ASSIGNMENT TWO: WRITTEN REFLECTION–Section One- The Essential Writing Life Chapters 1-3
on the following comments written below from Chapters 1-3 and any
additional thoughts that you have after reading these chapters.
Chapter 1: Simplify the Teaching of Writing• Simplify our teaching
• Becoming more knowledgeable about teaching writing
• Examine your beliefs
gets to the heart of her book Writing Essentials with this quote on the
final page of Chapter One: “By reducing the clutter in our teaching
lives-the over-planning, the unnecessary activities, the paper load, all
the ‘stuff’ that takes our time and energy and does little to improve
teaching and learning-we bring joy back into our work and the world of
our students.” Many of us work very hard and spend many hours
complicating our teaching lives. In this book Regie will help you
simplify your teaching life for your benefit and that of your students.
of the frustrations that teachers encounter regularly is the ever
changing “latest and best” writing programs that districts or states
force on them and their students. With this revolving cycle of programs,
teachers are spending too much time learning how to use the program
rather than becoming better writing teachers. Regie explains that in the
districts where students are the best writers, they are writing for
real purposes and audiences and publishing their writing; teachers are
not using prescribed writing programs.
at Appendix A (page A-2.) Examine your beliefs about writing by reading
the statements about the writing process and marking true or false in
your book. (Go ahead and write in your book, it’s OK! You can even use a
pencil and mark very lightly if you want to.) We found this activity
very enlightening. Let us know what you think after you complete the
In your reflection for Section One, please include your thoughts about the following questions or statements:
Regie demonstrates how to use the Optimal Learning Model (shown on the
front cover and page 11) throughout the book. Consider how the Optimal
Learning Model fits into your own instruction.
As you think about how to teach writing so that all students can become
successful, effective and joyful writers, reflect on how you presently
teach the “12 Writing Essentials” (as described on pages 13-14 in the
text) during your daily writing instruction. As we continue to read
through Regie’s book, hopefully you will begin to see how you might make
changes in your instruction to better incorporate these “12 Writing
Chapter 2: Start With Celebration
• Make sure writing is meaningful not just correct
• Use stories as springboards and ensure that ALL students hear stories
• Write in front of your students and connect home and school
title of Chapter Two simply states, “Start with Celebration,” and
that’s exactly what we need to do for our students. The celebration of
all students’ writing needs to be put into the forefront and be made our
first teaching goal. Celebrations should happen school-wide, within our
classrooms and with students individually. As children begin to see
themselves as successful writers, they will take more risks in their
writing and in turn will become better writers who enjoy the writing
key point that Regie highlights in this chapter is to “make sure
writing is meaningful, not just correct!” Students need to understand
that writing is “enjoyable and for a real purpose and audience.” She
also reminds us “that teaching skills in isolation does not make student
writers; neither does teaching to the test. And breaking writing into
bits and pieces robs children of the joy of writing.”
suggests using stories as a springboard for teaching and learning.
Hearing and telling stories builds our students’ oral language skills
and these stories are “an entryway into reading and writing.” Only when
students are reading and writing real stories can they connect the
“skills” based learning to their reading and writing!
Please include your thoughts about the following questions or statements in your written reflection of Section One:
Regie explains how important celebrating student writing is. How do you
celebrate student writing in your classroom? How might you add more
celebration of student writing to your day/year?
Consider what changes you could make in your writing instruction to
make writing more meaningful and purposeful for your students.