“What I’ve Learned from Teachers of Writing” by
teaching writing in a workshop: students choose their own topics, writers receive regular responses from an
audience, i.e. teachers and fellow students, students write a minimum of three days a week, students
attempt to publish their work in some manner, teachers share expertise through modeling and think-aloud,
and students create a collection of their work (p. 91).
The article outlines people who impacted this thinking.
Calkins: He explains some important history. He thanks Lucy Calkins for “developing the concept of mini-lessons” (89). Mini-lessons took the strain off teachers who only talked about writing with one to one conferences.
Atwell: “raised our expectations of what middle school students can do”—he also said that Calkins and Atwell shared their own literacy, and that’s something I wrote about when I thought of Atwell. She really does spend a lot of valuable time in her book describing her own literacy and sharing that with students, and I think that’s what made her book different.
Frank Smith: “every act of writing is a convention”—from
As he talks about these other writers, he also looks back on his own research and thinking processes.
Tom Romano and Camille Allen: books on multigenre
Linda Rief: study in the 80s with her class, where she had them evaluate their own work and the work of others. With practice, students did better with evaluating work, and their evaluations matched closely how teachers evaluated the same work.
These sentences did help to focus writing conferences when I have little time.
- highly literate
- intensely interested in students
- students have a primary place in the classroom
- they instill a sense of responsibility
- they have high expectations
- they teach by showing