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Old 07-17-2009, 06:37 PM
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I've been using this model for two years and I absolutely love it. I agree with the people who say that it helps if you have been instructed on how to use the program and the books. It is extremely overwhelming to read through each lesson. Take it one step at a time…breath. That was the problem that my district faced the first year that we implemented UOS. Since then, I have had the opportunity to go to a LC seminar, and have several sessions with Amy Vanderwater and Kathy Collins, so I guess I understand the program to a different degree then some. In all of the "seminars" the presenters have said its “OK” to change the lesson and the wording of the lessons as you see fit (instead of the scripted work that LC gives you for an example of what you might say). Make it your own.

It also makes you as a teacher become a writer. If you keep a writer's notebook, and you share your work with your students it is such a powerful way of modeling. The students become so involved and inspired. But like I said, it takes courage to put yourself out there like that.

About management: Many of you have noted that you tried some lessons and they haven’t worked but that is not what the program is about. The program is about routine and structure (even though there is a lot of choice). Lucy gave many management tips at the seminar that were quite helpful, but the big idea is (with any management) it needs to be routine for the kids.

About teaching grammar: This program calls for one-to-one conferencing. This is powerful time. It’s a time when you can learn about your writer’s, compliment them, and where you give them something to work on (which can be anything that meets their individual needs).

I was observed by the principal of our school this year and he asked the students after the mini-lesson before they went off for independent writing: "How have you changed as a writer since third grade?" (I teach 5th) The students responded by saying things like "I write to release inner feelings", "Instead of writing because my teacher tells me to, I write for a purpose now”, “I use real authors as mentors and imitate their styles” … the things they said were enough to bring tears to my eyes and make me a true believer.

This program is intimidating because it requires you to be a reader and a writer yourself. If you are not that, you should try to become that (Hey, you’re a teacher!). Keep a writer’s notebook with all of your summer memories. Give it a try. It made me a writer…

I’m exhausted from reading these posts and trying to convince you. If you don’t like it and you have to use it anyway, try to get training and be open-minded.

If you are being forced to use the program and don’t like it- refer to this quote:
"If you can't change it, change the way you think about it"
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