to identify strengths and areas for growth and they could listen to each others’ stories.
  • In this VoiceThread they read pieces of their own writing.
  • Movies are another form of storytelling. My students are, within the first month or two of school, quite familiar with using our classroom cameras. The pictures they take can be used to tell stories in a movie.
  • This is an example of a student creating a movie about a field trip we took to the Tidal Basin. He choose the pictures and recorded it.
  • Here’s another example from that field trip.
  • Some students are looking for other tools or genres for their stories. Graphic novels for older students are highly popular. First graders read a lot of books with characters speaking in speech bubbles. Both of those are great models for writing and various comic creating tools offer opportunities to do so.
  • I’ve lumped revising and editing together, not because they are the same thing, which they ARE NOT, but because I tend to use the same tools for both.
  • Microsoft Word is not a program I thought I’d use with first graders. (Google Docs could also be used but I haven’t introduced those at this age yet.) But when we talk about making changes to our writing this is a great tool. I dump pictures from our days into Word and the kids caption them. Then we conference to revise and/or edit. I only focus on one of those things at a time though!
  • I wasn’t smart enough to capture the various steps in these captions but you can see that as we works our captions became more detailed.
  • At this point there is quite a bit of detail and I can now focus on editing.
  • I firmly believe in the importance of offering students an audience beyond the teacher. Writing for the teacher is fine, but if it’s the only writing students do it is limiting. Writing for a wider audience raises the bar for kids. This is helpful for their craft, of course, but it also helps with the mechanical side.
  • This means we don’t dump the physical act of writing. For one thing it’s always available to us, technology isn’t and may not be. I don’t know for sure what the future will hold for these six year olds, but I want to know that they can navigate both pen and paper writing and digital writing. Here they’re writing about Chinese dragons they made in art.
  • We posted their dragons and their writing in the hallway outside of our classroom.
  • We place student created books in our classroom library. Sometimes we place them in our school library as well (we have a fabulous school librarian who has a special place in our library for books created by classes and students).
  • Placing books in our school library begins with writing we do together. These are actually big books that we wrote together as a class. That helps the kids see what is expected of books we will share with the whole school.
  • Then they have opportunities to do the same. Not everything they write will go to the classroom library or school library. They don’t want it to. Sometimes they write just to write and they don’t want to make it as close to perfect as possible. Other times they are ready to strive for that.
  • We also have a class blog (on our school newspaper). At the start of the year I write it but by about this time each year I begin to turn that responsibility over to the students. One or two students meets with me to choose pictures and to compose the text. I do the typing.
  • This is our school newspaper.