As the year comes to a close, it is time to evaluate how we did, our methods, our successes, and our failures. Was I thorough enough when I taught writing to my students? Were the genres clear, concise, and solid? Do my students know the difference between an essay, a story, and analyzing literature? If the answer to any of these is no, it is time to reevaluate and revamp.
In doing so, it is important to seek out my successes first. In my own personal classroom, I experimented a bit more than usual with writing this year. Instead of teaching separate classes (reading, writing, etc), I integrated them all into one large lump. We crossed science (plants and animals) with essay writing. We integrated Social Studies (communities) with essay writing as well- creating complete autobiographies and writing about our dreams for the future. RTL (analyzing literature) was tied into our after lunch story time. We discussed authors’ purposes for literature orally each day. As the year progressed, we began to think, rehash stories, and analyze “RTL” all day- not just at after lunch story time.
In retrospect, Story writing (narrative) was my weakest genre this year. In fact, you might say I put it on the back burner and let it simmer. I did teach it, but I did not revisit it as often as the other two genres throughout the year. After years of teaching, it seems to me that it is not as essential as the other genres.
Finally, in examining my strengths and weaknesses, I am looking forward to next fall. Writing factual essays will be in the forefront, followed by continuing to evaluate authors’ messages to us. I can expand our writing to include even more areas of interest. Because of the diversity of our world, evaluating the messages of authors is essential to making informed, clear life choices. I MUST teach the process of analyzation without putting thoughts in their minds. They must choose their voice and support it with facts-not sound bites. Writing stories can be tied in to the year, but it will remain secondary to the other genres.
Writing is a process. I empower my students as I teach the steps, the genres, and differences between each type. If I do not teach it, how will my writers clearly communicate their voices to the world? It is my responsibility to: Engage! Empower! Equip! The Mantle Falls on MY Shoulders!
Strategies for Writing will help you to fan the flame!
Seasonal Expository templates for all grades will be out in July.
photo by Lanc Grandahl
The countdown has begun. The race to the finish is upon us: yearbooks, deadlines, shows, portfolios, report cards, field trips, and field days.
For our classroom, we’ve decided that the more normal and consistent we keep our classroom, the more sanity we will retain. The kids will be more secure and learning will continue to happen-even until the end.
As for writing -because our schedule is choppy and irregular- I pull out the templates and we write….a bit slower than usual…but we write. We share, revisit how to write each genre, and go over the chants. We spend more time critiquing each others’ work and give as many awards as I can for stellar essays, stories, or analyzing of the authors’ messages. If time is short, I read a book, and use it to “orally” go over response to lit.
The finish line is in sight. I pull out writing from the beginning of the year and see how far they have come. I remind myself it has all been worth it; even the small steps. In my mind, I categorize what worked well and things to revise. I smile as I see them mature into little writers and those who share their voice with the world. As I look forward to closing it out, the pieces that stick with me are: consistency, sharing, engaging, editing (no marks just circles), and empowering students as writers and editors, creating students who can’t live without learning new things!