User Name forgot?
Password

      Stories of the Heart


Conferring in a Writers Workshop

>

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Adaya
Full Member
 
Adaya's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 296
Conferring in a Writers Workshop
Old 07-22-2008, 07:12 PM
  #1

Conferring… It’s been a discussion here on PT for some time now. A conference is a conversation. So, why is it so difficult?!?! I find that conferring is the hardest part of the Workshop model, yet potentially the most important. Why is that? Is it because it’s just me and that one child? Is it because I’m in charge of teaching that child EXACTLY what s/he needs at that EXACT point in time? Maybe. As teachers we have the power to send a child down a path of being a confident writer or down that other path. It’s a big job.

At the Writing Institute Lucy Calkins and Carl Anderson said over and over how important it was to LISTEN. Lucy said, “As teachers we need to listen. We need to mentor the writer with gasping as if their writing is the best thing you’ve ever read.” Gasping? Do I have time to gasp? As a teacher, I am juggling five things during a conference. Sadly, most of those things I’m juggling don’t have anything to do with the child I’m conferring with. In order to fill my conferences with authentic gasping all my students need to be independent so I can be in the moment with whomever I am conferring with. For in those few minutes, I need to bestow undivided attention on the author providing honest, authentic, and true gasping.

Last summer BookMuncher blogged, questioned, and talked out loud about how teaching points needed to have a skill and strategy. We worked together as we practiced writing out our teaching points, ensuring they consisted of a skill and a strategy. At first I didn’t really get it, now, with practice I’m starting to come around. I can’t say I’ve been perfect, but I’ve been approximating. Since BookMuncher was focusing on Reading Workshop I have more practice doing this in reading. Now I’m ready to attack Writers Workshop. Are you ready to attack with me?

Teachers College suggested that teachers have a cheat sheet of potential teaching points in their Conferring Toolkit (see the thread started in the Sunflower Room: http://proteacher.net/discussions/sh...ad.php?t=94502). Last summer BookMuncher and friends came together and created a cheat sheet of potential reading teaching points. So I’m asking that we come together and create a cheat sheet of writing teaching points (consisting of skills and strategies).

I’m not sure the best way to organize this… It might get messy before it becomes clear! I wonder if the easiest way to organize our thinking is through the writing process?

Planning
Skill: Writers plan
- By telling their story across their fingers
- By telling their story to a friend
- By touching each page as they say their story
- By making a movie in their heads

Skill: Writers make pictures that teach
- By making their pictures clear
- By zooming in
- By using arrows
- By adding labels


Skill: Writers plan
- By drawing pictures
- By writing words (labels)
- By writing sentences.


Skill: Writers make pictures that teach
- By making their pictures clear
- By zooming in
- By using arrows
- By adding labels


Drafting
Skill: Writers add detail by...
- adding to the pictures.
- adding words that go with the pictures.
- adding dialogue.
- showing, not telling.
- describing the internal story.


Skill: Writers hook their reader by...
- using dialogue
- using a "when" lead.
- using a "where" lead.
- starting in the moment.
- beginning with a sound.


nonfiction:
- starting with a startling fact.
- asking a question of the reader.
- making a comparison.


Skill: Writers effectively close their piece by...
- mirroring the lead.
- using dialogue.
- showing emotion.
- writing "close in" endings.


Skill: Writers create images by...
- writing from all 5 senses.
- looking at the object or situation in another way.
- comparing the object or situation to something different.
- using similies or metaphors.
- combining words that sound good together. (Alliteration, rhyme, surprising words)


Revising
Skill:Writers revise (skill)
- By showing their feelings (strategy)
- By adding their thinking (strategy)
- By adding talking/dialogue (strategy)
- By adding action (strategy)
- By adding the setting (strategy)
- By adding more at the beginning
- By adding more in the middle
- By adding more at the end
- By deleting what doesn’t belong
- The sequence

Publishing

Sharing

Together we can make this daunting task much easier!

BookMuncher
Adaya

Last edited by Adaya; 07-23-2008 at 10:21 AM..
Adaya is offline   Reply With Quote
BookMuncher
Senior Member
 
BookMuncher's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 4,208
wow...
Old 07-23-2008, 04:25 AM
  #2

That's a big one to undertake! I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around this one. I think the writing process is a good place to start because every piece- poetry, fiction, nf, goes through the writing process. Maybe as the list gets longer, each of those writing process steps could have genres under them? I won't add exhaustively right now, but here's some to get us started...

I'm thinking that "drafting" probably won't show up the teaching point, b/c it's too big to be a skill. There's probably lots of skills that fall under drafting. I'll try to think of what some could be.

Drafting
Skill: Writers add detail by...
- adding to the pictures.
- adding words that go with the pictures.
- adding dialogue.
- showing, not telling.
- describing the internal story.

Skill: Writers hook their reader by...
- using dialogue
- using a "when" lead.
- using a "where" lead.
- starting in the moment.
- beginning with a sound.

nonfiction:
- starting with a startling fact.
- asking a question of the reader.
- making a comparison.

Skill: Writers effectively close their piece by...
- mirroring the lead.
- using dialogue.
- showing emotion.
- writing "close in" endings.

Skill: Writers create images by...
- writing from all 5 senses.
- looking at the object or situation in another way.
- comparing the object or situation to something different.
- using similies or metaphors.
- combining words that sound good together. (Alliteration, rhyme, surprising words)

I know there are so many more under each skill, but I wrote what I could think of off the top of my head.

