Creating an Organized Writing Block


Writing is still the subject that can be tricky to manage. Before this year- I didn't like teaching writing.

Here is peek inside my head last year: Everyone in the classroom ends up at a different step because everyone is working at a different pace, and I should be conferencing with students, but I need to work with my small group.

Madness.

Writing doesn't have to be madness. I've learned that now. I pace each week in my classroom similarly. I introduce a step or task each day, and we work on a piece from start to finish throughout the week. I've figured out how to work with everyone's speed, and meet with students as needed.

Here is a week of writing in my classroom:

Monday- mentor text, model, brainstorm

Tuesday- turn the brainstorm into planning

Wednesday- continue planning if needed, start rough draft

Thursday- finish rough draft, start final draft

Friday- finish final copy, share

On Monday, everyone in my classroom gets an idea of what we are writing about for the week. Sometimes this includes a mentor text, other times it includes a question to get us thinking. We do lots of partner talk, and I model for the class before independent work.

When independent work starts, I pull a small group of writers, and other students work quietly at their seats.

Tuesday is where the fun begins. I model using my brainstorm to plan my writing and then students are expected to work on their planning page independently. Here's the tricky part- someone inevitability still needs to wrap up their brainstorm. This is where things get crazy.

I started displaying my students' names on the SmartBoard on Google Slides and having my students work through the writing process. Each day, we essentially cover a new step. I display the steps and as a student completes a step, they get to move their name to the next box. This has been a game changer. I keep the slide pulled up on a device at my small group table so I can always see it, and it holds my students accountable for completing their work. If I see a student is stuck on a step, I can easily call them back to my group. The slide also includes a "Miss Boehm" section for when students can't move on without me. As soon as I have a space at my table, I call back a student that has a question or needs support. This helps my students ask for help and be responsible for their learning.

When my small group gets working on a task, I leave the table and monitor the rest of the room. I can quickly conference as needed and check in with students who are working. At the beginning of the week, I may display a version of the digital writing process board with just a 2-3 sections and the "Miss Boehm" box. Later in the week, it will include all of the steps of the writing process. I love that it is flexible for where we are, and our needs for the week.

On Wednesday, I model again and we start writing our rough draft. Some students will begin revising on Wednesdays too.

Thursdays are the day when we move from rough draft into final drafts. We review the concept, and I usually review editing with my students. I display a sample piece that needs edited and we edit it together. It gets students in the right mindset to edit their work and put their very best on their final copy.

By Friday we are tying up loose ends and finishing up our writing pieces. Some weeks we share our writing in front of the whole class, other weeks we partner share. Partner sharing is so simple to implement because it can occur as students are gradually finishing their writing. Students can share with more than one partner. Students can also free write in their journal if there is extra time.

Partner sharing is another skill that I have modeled with my class. We talk about how we can be a great, respectful listener, and examples of feedback we can give after our partner shares. Sentence starters for feedback could be: "I like how you _____." or a follow up question.

Typically by the end of the week, each student has had time to work through each of the steps of the writing process and publish a piece of writing. Displaying the steps of the writing process has made the writing process more clear to my students, and it has held the entire class accountable for completing work in a timely fashion. I love helping my students become more independent, and creating an easier to manage time of day.

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#writing #writingprocess #digital #google #classroommanagement

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© 2020 by Casey Boehm. Organize and Educate. 

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