Kirsten Wilson.2014. Powered by Blogger.

How to Teach Writing Effectively!

Tuesday I had the opportunity to attend an AMAZING conference. The conference was called "VAESP Improving Teacher Effectiveness: Supporting Effective Writing Instruction for Administrators and Literacy Leadership Teams." When I saw the flyer and read the first sentence, "Supporting effective instruction that will inspire your students as writers" I thought, "I NEED TO ATTEND!" Writing is something I struggle with teaching. Let's see if you can relate...
  • There is never enough time to do writing
  • My students aren't very imaginative and often say, "I don't know what to write about..."
  • When we do writing, the class is always on a different part of the writing process 
  • I have students write for 10 minutes then say, "I'm done!" and students who barely write one complete sentence in that same time.  
  • We do the same thing week after week... ::boring::
    • (Day 1:Brainstorm - Day 2: Rough Draft - Day 3:Editing - Day 4: Final Draft - Day 5: Sharing)
The workshop used the Developmental Studies Center's program, "Being a Writer." Please check it out and watch every video and blog post you can find about it. Actually, just attend the conference because it will be the BEST use of your time, trust me! It was life-changing! 

Here are some of the things that stood out to me the most...
  • You don't need to have a perfect piece of writing every time. You're teaching writing. It needs to be broken into smaller pieces. 
  • When students feel that they need to produce that perfect piece writing, it take the fun out of writing. They're not looking to see if you like their creativity, they're hoping you don't go for that red pen to edit everything away. 
  • Work on one thing at a time. Maybe the class, or just one student, needs to work on punctuation. Work on that skill and forget about their misspelled words or incorrect grammar. Baby steps people, baby steps. 

Check out my conference workbook! Since I wrote all over the pages, I needed to add post-its to have more room to write down information and ideas. All throughout the conference my mind was flooding with ideas. I was INSPIRED! My colleague and I want to give each of our students a binder to use as their writing log. We want to put dividers in it so they can keep it all organized. It would have a conference log, for when we meet with students 1-on-1 to discuss their writing, a spot for typed notes that go along with our grammar lessons, a place to keep their writing....yes, I'm very excited about this! I promise to share it once it has been perfected. 

We start putting into practice what we have learned tomorrow! I'll keep you posted! If you're feeling generous, you can go here to help purchase the supplies for our writing logs :) 

Now you tell me, what does writing look like in your classroom?


Giveaway winner announced at the bottom of the post. 

I don't know what your school is like, but my school is very diverse. It's amazing how diverse the population is at my school. From the outside, you would never know that we are a high poverty school elementary school. We're located on a pretty street, surrounded by pretty houses. 

This weekend I saw this video and it was like a punch to the stomach. This is a reality for some students at my school. Get comfortable and a box of tissues, the video is about 13 minutes long. 

"This my past, my history, my story is not my fault. It's not because of me... and doesn't have to be what defines my future. I am lovable. I am worthy of care... and that glimmer of light makes all the difference. The glimmers of light give me hope that someday my summer will come."

Giveaway: The Lock Smock

Enter below for your chance to win a Lock Smock for your classroom!

Like most schools, my district recently added a new policy requiring classroom doors to remain locked at all times. I think it's a good policy, but an extremely annoying one at the same time. What's worse than the sound of nails on a chalkboard? The sound of my door being knocked on 24/7 while my kiddies dash in and out to use the bathroom, go to the nurse, get water, go to the office... you get the picture. I recently found something that works with the policy AND keeps my sanity. Talk about a win-win. I recently purchased something AMAZING for my classroom. It's one of those things that's too good NOT to share! 

Allow me to introduce you to...

The lock smock easily goes over the handles of the door with the elastic bands. One side is sewn in, and the other side has a clip. The lock smock is customized for door handles and knobs. 

The door completely shuts! I love that!  

If for any reason we need to lock our door all I need to do is unclip the strap and shut my ((already)) locked door. 

It's absolutely perfect! It honestly is one of the BEST things I have bought for my classroom! Go check out Brianna's store on Etsy here. You won't regret it! Seriously, this girl needs to go on Shark Tank!

Brianna has kindly donated one of her NEW Heavy Duty Lock Smocks! She will customize it for your door so if you have door knobs or handles it will fit perfectly! 

My Teacher GO Bag

To say that this was a crazy week would be an understatement. This past week my school had it's first ever bomb threat. What was scarier was that it was not only our school, but 10 other schools in our district. When the principal came on the loudspeaker telling us to leave the building and go to that spot my stomach dropped. We only go there when it's an emergency.

The entire staff was amazing. It was as if we had practiced for this a million times. Everyone was calm, everyone got out quickly and waited for instructions.

After searching our school, and all the others in the city, nothing was found. They caught the man a few days later and charged him with over 20 felonies.

After this happened I put together my own "GO Bag." It sits within an arms length of my desk ready for me to grab should we ever need to GO out of the building right away.

I keep the following things in it:

  • an extra copy of each students emergency medical form
  • my schools crisis manual
  • activities for my students to do
  • pencils
  • paper

I hope I never need it, but if I do I think I have everything I would need. 

What do you guys think? Good idea? Or am I just being paranoid?