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Lanny Ball

Lanny Ball
Instructional Coach, Gresham, Oregon
Old 01-04-2010, 09:57 PM
Clip to ScrapBook #60

Rachel P.,

I must admit I was searching for something else when I ran across your post. Wow . . . where to begin? I attended both the Institutes on Reading and Writing in summers of 2005 and 2006 and since then have been astounded by the positive results in my students. They not only improve as readers and writers, but learn to love reading and writing in a way I never dreamed possible. Did you really attend? I can't recall any training on "correcting personal feelings". What the writing workshop aims to do is equip students with strategies for generating ideas of their own, ideas they can be invested in writing about. In doing so, students learn how to become stronger writers (through the mini-lessons) and process some of the important happenings in their young lives. As a seventh grade teacher in my town, I was the first to introduce them to the idea that they were capable of generating their own narrative and essay topics. Before, they had been given "prompts" and topics like "Salmon Essay". They had gone through the motions they called "writing", but after being part of my writing workshop, they found their voices and truly flourished.

The mini-lessons are explicit teaching of skills. So that was one of the most confusing parts of your post. And if your mini-lessons are "unrelated", then whose fault is that? My coaching to you (not that you've asked for it, but here it is) is to seek a successful mentor. Seek out a teacher who understands the value of explicitly identifying and instructing using a connection, a teaching point, active engagement, a link, and conferring. Really, young Rachel, you've missed the boat! This is the best there is! My teachers in Gresham are clamoring for the training you've received. Consider yourself lucky.


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