Saturday, September 20, 2014

Writer Tools of the Trade September 20

September 20, 2014

It seems to me with even the marvelous tools we have at our disposal today, it seems some of my students still "don't get it".
Revision for content
-I show my kids famous author's texts which they indent or start a new paragraph.
-We discuss specific techniques, such as the repetition of words, emphasizing a particular point in the story.
- Use of senses to create images
-Use of dialogue
-Dragging/extending a scene to draw the reader in.

There are so many more, WONDERFUL writerly techniques I can share, and do, to help improve their writing.

We conference and discuss these techniques.
They are eager.
They love the sound of it...
They want to add it in/try it...

The moment of truth comes...
some DO
some DON'T
Some are far off topic that I can't understand HOW they wrote what they did...even with specific lessons.

I am wondering how I can use technology as a tool to REALLY ignite the passion in my writers, to use them to assist /support their creativity, to produce wonderful pieces worthy of expert publishing.

I know, I know,...
passion and an internal flame is needed from within, to spark the desire.
But, if this doesn't exist, at least for this moment in my Personal Narrative instruction,
does anyone think or know of other apps or online tools that might help fan a tiny spark in some of my students?

I am writerly stumped.


  1. Kelly,

    I read this post where it felt like I could have written the exact same words!! It is amazing how excitement and engagement in the lessons and with the mentor texts doesn't really translate the way you expect. I don't know if I have a magic tool, but one thing I have found helpful recently is the Read and Write app for Google Docs. This allows students to have their text read aloud to them. It is amazing how listening to someone read their piece can allow them to identify mistakes they wouldn't have caught otherwise. I have them all use headphones and they must listen to their whole piece before they can consider it "done." I think it also goes back to an authentic, real audience (a discussion I know we have had before). They seem to put more care into it when they know someone other than us is reading it. I do an Author's Chair where they can elect to share this piece, this motivates some of them more because they know others will be hearing it. They are also starting to share their pieces of writing with their Boulder "Pen Pals" which is upping their game as well (hopefully). This is something I am continuing to dig into as well so if I come across anything else I will let you know. Your instruction sounds amazing so don't be too discouraged, keep up the amazing work. You passion and excitement ignites more of them than you realize!

  2. I couldnt agree more! I just read an article on Erin Gonshor's blog about exit slips. I have a poster for student sticky notes. It is cute. I will try to post a picture of it which I stole from Pinterest. At any rate, I plan on have students self assess their own effort. I can't wait to see how honest they really are. Just a thought.