Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Stepping into the Common Core Standards: Writing

This is one area of the writing standards that I had not paid much attention
to in the past.  The standard describes it as "character response."
Yesterday I had the chance to attend the first of a two-day writing workshop led by Leslie Laud. Leslie led us through a number of approaches to use as we move children from dependence to independence in writing. As I've written before, I believe the approach that Leslie and our curriculum director, Karyn Saxon, are promoting in this regard provides a terrific framework for the teaching of specific writing units. I mainly became hooked on this framework when I saw the wonder and pride in students' eyes as they recognized their writing growth during the last unit.

During yesterday's session, we spent the time walking through the specific common core standards related to writing during the elementary years. I paid particular attention to my grade level, fourth grade. Each standard, as I've found with my UClass work, is packed with important language and implications for the work we do--the standards for these essential skills are rich and deep, and the the question at hand is how to implement each standard in a meaningful way.

I put together a slide show of many of the writing standards in child-friendly language that I'll print out, laminate, and hang from the bulletin board near our classroom share center.  That will help me to use the precise language and include the standards during our upcoming narrative unit. Today as we continue to learn, I'll figure out just exactly how I'll facilitate this unit with my current fourth grade class.  Where will we start and how will we continue?  What discrete lessons will I fit into the teaching, and when will writing process be the mainstay?  What mentor text and authors will lead our work?  How will I build stamina, investment, craft, and creativity? All of these questions are the reasons I love to teach; I truly enjoy the process of personalizing the standards-base work so that it fits the current needs, interests, and learning styles of my students.

Stay tuned.