My students have great Ideas (see 6+1 Writing Traits) for writing and are creating captivating beginnings to their pieces (stories, recounts etc) however they often fall straight back to “telling” for the remainder of their piece. I’m am pleased to see that my students are becoming aware and noticing the problem but are now frustrated because they don’t have a strategy in place to help them improve.
Once again, Steve Peha to the rescue! He provides practical ways to help students overcome the challenges of writing. He suggests two simple strategies Idea-Details and Tell-Show in his The Writing Teacher’s Strategy Guide.
Please download and read Steve Peha's Tips and Example pages in this document which help guide teachers with how to approach these strategies and the subtle but important difference between the two.
Today instead of using his Draw-Label-Caption during Pre-Writing, I modeled using these two simple graphic organizers as a two step strategy.
One all time favorite is the Haiku Poem. Another we have recently introduced is the Verb Poem. Rewriting lyrics to a song is also very popular and effective. These text types provide structure to scaffold student’s expression. In other words student’s don’t have to think about the format. They are free to only think about what they need to express.
Yesterday, via Twitter, I found another great idea for Poetry, Book Spine Poetry, by Travis Jonker (twitter @100scopenotes and website: http://100scopenotes.com).
This morning I decided to try it out myself so I made a rare visit to my school Library (Leigh Ann would be so proud) and began playing with book spines. Also, I find it challenging to help students understand and support synthesis but today I think I discovered synthesis thinking in action. I was literally taking title ideas and creating my own poem; a new idea!
ProDivas is a simple sharing approach, teacher to teacher, for our professional development. We collect and share bite-sized practical ideas. Once you take a bite, you may be self-motivated to eat the whole meal! We aim to find ideas supported by research to then apply for “best practice” but some ideas are too good to miss and are just simple “teacher tips”.