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I'm a good teacher - but a bad writing teacher...

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froggy4ever froggy4ever is offline
 
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I'm a good teacher - but a bad writing teacher...
Old 04-11-2013, 05:00 PM
 
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I'm so frustrated because I'm coming to the conclusion that I'm a terrible teacher of writing. This is my 2nd year teaching 3rd grade and I don't think my kids have improved. Here it is in April, and I'm lost. My District has adopted a writing curriculum called Step Up to Writing. I went through it at the beginning of the year and didn't feel comfortable with it - so avoided it. I've used 4 Blocks in the past and felt ok with it. However, we've been told we MUST now use the Step Up, and I'm switching late in the year. My kids are lost - I'm lost. I can't blame Step Up as I feel it's my own lack of structure. You can't teach something that you don't fully understand yourself. Writing was always more intuitive to me and I never really analyzed it while in school. So... I don't have time to run out and take a "workshop" like some people suggest in other writing strands. Does anyone know of something on-line that could be a resource for me? I've googled tons of things, and there's a lot out there - - too much, in fact. My head spins! I think I need basic explanations on structure and where to begin. I have spent time on teaching good sentance structure and paragraph structure, but my kids can't pull it together independently. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!


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AniFan15 AniFan15 is offline
 
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Old 04-12-2013, 03:23 PM
 
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I am in the SAME boat... I just do not know how to teach writing, and the programs we use never seem to make sense or cover all that needs to be covered. Writing is DEFINITELY my weak spot. It doesn't help that there are so many things to cover in a day/week, and writing always seems to be the one that gets short-changed... probably because I'm not comfortable with it, so it's easy to avoid. Hopefully this summer I'll know what grade I'm teaching next year so I can try to prepare myself better.

I'm sorry I'm no help... but I'll be keeping my eye on this thread to see what ideas are out there.
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froggy4ever froggy4ever is offline
 
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Thank you!
Old 04-12-2013, 04:06 PM
 
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I guess there's comfort in knowing that I'm not the only one that really struggles with this. I'm doing a persuasive writing next week using the OREO format and one of the other teachers here had some good suggestions on how to teach it. She does it with Oreo cookies - having them eat one cookie without letting them know why - just eat for fun! After a few minutes, she begins to ask questions about how they like to eat their cookie, why they like it that way, etc. Then she gives them another cookie - this time, telling them they need to eat it in their favorite way, and they have to pay attention to exactly how they do it - thinking about what it feels like on their tongue, etc. From there, they create their topic sentence. She teaches them to use, "In my opinion..." to begin. She then has them come up with 2 reasons (the R in OREO) - and their 2nd reason must begin with a transition word or phrase. After that, she does the "E" for example - and they must use a "for example" phrase. Finally, she finishes with another "O" - and teaches them to restate their topic sentence using a "This is why..." type of statement or a more persuading conclusion. I think it's fun, too, that after the "E" part of the writing, she has them go back and label the O, R, and E in their rough draft, and waits for them to recognize that they are actually spelling out OREO. This seems to really help set their conclusion out as their "opinion" again.

She's such a good writing teacher! I'm lucky that she's a grade level partner! However, I feel so bad having to rely on her to teach me, as well as teach her own class!

Well - hope this helps you, if you haven't already done a writing like this! Thanks again for responding, too!
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knitting987! knitting987! is offline
 
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Old 04-14-2013, 07:48 AM
 
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They use step up at our school. My son's teacher said he spent a day studying the TE book and that is all the writing training he recieved. You may want to just do that and call it good. He also said he went to 4th and really understood the 4th grade test for writing so he knew what to focus on in his teaching so the kids would be ready for the test next year. He really hasn't done much with writing this year but has done the basics. I'm glad you have a good parner at grade level. I would be going to her too. Just tell her how much it is helping you and that you are a fast learner.
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AHV AHV is offline
 
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5 paragraphs
Old 04-15-2013, 05:18 AM
 
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As much as I hate to admit it, I teach the five-paragraph essay. My students long for this type of structure in writing because without structure, they are not confident in what they write. I also emphasize the importance of using "hooks" and "zingers," which are like catchy statements in the first and last paragraphs. They like to make rhetorical questions, general statements, or questions for these hooks and zingers. This method works well with most students, but of course, it doesn't work well with ALL students. Writing is such a difficult topic to teach because each students has his or her own style.


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crazyquilter2 crazyquilter2 is offline
 
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I've been there...
Old 04-15-2013, 06:10 AM
 
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I completely understand....I have struggled many years and this is my 7th year teaching 3rd. If it were me, I would cut my losses for this year and focus on next year. Check out Melissa Forney's website; she has several books and printables. I have her book Razzle Dazzle Writing and it is very good. I also recently purchased material from Create Better Writers on Laura Chandler's site. I've taught onomatopoeias, vivid verbs, similes etc. After the lesson I follow up with a snap shot writing exercise. A snapshot writing is a 10 minute activity where you put a picture/ phrase/ topic/up on your smart board / overhead. Have them write on the preselected subject but the catch is they have to include the skill you just taught. Another thing to remember is that while they write, you write. Model what you want them to do. When time is up, call on a couple of kids to read their writing. My kids really enjoyed this. Continue writing snap shots but have them include new skills each time they are taught. I also have simile, onomatopoeia, vivid verb, adjectives lists posted in my room. When they come across one of these during ar time, they show it to me and then they write it on the appropriate list. I hope this helps... I truly know exactly what you are going through.
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froggy4ever froggy4ever is offline
 
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Thank you!
Old 04-16-2013, 04:02 PM
 
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I really appreciate everyone's suggestions. I will definitely be checking out the resources that were offered. Right now, I think my greatest resource is my partner. She is wonderful. However, I feel very inadequate having to ask too many questions... Thank you everyone, for pointing out the need to focus on onomatopoeias, similes, strong verbs and such. Crazyquilter2, I love the idea of putting lists up and allowing kids to add to it all year. I bet you have some wonderfully long lists by the end of the school year, as well as excited kiddos about getting to "be the one" who finds that special word. I will try that next year! Again, thank you to all for the many suggestions and offering up proof that I'm not in this floundering boat alone.
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delidkteach delidkteach is offline
 
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Teaching it as you understand it..
Old 04-22-2013, 05:46 PM
 
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I'm not personally familiar with that program but I've had similar experiences with other literacy programs. I find that it works best for the students if you teach them how you feel comfortable and then incorporate aspects of the program that the school requires you use.
Break down the steps for the students so that they know how to go through the writing process step by step, from planning to final draft.
I also think it is important for students to experience multiple types of writing such as essays, letters, newsletters, newspaper articles etc. Teaching the different strategies of writing is most important because every student is different and therefore their writing is going to be different. Not all students are going to be able to conform to one writing program so if you individualize it to how you are comfortable and how it will best benefit your students, then you will be successful!
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1ofaKINDA 1ofaKINDA is offline
 
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Old 04-28-2013, 02:24 PM
 
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I just went to Plain Talk in New Orleans and heard Anita Archer discuss sentence frames. She shared sentence frames for argumentative (persuasive) and informational writing and for Math and Social Studies. You can google her and see if there is anything.
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1ofaKINDA 1ofaKINDA is offline
 
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Old 04-28-2013, 02:32 PM
 
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Another thought! Have you been to this website? http://www.writingfix.com/ Excellent ideas.


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