BookMuncher is offline   Reply With Quote
liketeaching1
Senior Member
 
liketeaching1's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 3,416
Adaya
Old 07-23-2008, 04:30 AM
  #3

I can't wait to hear more! I am so glad that you were able to go to the Teacher's College conference on Writing!

I haven't had the privilige of going, but I am sure I can learn from you, just as we learned from those that went last summer.
liketeaching1 is offline   Reply With Quote
luvin1st
Full Member
 
luvin1st's Avatar
 
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 353
Thanks
Old 07-23-2008, 08:37 AM
  #4

for sharing your TC experience with us. Last year was my first year to implement Lucy Calkins' writers workshop in my class. I think this will be a year where I can use my reflections from last year to deepen my teaching with more confidence.

Question: Those of you that went to TC, did you go alone or with a group of known friends/teachers? Did your school fund it? Is your school involved in an associated project?
luvin1st is offline   Reply With Quote
Adaya
Full Member
 
Adaya's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 296
TC funding
Old 07-23-2008, 09:25 AM
  #5

I went with one other teacher from my school. We had a grant pay for our trip (well not ALL of it, but a good portion of it). Our district uses the UoS but not with the same beliefs that TC has. So I am glad I have PT to help me talk through things!
Adaya is offline   Reply With Quote
tangolily
Senior Member
 
tangolily's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 603
Wonderfu!
Old 07-23-2008, 10:15 AM
  #6

What a wonderful start to your blog!

I appreciate reading what you took away from the writing institute. I was there, too, but it was all new to me, except for the tons of books I've been reading trying to get a grasp on how to teach this way.

The conferring cheat sheet is an excellent idea, and you are off to a great start. I think it will be helpful not just for conferring, but also for fixing the teaching points into our minds. For me there is so much to remember at this point, that anything I can do to make those teaching points second nature is extremely valuable.

So thank you for taking the time to share. Your encouragement has given me a focus as I continue to wade through the UOS books!
tangolily is offline   Reply With Quote
RJean
Senior Member
 
RJean's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 972
Wow!
Old 07-24-2008, 12:53 PM
  #7

I have to reply to this because I just came back from a day of learning about confering in writer's workshop (I literally just walked in the door). I was completely lost about how to conference until today(I still have to practice LOTS.. but it's a start). Our presenter is Sandy Biondi, for those of you in Southeastern Michigan who might know her.... for those of you who don't, she is an amazing teacher - we have a 6 day worshop with her all about writer's workshop and how to understand it. I am sixth grade.... we don't have the Lucy Calkins books/lessons to guide us. Today all her information was based on the Lucy Calkins and Carl Anderson information.

Anyways...by what she said today, you are completely on the right track with having to understand the skills your students need in order to have an effective conference. She said conferences are predictable and soon the students will know exactly what you are asking of them. In being "predictable" she means there are about four (i say "about" because the fourth step has two parts... i'll get there) that you will do in each conference:

1. What is the Child working on
To find this out ask an OPEN ENDED QUESTION (What are you working on as a writer today?) the students can't just answer back "I am writing" they have to identify a skill you have taught them (yes, you have to teach them how to do this too... )
Then you RESEARCH if you have to by asking them to be more specific. If they say they are adding details, ask them "How are you adding Details?" If they say by adding thoughtshots then ask them "Can you SHOW ME where in your paper you are adding thoughtshots?"

2. By this time you might be able to tell if they get that skill or not BUT if you don't, she said to ask them how it is going. If they confess they are confused about what you just taught, then you can focus in on that for your teaching point for this conference. If they get it (if they SHOWED you) then you have to figure it out....

3. Then you as a teacher have to figure out where to go from there (which is where your list of skills is going to be a HUGE HELP!) -
What is the next REASONABLE step? (you are thinking to yourself) you'll want to stay in the ballpark of what the student is working on, so as not to confuse them.

4.Now you DECIDE which
which CONCEPT(skill) will you be teaching them (from the list you are making)
and which STRATEGY you will teach them to help them understand the concept you are teaching them. (also from your list)

Example: Concept = Word Choice
Strategy = find an action verb and circle it. Brainstorm a variety of verbs that you could use instead of your original verb. Which one sounds the best or helps you picture the action in your mind the best? (I would probably teach this through demonstration, but whatever works for you)... choose a random word... not one of their's, you don't want to do their work for them....

Then they try it.

You may have already known all that... like I said I don't have a book or any of writer's workshop manuals - so I don't know how those books teach us to teach... if that is the case.. just disregard my ramblings....

I think the biggest "Ah HA!" moment for me today was when she said "We are teaching the WRITER not helping the WRITING." She said to always think to yourself, "Is what I am sharing with them/asking them just going to help THIS paper?(example: Can you tell me a little more about your dog?) or will this be able to help them write anything, at any time (example: How can you show me and not tell me?)

I am sorry I wrote so much, I am just really excited to have a starting point now about conferencing!!!! As we were finishing up, I mentioned to one of the other teachers i was working with about how great it would be if we had a file of all these skills a the strategies that went with them so we couldgo through them and have them on back up for those times we forget (or just to keep drilling them into me so i can learn them and how to say it!)

Good luck! Have fun!
RJean is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

 

>
Stories of the Heart

Thread Tools



Sign Up FREE | ProTeacher Help | BusyBoard

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:42 AM.


Copyright © ProTeacher®
For individual use only. Do not copy, reproduce or transmit.
source: www.proteacher.net