Blend The Writer’s Workshop-change The Delivery Model

Lack of Time to Teach Writing-How I Solved the Dilemma

Over the years I encountered several dilemmas when teaching young students to write. First, there was the issue of time.  There was never enough time:

  • to gather all of the materials I needed

  • to teach a complete lesson
  • for students to practice writing

Second, there was the issue of motivating all of my students. Some students were difficult to motivate, especially for writing.  I fought the battle for years.  I’d run through hoops to create some kind of excitement when it came to teaching writing skills. I tried mentor texts, dressing up in costumes, and more. They worked, but wow, they took up a lot of time. I’d give the lesson and find that there was very little time left for actual writing practice. As the years went by, I tried new teaching strategies to build successful writers. 

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Let’s Get Something Straight! Not STR8!

I’ve noticed an increase in “texting” type lingo in student writing. I’m not talking about when students text each other in on the go instant messages, or write short Tweets that are limited in the number of characters that can be used. No, I’m talking about when students write and are publishing their work to a broader audience.  Formal writing deserves more than text type language.

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Back to School! Set the Tone…

Back to School

In August, I traveled across the country to Eugene, Oregon.  I had the opportunity to visit McCornack Elementary School, just one of several schools in the 4J District.  I was immediately welcomed by smiling faces, even though the school year had not started.  I noticed the dignity wall, where students agree to treat others with respect and the Principal’s Wall of Pride.  The signs of a caring school community made me feel at ease, even in a school far away from home.  Many teachers, as they do in all schools, were busy setting up classrooms well before the first day of school. This is just one of the many signs of dedicated hard working teachers I see when I visit classrooms all over the country. 

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Follow the Yellow Brick Road

As a veteran teacher with a background in special, general, and technology education, I knew the importance of a strong face-to-face presence in the education setting. I also realized that the world of teaching as I knew it, was changing quickly. Our district received iPads for all students and teachers. We went from one or two computers in a classroom to 1:1 iPads. I felt like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, waking up after the storm. I was suddenly in a new place. Always the educational adventurer, I knew there had to be a way to use this new technology to optimize my limited time in the classroom. I had the tools, now I had to figure out what to do with them. I surrounded myself with Professional Development, attended conferences, and used Social Media to learn more. Blended and Flipped Learning just coming to the forefront. I recognized that an online presence could benefit my students. Students could reference my teaching 24/7 and they could move at their own pace.  I searched for a way to provide myself, the face-to-face component, with more time to work 1:1 or in small groups with my students, rather than lecturing from the front of the room.  I said to myself, “Dorothy, we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

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