Thursday, August 16, 2012

Launching Writers’ Workshop with Growing Second Grade Writers


The secret to being a writer is that you have to write. It's not enough to think about writing or to study literature or plan a future life as an author. You really have to lock yourself away, alone, and get to work.
Augusten Burroughs

Launching Writers’ Workshop with second grade writers is an exciting time.  Many children will have at least some, if not a great deal, of experience in learning and writing in Writers’ Workshop communities.  They increasing see that, from their experiences, questions, and learning, they have an infinite number of topics to fuel their writing.  Second grader writers are earnest in working hard and taking on new challenges.
Still, in the beginning days or week of second grade, a good portion of our collective energy will focus on creating Writers’ Workshop with one another.  From establishing routines and rituals for bringing everyone together and conferring to figuring out the logistics of folders and getting more paper, it is critical to take time to help everyone “get back in the groove” of being an independent writer, interdependent learner, and collaborative fellow teacher.  The strength and efficiency of our Writers’ Workshop communities stands on the shoulders of these opening efforts.

At the heart of our second grade launching studies is immersing and marinating students in small moment writing.  Taking a memory and working to “really see it in your mind” and “share it with your readers by recording it on paper” are two chief messages as we model, practice, and nudge students to write their own small moment pieces.  By sharing small moments, students and teachers come to know and connect with one another more.  Thus, this genre study helps to build the essential mortar of Writers’ Workshops – relationships.

What a child can do in cooperation today, he can do alone tomorrow.                                                                                     Lev Vygotsky

Launching Writers’ Workshop Studies

Build a mentor text collection with your students.  After sharing even just a few of the following mentor texts, invite/recruit students to find mentor texts which echo the message of your launching studies (what writers do, small moment stories, living a writerly life, etc.). 
Mentor texts to support students’ learning about living a writerly life/what writers do:

·        Author: A True Story by Helen Lester  (autobiographical picture book)

·        Arthur Writes a Story by Marc Brown  (picture book)

·        Begin at the Beginning: A Little Artist Learns About Life by Amy Schwartz [beginning any artistic venture with what you know best; procrastination in the face of challenging work] (picture book)

·        The Best Story by Eileen Spinelli [authentic fictional window into the life of a writer] (picture book)

·        The Boy on Fairfield Street: How Ted Geisel Grew Up to Be Dr. Seuss by Kathlelen Krull [biographical]

·        The Character In The Book by Kaethe Zemach (picture book)

·        Click Clack Moo:  Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin   (picture book)

·        Diary of a Spider by Doreen Cronin  (picture book)

·        Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin  (picture book)

·        From Pictures to Words:  A Book About Making A Book by Janet Stevens  (picture book)

·        If You Want to Write by Janet Wong  (picture book)

·        If You Were a Writer by Joan Lowery Nixon [authentic fictional window into the life of a writer]  (picture book)

·       In Your Own Words:  A Beginner’s Guide to Writing by Sylvia Cassey

·        Insects Are My Life by Megan McDonald [Finding your passion]

·        The Plot Chickens by Mary Jane Auch

·        What Do Authors Do? by Eileen Christelow  (picture book)

·        Where Do You Get Ideas?  by Sandy Asher

·        You Have To Write by Janet Wong  (picture book)

·        From the “Meet the Author” series which offer inviting and enlightening autobiographical pieces (all picture books)

o   Best Wishes by Cynthia Rylant

o   Playing with Words by James Howe

o   On Phoenix Farm by Jane Yolen

o   Once Upon a Time by Eve Bunting

o   Tell Me a Story by Jonathan London

Mentor texts to support students’ understanding about what writers make (sorted by authors; all picture books):
Aliki.  How a Book is Made.

---        Painted Words, Spoken Words:  Marianthe’s Story.

Althea.  Making a Book.

Cole, J. & Saul.  On the Bus with Joanna Cole:  A Creative Autobiography.

Garland, Sherry.  Letters from the Mountains

Kehoe, Michael.  A Book Takes Root:  The Making of a Picture Book.

Knowlton, Jack.  Books and Libraries.

