Saturday, April 15, 2017

Writing Strategies Goal 2: Engagement

Welcome to our book study of The Writing Strategies Book:  Your Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Writers by Jennifer Serravallo! I am joining forces with some other fabulous teacher bloggers to discuss the writing strategies we come across in this AMAZING professional text!    

Because this book isn't your typical professional development book filled with individual "chapters" of narrative, each teacher blogger will be giving you a glimpse into the 10 goals that are represented in the text.  Each goal area is filled with many valuable strategies that will help you to support and guide your students as they become better writers.  Keep in mind, we are only highlighting a FEW strategies in each section.  There are over 300 strategies in the whole book!

If you missed our other posts you can find them here:

Anyone who has ever taught children to write, will know that there are always kids who struggle with writing.  They hate writing, or they don't know what to write about.  You may wonder, is it possible to teach children to have more energy for their writing? Serravallo says, "Yes, this is a teachable skill"!

Serravallo says that her favorite tool for determining which students need support with engagement is an engagement inventory.  You can download the one she uses here.

An engagement inventory is essentially a kid-watching tool.  Teachers watch and record student behaviors and signs of engagement (or lack of) during a period of independent writing.  This is done in place of conferring or small group instruction.  

You keep track of things like how often students get up to sharpen pencils, use the restroom, talk, etc. You might also keep track of how long a student is able to write before they lose steam.  You can then analyze the data looking for patterns, and possible students who might benefit from this goal.

Another way to measure engagements is by tracking writing time: i.e. the amount of lines or pages a student writes in an allotted time.  Serravallo provides volume expectations for writing stages/grade levels in the book.

When choosing this as a goal for your students to work on, you may want to consider students who:

* spend a lot of time off task during independent writing.

* write very little despite being given plenty of time to write independently.

Focus Strategy 1: Listen.Praise.

This strategy is great for your reluctant writers because they often are reluctant to write because they don't think they are good writers or they don't think that anyone would want to read what they write.

In Listen.Praise. the student reads their writing out loud to their partner whose job it is to listen for interesting spots.  They stop the writer and praise them.  

I also love this strategy because I feel my students get better as writers when they work with a partner.  

Focus Strategy 2: The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword

Sometimes it's all about the pen!  I know that I have some favorite pens that I reach for when I am writing - flair pens and gel pens anyone?

Our students are the same!  I know my students will do just about anything if I let them use my special pens or markers.  Serravallo recommends letting students try out a variety of pens and pencil types.  You might even try different pens for different tasks - such as special flair pens for revising.

I will often let my reluctant writers use iPads or computers to type when they have trouble getting started.

Focus Strategy 3: Set a "More" Goal for the Whole Writing Time

In this strategy, she recommends telling the student to think about how many lines they tend to write in one writing period.  Ask them to set a goal for themselves to write more.  She suggests having them write a "finish line" on their notebook to see if they can write to (or past) that line.

I often have my students make a small star in the margin as their finish line.  They are always excited when they beat that line! 

If you would like to purchase the book mentioned above, you can find it here.

This post contains affiliate links. I earn a small commission each time someone makes a purchase using one of my links, which helps to support the blog.  All opinions are my own and I only promote brands and products that I have used myself and truly love.  

teaching, life, and everything in between

Jen over at Teaching, Life and Everything in Between is the official host of this week's chapter.  Head on over to check out her post as well!  Make sure you leave some comment love!

If you would like to link up your own blog posts about this book, feel free to do so in the linky below!  Don't forget to check out the other bloggers' posts as well as they write them for even more ideas!

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