Sunday, 24 February 2013

Upcoming Residency with Regie Routman

I can’t believe it! In two days, Regie Routman will be in my classroom for a weeklong residency at Strathmillan School! I am so very excited to be learning with her. Talk about meaningful professional development! I have all of her books and I am so fortunate to have her in my room to push my thinking and move me forward.

In her book, Writing Essentials, Regie discusses twelve concepts necessary for a writer’s skill set:
·      Write for a specific reader and a meaningful purpose.
·      Determine an appropriate topic.
·      Present ideas clearly with logical, well-organized flow.
·      Elaborate on ideas.
·      Embrace language.
·      Create engaging leads.
·      Compose satisfying endings.
·      Craft authentic voice.
·      Reread, rethink, and revise while composing.
·      Apply correct conventions and form.
·      Read widely and deeply – and with a writer’s perspective.
·      Take responsibility for producing effective writing.

From day one, we have been focusing on the question – “What do good writers do?” We’ve been reading quality literature and discussing how authors use certain techniques to make their writing appealing to readers. We’ve charted this information, as anchor charts for the classroom, but I also like students to keep track of ideas in their writers’ notebooks.

One of our school goals focuses on revision and editing. We’ve decided as a class that revision is making your story more appealing for a reader. This is a task that is time consuming and requires a great deal of thinking. You can move ideas around, substitute words, add new thoughts, etc. Editing is about using correct punctuation, grammar and spelling. Students posted their initial thoughts using Padlet earlier on this school year.

In Regie’s most recent book, Literacy and Learning Lessons from a Longtime Teacher, she states that students need to:

“Reread and notice what authors do, including student authors. Notice leads, description, structure, organization, character development, clarity of information, transitions, and much more. Encourage students to apply what authors do as they write.” (p. 27)

I also want my students to take responsibility for their revisions. In the past I have used checklists, but it’s far too easy for a student to simply check off a box and say they did it – without taking the necessary time to ensure something is done well. I wanted students to be able to prove it. I decided to give students a checklist featuring five major areas that have been our focus. They had to prove they had revised their work by stating specific examples from their writing. Next, they had a peer review their revisions. This is also an excellent assessment (see below).

I plan to post my learning experience with Regie Routman. Stay tuned and wish me luck!


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