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TEACHTOO's Message:

Does anyone know of any good writing workshops in New Jersey? I teach
fifth grade writers' workshop and could use some help with mini lessons. I have
lots of books but think I would do better if I could interact with other teachers
who also teach writing.

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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
TEACHTOO 05-29-2013 08:46 AM

Thank you for your many ideas. Will try them out:-)

mpinga 05-14-2013 07:39 AM

You can teach mini-lessons on so many topics. You always want to connect the mini-lessons to a topic that is meaningful for the students. We seem to think of content topics first. At the beginning of the year, I draw a blank web on the board.

I draw a circle in the center with spokes connected to other circles around this one circle. The students draw the same web in their writing notebooks. In the center circle I write Me (The students write their names on theirs.) In the outside circles I have categories, such as Family, Pets, Wild Animals, Friends Famous People, Sports, Favorite Places, My Things, etc. Students tell me what to write under these categories. (You could use a different set of categories for your class. You could make suggestions if they get stuck, but try to get them making the major contributions.) And, of course, they can branch out and add sub-topics. There's nothing sacred about these, except that they're personal and not assigned). I post our class web on the wall until they get the hang of using such a tool.

When you teach different modes of writing, such as opinions, descriptions. narratives, etc. they may choose the topic from their web or choose a new topic. For example, you might model writing a descriptive piece. Then have them choose something they'd like to describe for their topics.

To teach Revision, I use Six Trait Writing. Let's say I want to teach Words. I write a very simple piece with very common, overused words, e.g.. "said". "He said, she said." One simple lesson is to write "said" at the top of a piece of chart paper. I have the class generate as many words as they can to use in place of said. If they have difficulty, I might read a story (even a younger child's story) that has interesting words. Once they get the idea, you can hardly stop them. One 5th grade class produced 40 words for "said" in a short class period.

I have many other ideas for mini-lessons. I hope these initial suggestions help.

TEACHTOO 05-14-2013 05:08 AM

Does anyone know of any good writing workshops in New Jersey? I teach
fifth grade writers' workshop and could use some help with mini lessons. I have
lots of books but think I would do better if I could interact with other teachers
who also teach writing.




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