Martin, Bill.  Books Are By People. 

Stevens, Janet.  From Pictures to Words:  A Book About Making A Book.
Mentor texts to support students’ learning and practice of memory writing (school memory writing, especially)/Writers write about what they know about (all picture books):
      ·       All the Places to Love by Patricia MacLauchlan

·       Arthur Prize Reader by Lillian Hoban

·       The Day Eddie Met the Author by Louise Borden

·       The Day of Ahmed’s Secret by Florence Parry Heide

·       Dear Whiskers by Ann Whitehead Nagda

·       I Was A Second Grade Werewolf by Daniel Pinkwater

·       Jeremiah Learns to Read by Jo Ellen Bogart

·       More Than Anything Else by Marie Bradby

·       My Name is Maria Isabel by Alma Flor Ada

·       My School by Catherine Peters

·       Nobody’s Mother is in Second Grade by Robin Pulver

·       Painted Words – Spoken Words:  Marianthe’s Story by Aliki

·       Score One for the Sloths by Helen Lester

·       See You in Second Grade! by Miriam Cohen

Mentor texts to deepen students’ understanding about “Everyone Has Stories to Tell!” (all picture books or early chapter books/easy novels):
Aunt Isabelle Tells a Good One by K. Duke

Simon Finds a Treasure by G. Tipp

Small Treasures by A. Gibson

The Stories Julian Tells (series) by A. Cameron

Tell Me A Story Mamma by A. Johnson

The Treasure by U. Shulevitz

Treasures of the Heart by A. Miller

What a Treasure by J. Hillenbrand

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears by V. Aardema (cassette/CD; audio

Mentor texts to support students learning about telling stories through pictures

Carl the Dog (series) by Alexandra Day

The Knight and the Dragon by Tomie dePaola

Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie dePaola

Mercer Mayer Wordless Picture Books (such as A Boy, A Dog, and A Frog)

Norman Rockwell: Storyteller with a Brush by B. Gehrman

Potential Author Studies:
Tomie dePaola        Angela Johnson        Ezra Jack Keats         Mo Williems

Supportive Internet Resources:
Barry Lane

Carol Wilcox (A remarkable writer and passionate reader, Carol shares her recent “best reads” in this delightful blog.  Wonderful source for mentor text ideas.)

Choice Literacy

Columbia University Teachers College 

Debra Fraiser (editing focus)

Guys Read

Father Goose (source for delightful read alouds)

International Reading Association

Journey North (writing strategies)

               Nonfiction/Factual writing focus:

Kids Read

Learning Pad:  Lesson Plans

Building a Writing Community

Building Writing Habits

Narrative/Small Moment Writing

Mark Overmeyer

Mary Ehrenworth,  Teachers College (especially helpful for parent education)

National Council of Teachers of English/NCTE

National Writing Project

Planet Esme

(mentor text podcast)

Read Write Think    

Reading Rockets

Ruth Ayers

Six Traits                

Six Traits and standards connections as well as anchor paper links and rubric banks:  [The referenced standards are the U.S. Common Core State Standards/CCSS but the parallels could be helpful in making connections to the Ontario ELA Standards.]

Stanford University – Expository Writing

Two Writing Teachers

Write Brained Teacher

Writing Fix 

 Professional Resources: 
     ·        Anderson, Carl.  (2005). Assessing Writers.  Heinemann.

o   Chapter Two – Getting Started:  Developing an assessment lens; Chapter Three – Assessing Students as Initiators of Writing; Appendix 1; Appendix 4.

·        Anderson, Carl.  (2000). How’s It Going? A Practical Guide to Conferring with Student Writers.  Heinemann.

o   If you are new to conferring, this will be an invaluable book to read and study over the summer.  Reading this book with Carl’s DVD collection in Strategic Writing Conferences offers you excellent modeling of edifying conferences.

o   If you have studied with Carl/feel confident about your conferring rituals, make sure to revisit Chapters One – Conferences are Conversations, Two – The Teacher’s Role in the Conference, and Five – Laying the Groundwork for Conferences.

o   If you have concerns or questions about classroom management, study Chapter 7 – What Are All the Other Students Doing?

