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fitb440 08-02-2009 04:20 PM

writing workshop
One of my goals this year is to implement writing workshop in my 4th grade class. As I gather resources, I was wondering which book would you recommend writing superstars or dynamite writing ideas by melissa forney? thanks,

Mariely 08-03-2009 01:59 PM

Writing Workshop
I would definitely recommend Dynamite Writing Ideas to give you ideas for implementing the writing workshop. That Melissa Forney book is mostly geared towards how to start one and continue to use it throughout the year.

I would also recommend Writing Superstars to help your students with writing skills they need. The book is kid-friendly and filled with lessons you could use in your writing workshop.

Let me know which one you decide to go with. Take care and I wish you the best of luck!

Mariely :)

fitb440 08-03-2009 08:17 PM

writing workshop
thanks so much for you input;I have visited your website and gained lots of ideas from it. Your website is awesome!!!

Mariely 08-04-2009 05:20 AM

You're most welcome!
Aww! Thank you so much for the compliment. :) I'm just happy to help and share ideas with other teachers and anyone who's interested in education. I'm glad the site has been a resource for you. I wish you the best in all you do. Take care and have a wonderful day! :)

silpada girl 08-09-2009 05:35 AM

writing books
Could anyone tell me if I would benefit from purchasing Writing Superstars over Razzle Dazzle Writing, both by Melissa Forney. I need some guidance in teaching writing to my fifth graders. I've purchased and taught LC for one year, but I found it way too much work. I also don't have that kind of my time in my literacy blocks.

Mariely 08-09-2009 11:39 AM

Writing Superstars vs. Razzle Dazzle
That's a mighty difficult choice being that they are both great resources. Writing Superstars is very kid friendly. All of the pages in the book are glossy and the pictures are really colorful and inviting to students. Writing Superstars focuses on what the scorers in the state of Florida are looking for in writing, how to write a narrative, expository, adding details, writing skills, etc. It also has a section on grammar and some pages you can make copies of in order to make writing games in the classroom. Melissa has also included an Easy Way to Score that has a rubric from 0-6 which is the rubric the state of Florida uses. There are some reader's theatre scripts on how to add more details, narrative writing, expository writing, etc. In addition, there are some writing songs on the back sung to familiar tunes like the Addam's family.

Razzle Dazzle Writing has great resources and information. The pages are black and white but the illustrations are inviting. There are things in Razzle Dazzle Writing that are not in Writing Superstars and some of the word lists are different than in Writing Superstars.

It is a difficult choice, but I hope that this little bit of information on both books will help you make a decision. Let me know what you choose to get. Take care!

silpada girl 08-09-2009 12:04 PM

writing books
thank you for getting back to me about the books. There was another book mentioned by Melissa Forney called Dynamite Writing. Basically I am looking for a book that we help me teach writing in a writers workshop format, complete with lesson plans and handouts. I have the flexibility in 5th grade to select whatever genre I would like to teach. I have many reluctant writers, and since I am so new to teaching,I am not that confident about teaching writing to older students. LC was great, but so time consuming. Will anyone of Melissa's books guide me through from beginning to end on a writing project?

Mariely 08-09-2009 12:55 PM

Re: Writing Books
Hello again Silpada Girl!

Melissa Forney's Dynamite Writing book focuses on how to implement a writer's workshop from the beginning. She also talks about the skills students at different levels should focus on in writing. Together with the Writing Superstars book and/or the Razzle Dazzle book you should have enough material to help you implement and conduct a writer's workshop in your classroom. The Writing Superstars book and Razzle Dazzle book contain lessons that you can use as mini lessons in your writer's workshop. The skills within the books will help you guide students through steps they can use in any writing project. The Writing Superstars book contains some pages with various writing topics that you can pursue with your students and should last you an entire year.

I wanted to also tell you about another great writing resource book. I'm actually waiting to get some spare money to purchase the curriculum myself and use it in conjuction to my Melissa Forney writing books. The books are by Kathryn Robinson and they are titled "Just Write: Narrative" and "Just Write: Expository". Here's a link to the website that has information about the books:

Here's a link to a sample of the Just Write: Narrative which includes the table of contents and Chapter 1:

Here's the link to the sample of Just Write: Expository which also includes the table of contents and chapter 1:

Each book is $44.95 and I think they are worth it. The lessons are teacher friendly. Check it out and let me know what you think.

silpada girl 08-10-2009 05:12 AM

new books
Wow, I love these books. This is sort of what I am looking for in a writers workshop. I love all the writing incorporated and I love her philosophy about grading writing. I always have a difficult time grading writing. I believe good writers develop over a long period of time. If i can teach them a few strategies that carry over to the next grades, I feel pretty good.

I know you teach fourth, but I teach fifth. I only teach SS and Ela. My ELA block incorporates reading, writing, grammar, vocab. It is very difficult to fit everything in. I was wondering if you are familiar with the Daily and whether or not you think this would be worth pursuing, I find that some of these formats would be better suited for the younger grades. We are trying to get our kids ready for the middle school, so we try to organize our classes in that format. We do alot of group work, but there are no stations. I don't want to take off more than I can chew. I would love to teach reading in a workshop format, too, but that is a whole other story. We use the HM basal, which is quite boring for the students. I don't think it does a great job honing in on the skills being taught. Do you know of any books that deal with readers workshop similar to the writing books you have mentioned? thanks for your help....I know this is alot

Mariely 08-10-2009 06:24 AM

More help :)
Hello again silpada girl! Glad to be able to help you in any way. I'm glad you liked the books by Kathryn Robinson. I can't wait to get my hands on them.

As for the Daily 5, I'm only slightly familiar with it from what I've read here on ProTeacher about it. In my school district we don't use the Daily 5 or Reader's Workshop. We all use the Houghton-Mifflin reading series and are asked to also incorporate differentiated instruction through reading centers during our 90 minute block. I understand what you mean about not wanting to take more than you can chew. If you do want to try centers, maybe you could start slow and introduce two or three centers at first to see how it goes.

With regards to the Houghton-Mifflin basal, I understand how it could get boring to the students. I do a lot of supplemental activities along with the text to help students get interested in the story and learn the important reading skills they need in order to succeed. I also try to find something interesting in each story so that I could get excited about the story and in turn the students will get excited as well.

I'm not that familiar with readers workshop but I did some searching for you and I found some links that might help you out. Let me know if these are useful to you:

Bookmuncher's Blog here on ProTeacher that's all about reader's workshop:

The Sunflower Room on ProTeacher with the topic Debbie Miller also has lots of information on reader's workshop:

Hope this helps! :)

Luv*My*Morkie 08-11-2009 04:19 PM

This summer I did some research on writer's workshop and some other helpful books you could look at are:

"The Art of Teaching Writing" by Lucy Calkins
This is a large book, but has a lot of valuable information about and regarding writer's workshop.

"Writer's Workshop: The Essential Guide" by Ralph Fletcher and Joann Portalupi
An easy to read guide that explains a lot about the workshop method, with forms and short, easy to read, chapters.

"Launching the Writing Workshop: A Step-by-Step Guide in Photographs" Denise Leograndis
This is a scholastic book with lots of pictures and explainations on a way to launch the writer's workshop.

"6+1 Traits of Writing" Ruth Culham
Good book to use for writing minilessons

applex63 08-11-2009 06:19 PM

Love this writing program!
Check out --Developed by Barbara Miraconda, author of The Most Wonderful Writing Lessons Ever. After attending her workshop, I bought the narrative writing resource book----LOTS of great lessons!:)

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