ASSIGNMENT FOUR: WRITTEN REFLECTION-Section Two- Teaching Essentials Chapters 4-6
Read Writing Essentials, Chapters 4-6 and BRIEFLY reflect
on the following thoughts written below and any additional comments
that you have after reading these chapters. Post your reflection to the
Chapter 4: Raise Your Expectations
• Why we need to raise expectations – ESPECIALLY for our minority and lower socio-economic students
• How to raise expectations in your classrooms as well as in your grade level and throughout your entire building
• What about handwriting, spelling and editing expectations?
• How to use the Optimal Learning Model to support your students’ needs
expectations” for our students is a big push in all of our districts.
Under “No Child Left Behind” many schools have been identified as “in
need of improvement” and have been working furiously yet unsuccessfully
for over ten years to “close the gap” for our minority children. But
more important than improving performance on high stakes tests is
remembering that if we raise our expectations and teach explicitly, then
our students will rise to the occasion and astonish us with the high
quality work that each of them is capable of.
has some great insight into the need to raise expectations of our
students and feeling comfortable and confident with the decision to set
high standards for all learners. She raises the question, What are our
clearly articulated, rigorous yet reasonable expectations? This is a
question that we should reflect on as individual teachers, and one that
should be the starting point for a conversation within our grade levels,
buildings and across entire districts.
like to know what you think of one of our favorite quotes from the
book: “Worksheets aren’t good enough. The students who can do them don’t
need them, and the ones who struggle with them feel defeated by the red
marks, which only reinforce their feelings of inadequacy. WORKSHEETS
FOSTER MEDIOCRITY!” (We personally wanted to shout out when we read
that!) Please include your thoughts in your Section Two Reaction.
this chapter, Regie also sheds some light on several topics that
teachers often ask about. “What about handwriting expectations?” and
“Conventions, Editing and Publishing?” It’s always helpful to get
another professional’s point of view on these pressing issues! Enjoy the
Chapter 5: Do More Shared Writing• Where does Shared Writing fit within the Optimal Learning Model?
• For which learners is Shared Writing appropriate?
• How can we link Shared Writing with Shared Reading?
• How can Shared Writing be used to support word work?
• What are some “Tried and True” ideas for Shared Writing?
idea of Shared Writing is very different than that of many other
professionals in the field. So often we use Shared Writing only with the
primary grades. As Regie states, “What a great way to teach and engage
all students in all aspects of oral and written language.” If we are to
consider teaching through all phases of the Optimal Learning Model, we
can begin to see how important Shared Writing is for our students. We
think that the idea of using Shared Writing in both upper elementary and
the middle schools is a new way of thinking for many of us.
of the reasons Regie encourages teachers to use chart paper and an
easel, instead of projecting to a screen with an overhead or document
camera, is that the children are seated right with you on the floor,
which usually holds the children’s attention a little better. Another
idea that has worked great for me is to move the overhead machine to the
group area and place it on the floor in the middle of the group in
front of the easel. I then project the machine onto the white space of
the easel. It’s great because you’re able to be right there in the
middle of the group and have the benefit of writing more quickly onto a
transparency rather that chart paper. You’ll need to consider which of
your Shared Writing activities you’ll want students to be rereading
(don’t forget that you can hole punch transparencies and put them in a
binder for future reference) and which you may want posted to your walls
list of “Tried and True Ideas for Shared Writing” (page 112) is very
extensive. It would be helpful to take a look at Regie’s list as you
create your curriculum map for the year. Where would some of her
suggestions fit within your science, social studies, math, reading and
writing units across the year?
Chapter 6: Capitalize on the Reading-Writing Connection
• How can we become more effective integrating our reading and writing instruction?
• Are we as efficient as possible with our responses to reading?
• The benefit and necessity to integrate our content area teaching with both reading and writing
• The importance of writing (and reading) more nonfiction
know research shows that reading achievement affects writing
achievement and vice-versa, and we also know that it continually gets
harder to fit “it all” into our day. Effectively using reading and
writing connections throughout the day in all areas of language arts,
math, science, social studies, and even specials such as art, music and
library, is our only option.
suggestion of taking a closer look at how we use written response to
reading is a very important one. Careful consideration is needed to
decide if what we’re asking the students to do is “worth their time.”
For example, if the response we’re looking for will “deepen
comprehension, cause the writer to reflect on the content, and/or foster
appreciation for the text” then it’s worth it. We whole-heartedly agree
with her statement that many of the overly structured assignments such
as book reports can alienate our readers! While response journals do
have their benefits for us professionally Regie states, “they also take
up a lot of our time!” It’s a very organized teacher who can effectively
keep up with their responses without feeling overwhelmed and
frustrated. Don’t forget the bottom line – “Be sure that students spend
more time reading than writing about reading!” (Page 126)
are so glad that Regie addressed how to effectively teach summary
writing. We know that many teachers have a difficult time
differentiating between a summary and retelling – I (Jackie) was one of
them until several years ago. The snapshots and procedures that Regie
shares on how to teach summarizing are invaluable and should be a
reference that we all refer back to throughout our teaching year.