·        Anderson, Carl.  (2009). Strategic Writing Conferences: Smart Conversations That Move Young Writers Forward (text and DVD’s). Heinemann. 

·        Angelillo, Janet.  (2008). Whole-Class Teaching:  Minilessons and More.  Heinemann.

·        Atwell, Nancie. (2007).  Lessons That Change Writers (Text and DVD’s). Heinemann.

·        Ayers, Ruth and Schbitz, Stacey. (2010).  Day by Day: Refining Writing Workshop Through 180 Days of Reflective Practice.  Stenhouse.

·        Bennett-Armistead, Susan, Duke, Nell, and Moses, Annie.  (2005).  Literacy and the Youngest Learner. 

o   Chapters 8 and 11.

·        Buckner, Aimee. (2005). Notebook Know How.  Stenhouse.

·        Calkins, Lucy.  (1994).  The Art of Teaching Writing.

o   Chapters 6 and 7.

·        Calkins, Lucy.  (2005).  Big Lessons for Small Writers, Grades K – 2 (DVD).  Heinemann.

·        Calkins, Lucy.  (2003).  The Nuts and Bolts of Teaching Writing.

·        Calkins, Lucy and Mermelstein, Leah.  (2003).  Launching the Writing Workshop (from Units of Study for Primary Writing: Grades K-2). Heinemann.

·        Calkins, Lucy and Oxenhorn, Abby.  (2005).  Small Moments:  Personal Narrative Writing.  Heinemann.

·        Corgill, Ann Marie.  (2008). Of Primary Importance:  What’s Essential in Teaching Young Writers.

o   Chapters 2 and 5 (The entire book would be an excellent book to read over the summer and/or for a professional book study.).

·        Cruz, Colleen M.  (2004).  Independent Writing:  One Teacher – Thirty-Two Needs, Topics and Plans. Heinemann.

·        Cruz, Colleen M. (2008).  A Quick Guide to Reaching Struggling Writers.  Heinemann.

·        Culham, Ruth.  [multiple Six Traits of Writing titles]

·        Dorfman, Lynne. (2006).   Mentor Texts: Teaching Writing Through Children's Literature, K-6.  Stenhouse.

·        Fisher, Douglas and Frey, Nancy.  (2007).  Scaffolded Writing Instruction: Teaching With a Gradual-Release Framework.  Scholastic. 

·        Fletcher, Ralph.  (2006).  Boy Writers:  Reclaiming Their Voices.  Stenhouse.

·        Fletcher, Ralph.  (1996).  Breathing In, Breathing Out:  Keeping a Writer’s Notebook.  Heinemann.

·        Fletcher, Ralph.  (2011). Mentor Author, Mentor Texts: Short Texts, Craft Notes, and Practical Classroom Uses.

·        Fletcher, Ralph.  (2010). Pyrotechnics on the Page: Playful Craft That Sparks Writing.  Stenhouse. 

·        Fletcher, Ralph.  (1992).  What a Writer Needs.  Heinemann.

·        Fletcher, Ralph. (1996). The Writer’s Notebook:  Unlocking the Writer Within You. Harper Collins.

·        Fletcher, Ralph and Portalupi, JoAnn.  (2007).  Craft Lessons.  Teaching Writing K – 8.  Stenhouse.

·        Fletcher, Ralph and Portalupi, JoAnn.  (2001).  Writing Workshop:  The Essential Guide.  Stenhouse.

·        Freeman, Marcia.  (2003).  Teaching the Youngest Writers. 

o   Chapter 2 and 3.

·        Fountas, Irene and Pinnell, Gay Su.  (2001).  Guiding Readers and Writers (Grades 3-6): Teaching, Comprehension, Genre, and Content Literacy.  Heinemann.

·        Glover, Matt.  (2009).  Engaging Young Writers: Preschool-Grade One.  Heinemann.

·        Graves, Donald.  *All Don’s titles such as Investigate with Nonfiction, A Fresh Look at Writing, and Quick Writes offer infinite learning-teaching possibilities and they are all deeply good for the soul.

