Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Taking our Writing Workouts on the Road & Sharing the "Writer's Rap"

Today I'm braving the snow to travel to DePaul University in Chicago. There, I'll meet with my fellow blogger Esther Hershenhorn and education professors Roxanne Owens and Marie Donovan to discuss our upcoming presentation at the Illinois Reading Council Conference, which will be held in Springfield, Illinois next month. On Thursday, March 18, the two DePaul professors and five of the Teaching Authors (including me) will present "Flabby to Fab-y: Writing Workouts to Shape Up Your Curriculum." If you're attending the conference, I hope you'll join us. We will begin our presentation by discussing the "Top Ten Challenges" for those who teaching writing to children and teens, based on the experience of Professors Owens and Donovan, and on the input our readers provided as part of the contest we offered in January. Here is a summary of the challenges our readers shared:
  • Lack of sufficient time to teach writing
  • Difficulty teaching to differences between second-graders and sixth-graders participating in the same writing workshop
  • Keeping students on task
  • Teaching students how to give constructive feedback
  • Challenges helping students, especially non-native speakers, expand their vocabulary
  • When to emphasize grammar versus focusing on content
  • Helping students understand that a first draft is just the beginning of the process
  • Knowing when to begin the critique process
  • Finding ways to make learning grammar fun
  • How to eliminate fear of writing, fear of "getting it wrong"
  • How to balance teaching of different genres
  • Looking for helpful mini-lessons to teach 1st/2nd graders fiction writing
  • Having students use their own ideas instead of taking ideas from examples
  • Helping students with good ideas develop the skills to translate them onto the page
If you didn't get a chance to share last month, it's not too late--we'd still love to know about your greatest challenges when teaching writing to grades 1-12. Please post your comments below.

Don't forget--there's still time to enter for a chance to win an autographed copy of Davy Crockett Gets Hitched by Bobbi Miller. See JoAnn's Guest Teaching Author Interview with Bobbi for details.

If you're looking to win books for a slightly older audience, check out the love-themed giveaway at the Classof2K10 blog. Their entry deadline is midnight on Valentine's Day.

Finally, here's an early Valentine's Day gift for aspiring writers (and those who teach them), courtesy of author Erin Dealey. Her "Writer's Rap" will have you moving to the beat. (Thank you, Alice Pope, for posting the clip on your CWIM blog.) When you're done watching, go out and "hook 'em big"!
(If you're an email subscriber and the clip doesn't come through, you can watch it on YouTube here.)

Happy Writing!


Michelle Sussman said...

Thanks for the title of your presentation. I have a teacher/friend going to IRC and I suggested your session to her. Sounds great! :)

Carmela Martino said...

Thank YOU, Michelle, for telling your friend about our presentation. I hope to meet her at the conference.