Lack of Time to Teach Writing-How Joanna Van Raden 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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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. 

Continue reading “Blend The Writer’s Workshop-change The Delivery Model”

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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Promise and Paradox: Writing in America’s Schools

Image of student-author by WriteSteps. The Common Core writing standards demand something new to overcome decades of flat test scores despite promising advances in pedagogy. Promising advances such as writer’s workshop have changed the face of writing instruction, but national measures still tell us that two-thirds of our graduates can’t write. How do we solve that paradox?

Why do America’s children write so poorly? Writing instruction has seen a lot of innovation since I was a kid. Like many of my peers, I struggled with writing under the old system of the 3 A’s – assign, assume, and assess. My teachers assigned a topic, assumed we could write about it, and assessed our finished pieces.

Today’s kids have it better. Yet there’s still a disconnect. Despite the advances in instruction since I was a child, most teachers still don’t teach writing well. On the last national writing assessment (the NAEP), less than a third of 12th graders, and less than a quarter of elementary students, could write proficiently.

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