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anyone use "Being a Writer" ?

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anyone use "Being a Writer" ?
Old 08-11-2009, 12:57 PM
 
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Forgive me if this has been asked before, but does anyone use the program Being a Writer ? We had a workshop on it this afternoon, and I would love thoughts, suggestions, what works, what doesn't from those who use it. I am really worried about the time factor here, as it was stressed that if you take shortcuts with this way of teaching writing it defeats the whole purpose. We are talking about 30 to 40 min. four days a week. Does anyone use it in conjunction with language arts (grammar)? ANY feedback on this would be greatly appreciated. I think writing is important and it is always something I was weak at in teaching. I think I might like this program, but it always helps to hear from others.


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Old 08-11-2009, 01:28 PM
 
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We use it in our school but this will be my first year using it so I'm not much help. When I went through the manuals this summer, my main concern was time.

I'll be watching this thread!!
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Being a writer...
Old 08-11-2009, 01:52 PM
 
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I used it for the first time last year (in 5th grade) and am not sure about it just yet. As a new teacher, it was great to have a program to follow and I loved all of the books that the program incorporates. I also like how the program focuses on creating a writing community and how to discuss each other's writing and help each other. My students really responded to this.

The time factor was a huge issue. I had 40 minutes of writing time and it is difficult to get everything in. Especially if you are having a good discussion. Often, I could only give my students 10-15 minutes of actual writing time and I rarely found time for sharing! This is something I plan to work on more this year. Some suggestions for time management...read the book to the class the day before or during a different time of the day. Also, since the program is only 4 days a week, sometimes I would not do a lesson during the week just to give them more time to write.

I would also be interested to hear other thoughts/suggestions with this program.
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Old 08-11-2009, 02:57 PM
 
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I used Being a Writer for the end half of last year. I was impressed with the way the kids reacted to the lessons and the whole concept of writing. They really seemed to enjoy the process.

The lessons were well written so that a substitute could come into your classroom and teach the lesson w/o you having to write up a bunch of extra notes.

There are no specific rubrics included. You have to use your own or ones from your district.

There is no persuasive genre in the fourth grade (which is what I teach) and persuasive writing is in our state/district curriculum, so we must supplement.

I also felt that this program was a great compliment to any other program or parts of a program that teachers use. It seemed to me that it would be easy to add in those "tried and true" lessons that you have used before to meet your students' needs.

Those are the points that stand out in my mind. Feel free to let me know if you have any other questions. I'll try to help as much as I can!
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questions.......
Old 08-11-2009, 03:04 PM
 
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Gam, did you do it the recommended time each day? If so, did you find that you had to cut something else to get everything in? What did you cut back on, if that applies?


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Old 08-11-2009, 03:22 PM
 
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I did it about four days per week for about 40 mins. I did actually use some time during my guided reading/flexible groups to let them write independently. (This would be my writing time during D5.) So, some days lessons were a bit shorter than they probably should have been. But, it all seemed to work out OK.
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Old 08-11-2009, 04:08 PM
 
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Gam, it sounds like you used this program as part of your Daily 5...how did you work that in? I kind of used the D5 last year, but never actually got it up and running full speed. I used a lot of the beginning lessons to teach expectations and gave the kids some choices to do during reading time but didn't do the short mini-lessons. Any tips for getting the mini-lessons going? Did you do any writing mini lessons in addition to the Being a Writer program?
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Old 08-19-2009, 12:51 AM
 
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I did Being a Writer with my fifth graders for 2 years. It has its pros and cons. As you've already figured out, the biggest con is the time. You will have to tweek some things here and there to make it work, but it is workable. I taught it 4x a week and lessons were approx. 40 min long. I had my guided reading time right after so that they could continue working on their writing during that time. It's a really great program for teachers new to writing. I know for me, the thought of teaching writing scared me. It's helped me become a confident writing teacher. The biggest thing I've found over the past 2 years of using it, is that the kids absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! The picture books used are amazing pieces of lit. that shows exactly what good writers do. The kids pick up on various styles and implement it into their own writing. Before BAW, I had students that hated writing. Since it, not a single student has complained. In fact, sometimes they beg me to write even more. Grammar is somewhat built into the skills practice book that comes with the kit. I did have to supplement this some. I just built it in with the lessons.

I hope that's been helpful. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask. I actually provided a brief overview training to staff last year. Best of luck to you!

Last edited by LVNSUMMER; 08-19-2009 at 12:52 AM.. Reason: typo
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Old 08-19-2009, 03:05 AM
 
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Thanks for that info. My kids especially liked the "gathering" part to listen to the story. I had some reluctant ones at first, but when they found out they were only drafting ideas, they loosened up somewhat. I think I am going to like it. In the practice book, did you find any of the lessons that you could use to overlap and teach lang arts, i.e. parts of speech?
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Old 08-20-2009, 05:43 PM
 
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I did Being a Writer for about half of the year for 40 mins. Then I made time later in the day for them to choose writing as D5. I did not actually do D5 last year. I just read the book this summer and though that I could let the kids work on their writing from BAW as a D5 selection. Does this make sense?


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Old 08-22-2009, 01:46 PM
 
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Thanks...that does make sense. I was leaning toward something like that for this year as well. I was hoping to do writing first thing in the morning, then attempt daily 5 and let students choose to write or read. I also have time in the afternoon where we can continue the D5 and they can write then too. Maybe work in some mini lessons on grammar during that time as well. We'll see how it goes.
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book list, anyone?, for 4th gr Being a Writer
Old 06-07-2010, 08:42 AM
 
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Does anyon e have a booklist already typed up of the books used in Fourth Grade Being a Writer? Thanks!
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Old 06-07-2010, 09:18 AM
 
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Does anyone have a booklist already typed up of the books used in Fourth Grade Being a Writer? Thanks!

There is a list on the publisher's site.

http://www.devstu.org/product/being-...ok-set-grade-4
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Old 08-31-2012, 06:09 PM
 
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I used the Being a Writer program last year. I taught it according to the letter. I read every book to the children, made every chart, etc. The children really loved writing and reflecting. The respectful behavior was learned and there were no problems. However, there wasn't any time to teach grammar which was lacking in my room. Also when I began to prepare for the state testing, I found some conflicts in the grading and focus. This year I might tweak the lessons or interject grammar on one or two of the days. I think I will be a little stricter about letting them write anything they want when the lesson clearly focuses on a particular type of writing. Good luck.
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