·        Harwayne, Shelley. (2000).  Lifetime Guarantees:  Toward Ambitious Literacy Teaching.  Heinemann.

o   Chapter One - Designing the Literacy Landscape; Chapter Two – Reflecting on the Teaching of Writing; Page 61/60-67 (daily schedule and supportive schoolwide structures); A-6 (author studies).

·        Harwayne, Shelley.  (2001).  Writing through Childhood.  Heinemann. 

o   Chapter Two – Designing Writing Workshops with Children in Mind; Chapter Six - Working with Our Youngest Writers.

·        Heard, Georgia and McDonough, Jen.  A Place for Wonder:  Reading and Writing Nonfiction in the Primary Grades.  Heinemann.

·        Hill, Bonnie Campbell and Ekey, Carrie. (2010). The Next Step Guide To Enhancing Writing Instruction:  Rubrics and Resources for Self-Evaluation and Goal Setting.  Heinemann.

o   Chapters 1 and 5 and Appendix A, B, C, D, and E. 

·        Hill, Bonnie Campbell and Ekey, Carrie.  (2010).  The Next Step Guide to Enriching Classroom Environments.  Heinemann.

o   Superb, practical resource as you develop your setting for literacy learning including edifying self-evaluation tools.

·        Hill, Bonnie Campbell.  Supporting Your Child’s Literacy Learning:  A Guide for Parents.  Heinemann.

o   Excellent text to share with parents. 

·        Laminack, Lester and Wadsworth, Reba.  (2006). Learning Under the Influence of Language and Literature. Heinemann.

·        Lane, Barry.  (2008).  But How Do You Teach Writing? A Simple Guide for All Teachers. Scholastic. 

·        Overmeyer, Mark.  (2005). When Writing Workshop Isn't Working: Answers to Ten Tough Questions, Grades 2-5.  Stenhouse.

·        Overmeyer, Mark. (2009). What Student Writing Teaches Us: Formative Assessment in the Writing Workshop.  Stenhouse.

·        Ray, Katie Wood.  (2006). Study Driven A Framework of Planning Units of Study in the Writing Workshop. Heinemann, 2006.

o   Pages 38-46 (vision for writing, counting books, travel guide writing), 90 (the role of approximation), and 151 (important considerations for kindergarten teachers and writers).

·        Ray, Katie Wood.  (1999). Wondrous Words. National Council of Teachers of English.

·        Ray, Katie Wood with Laminack, Lester.  (2001). The Writing Workshop:  Working through the Hard Parts (and They’re All Hard Parts).  National Council of Teachers of English.

·        Routman, Regie.  (2000).  Conversations.

o   Chapters 6, 7, 8, and 9. 

·        Routman, Regie (2004). Writing Essentials. Heinemann.

·        Spandel, Vicki.  (2003).  Creating Young Writers: Using the Six Traits to Enrich Writing Process in Primary Classrooms.  Pearson/Allyn and Bacon.

Autobiographical and Literary Texts to Inspire Us as Writing Teachers – and as Writers Ourselves!
      ·        Allende, Isabelle.  Inventing the Truth.

·        Browder, Walter.  Happily Ever After:  A Book Lover’s Treasury of Happy Endings.

·        Cameron, Julia.  The Artist’s Way.

·        Cameron, Julia.  The Right to Write.

·        Elbow, Peter.  Writing with Power.

·        Freed, Lynn.  Reading, Writing, and Leaving Home:  Life on the Page. 

·        Goldberg, Natalie.  Writing Down the Bones.

·        Goldberg, Natalie.  The Writing Life.

·        Gordimer, Nadine.  Writing and Being.

·        King, Stephen.  On Writing.

·        Lamott, Anne.  Bird by Bird.

·        Quindlen, Anna.  Being Perfect. 

·        Stegner, Wallace.  On the Teaching of Creative Writing. 

·        Strunk, W. & White, E.B.  Elements of Style.

·        Ueland, Brenda.  If You Want to Write.

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