My school has adopted the Reading & Writing Workshop program (by Lucy Calkins) this year. Specifically, we are using the writing program. (Our small group reading program is the Jan Richardson model)
In an effort to share our professionally developed minds with our parents and students, here are some tips that we teachers came away with after our hour-long professional development today.
What Good Writing Teachers DO:
1. Provide explicit instruction and plenty of opportunity for practice
2. Provide opportunities for students to write for REAL audiences and readers
3. Allow for choice- let students write about what matters to them
4. Instruct in spelling, grammar, qualities, and strategies (this will be done during mini-lessons before writing time. Calkins' model doesn't really provide this)
5. Teach the writing process: rehearsing (I called it 'brainstorming' when I was a kid), drafting, revising, editing, and publishing
6. Study author's writing with students- I plan on using exemplar texts (really good books) as part of my mini lessons so students can hear the flow of good writing.
7. Establish clear goals
8. Provide frequent and useful feedback- I will make it a point to conference with students 1-2 times a week, depending on what time allows.
9. Remember who they're teaching. (referring to teachers) We are teaching kids, not prize-winning authors. There will be mistakes, but that's part of learning!
Before long, we will have some Master Writers!