Step 1: Idea-Details
Idea: An idea that you have connection to, experience with or has meaning to you.
Details: Responding to questions that the reader will have about the Idea.
Step 2: Tell-Show
Tell: Take one Detail that grabs you and write it into a sentence.
Show: Describe the Tell using your senses as if the reader is there in your shoes.
I explain that I am taking an Idea of something recent from my experience that conjures up my senses, that I remember well and can provide detail.
I remind my class that power of Writer’s Workshop is to help each other become better writers. So when we are noting Details down during Pre-Writing we can skip to Sharing to get our future readers/audience to ask us questions so we can write “answers” which form our Details. I demonstrate this by writing responses in the Details column as students ask me questions about my Idea. I compliment them on their questions which really prompted me to think and explain how this helped me much more than if I was doing it myself.
I go on to model how to select one Detail to then write down as a Tell sentence. I stop to draw attention to how my Tell sentence “I cooked sweet and fragrant strawberry jam” is already better than my Idea sentence “I cooked jam” but promise that my Show will be even better. I must admit that at this point my fingers are crossed hoping that I deliver what I’m promising and quickly realize what it must feel like for my students to risk take every day with writing. You really have to believe and jump in the deep end trusting the processes and strategies will help support you to float your way through a piece.
I ask them to watch and provide me with silence while I think and write. I want them to understand the value of focus, as one student put it, “It’s like you’re going back in time, teleporting to the experience your writing about.”
I then compare my descriptive and long Show to my short Tell and my very short Idea sentence. I can tell immediately in their wide eyes looking back at me that they see the difference and how this two step strategy can help them write better.
As I type this blog I am grinning from ear to ear with delight as I listen to a boy in my class Share his writing about his soccer goal score yesterday at lunch. He has already improved his Word Choice and Sentence Fluency plus he has written as if I, the listener/reader, was there on the field experiencing it myself - his Voice has soared!
His Sharing partner just brought him over to tell me how he fared on the 6 Traits Feedback Assessment and gone into specific details of how and why.
This prompted me to ask the whole class “What have you learned?” as a graffiti poster on the IWB. I was so pleased to read their responses because my original objective of providing practical strategies and examples of how they could become better writers exceeded my expectations.
I had to drag them out to break because they didn't want to put down their pencils during Drafting!
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”.