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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Blog Swap and Hop

I have a guest blogger today for the blog swap and hop.  Welcome Jennifer from Best Practices 4 Teaching.  I hope you all enjoy her post about writing.  I did! :)


I recently spent a few days in a writing workshop hosted in my district that featured both poetry and non-fiction writing.  In the workshop we discussed the merits of different writing programs such as 6 Traits and ideas taken from Lucy Calkins, but spent a lot of time on developing mini lessons and how to make the most of writing conferences.  Amid the discussions that we had in how we presented topics and edited with students, we never talked about the writing process as a whole.  We discussed the different steps of the writing process, but as we talked in groups or in pairs, I noticed something that was universal among us.  We all added 'extra' steps into the writing process.  Even more interesting to me was that these 'extra' steps were added at the same exact place by each teacher.  We may not have referred to them with the same vocabulary, but they were 
there, just the same.  I identified 12 steps needed to help students improve their writing.

Step 1:  Brainstorm with a graphic organizer.

Step 2:  Begin illustrating and label  the ‘nouns’

Step 3:  Begin writing a beginning, middle, and end.  

Step 4:  Conference with student.

Step 5:  Student edits.

Step 6:  Student rereads and edits again if necessary.    

    This can be done with a partner.

Step 7:  Conference with student to revise the story.

Step 8:  The student rereads to make further changes

    and checks for clarity of the story.

Step 9:  The student begins to rewrite the story to work

    towards a final draft.

Step 10:  The student rereads for clarity again.

Step 11:  Add details to the illustration to help tell the story.

Step 12:  Publishing

Here are those same 12 steps in a poster for you!

I know that realizing this validated not only me as a teacher, but also me as a writer.  I had never thought to break down and analyze the way I taught the 
writing process.  I hope that this helps you strengthen your writer's workshop 
like it has me.  It is incredible when something that you have thought about makes a connection with such strength that it changes the teacher's heart inside you.  Here it is, the middle of summer, but thinking through this process was so profound that I know it has already changed the way I will look at my writer's workshop when this next year begins.Here are 3 other things to remember....Maybe these can be the beginning of a few anchor charts for you.

Jennifer Ayers is an 18 year veteran teacher and has experience teaching in both suburban and inner-city schools.  Out of 18 years, she has been a lead teacher in some capacity for 15 of those 18 years.  She has taught in a multi-age Montessori classroom, has taught 1st, 2nd, and 4th grades, and has also been a full-time reading interventionist/Title 1 teacher.  Jennifer earned her master's degree in K-12 Education at Tusculum College in Greeneville, Tennessee in 2000 and also graduated in 2008 with her Education Specialists Degree in Supervision and Administration from Tennessee Technological University.  You may recognize Jennifer from Really Good Stuff's annual blog contest as she was selected to judge the competition.  You can find Jennifer at her website, Best Practices 4 Teaching or at her freebie website Best Practices 4 Teaching Freebie Pages.


  1. I am a TN gal too! I agree with your about breaking it down! Mine are on all different stages of the writing process and so these posters would serve as good reminders about what to do next! Thank you!

  2. The posters are cute! I will also be checking out your blog!

    Swimming Into Learning

  3. I like the way she broke it down into small steps that make sense. I also really like the posters on editing and revising, some kids might think they are the same thing.

    My maiden name was Ayers, I'm from Oklahoma, I wonder if there is a connection somewhere in the past.


    Kelly @ I'm Not Your Grandpa, I'm Your Teacher

  4. Kelly,

    My husbands family came from ENG to VA to NC to GA and AL. In GA and AL there was a mixture with the Cherokee...not sure if that is how you got to Oklahoma or not though! Thanks for asking! Genealogy is another one of my loves!

  5. Thanks to all of you that commented!! I need to go....the cupcakes at the top are making me hungry! Take care all!!


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