Encouraging Motivating Reluctant Writers in the

Report
Reluctant writers aren’t born. They are often
casualties of our classroom instruction (Janoski 2010)
RTLB Workshop Tokoroa
March 20 2014
Facilitators
Karyn Brown RT: Lit Tokoroa
Sharyn Merry RT: Lit Matamata/ Putaruru
Welcome
If you hear a voice within you say, “ You
are not a painter,” Then by all means
paint… and that voice will be silenced.
Vincent Van Gogh
Fabulous Feats
 Take a piece of paper and fold into four.
 Try to think of a way that in which you are unique, unusual,
or different from other people (Think about some oddity, an
interest, a near miss you may have had, an embarrassing experience etc)
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Write one example on each fold of the paper.
Pass in one at a time and place in the box
Read out individual responses to class/group
Raise your hand if you have had that experience also
(The person who wrote it does not put up their hand)
 The idea is to see if you are unique. If no one raises their
hand then you are unique.
 This exercise is complete when everyone has
experienced being unique.
Who is the Reluctant Writer?
 Turn to the people sitting around you and discuss what
you think the key characteristics/ behaviours of a
reluctant writer are. (Think about students that you
have in your class who are reluctant)
 Share with the group
Who is the Reluctant Writer?
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They are usually, but not always male.
They are usually reluctant readers.
They usually have poor spelling and punctuation skills.
They are easily distracted from writing and reading tasks.
They work slowly and often their work is frequently incomplete.
Their written work is often messy.
Their books are frequently disorganised and tatty.
They avoid starting writing and use excuses, such as “I can’t find my pencil.”
They will not share their written work in a group.
They sometimes lack life experiences.
They usually have some difficulty with reading.
They usually like being read to.
They usually like to make and build things.
They have sometimes developed strategies for
masking their reluctance.
Reluctant writers are generally reluctant because they
have had very little success!
So…What do Reluctant Writers
Need to be Successful?
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They need to be identified as a reluctant writer.
Identify the barriers that make a writer reluctant.
Reduce or remove barriers.
An incentive to write.
Experiences, or triggers to help them remember one.
Writing about topics they know about/ have experienced/
what’s in front of their nose.
 Recognise that they have things to write about and share.
To understand that good writers write about the ordinary
in an extraordinary way.
 Recognise that their interests and what they know about
provide a good source of writing material.
So…What do Reluctant Writers
Need to be Successful? cont…
 Careful orientation into writing activities.
 Clear, succinct learning intentions and success criteria in
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child friendly language.
Clear purpose for writing.
Understanding of who the writing audience is.
Opportunities for immersion, talking, drawing and
planning prior to writing
Explicit teacher modelling and/or demonstration
Support/ scaffolded planning (at all levels)
A clear writing process to follow.
Specific, timely feedback
Scaffolded manageable tasks/ templates.
Co-operative writing tasks.
Using Photo Prompts for Writing
 Use the photo prompt provided and individually write
two fact, emotive and thought sentences on the
photocopied strips provided.
 In groups decide on the best order to arrange them so
that they make sense. All sentences must be used.
 Share.
 For further ideas on visual presentation and viewing
see Murray Gadd information in handout provided.
Using Picture Books as a Catalyst
for Writing
An Invitation to Notice
(Can be used with picture books/ models of writing)
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What words or phrases grab your attention?
What words phrases or sentences tug at your heart?
What words help the author be specific?
What strong verbs do you notice? How do they help you visualise the
authors meaning?
What precise nouns do you notice? How do they help you as a reader?
What onomatopoeia, alliteration, repetition does the author use? How
does it help you as a reader?
What comparisons (simile, metaphor, personification) did you notice
in the text? How do they help you understand the text?
How does the author’s words help you develop sensory images?
How does the author’s writing help you as a reader, feel emotion?
What type of sentences (simple, compound, complex) do you notice?
How does the author begin his/her sentences?
How are the words arranged within the sentence?
How are the author’s ideas organised?
The Writer’s Toolbox
Writing Models
Never hesitate to imitate another writer. Imitation is part
of the creative process for anyone learning an art or
craft. Bach and Picasso didn’t spring full-blown as Bach
and Picasso; they needed models. This is especially true
of writing.
William Zinsser
Magical Tales
 Magical Tales
 Winning stories from New Zealand Post Magical Tales
by Kiwi Kids 2012 writing competition.
 See further information in the handout
A Basic Sequence to Follow…
When introducing a new form of writing or as a catalyst to trigger
memories/ write about real experiences
 Provide each student with a model of the writing being
considered. (This encourages engagement.)
 Read the model to students.
 Allow time to respond. (What they liked, what it made them think
of etc..)
 Together identify aspects of specific writing form or
features author has adopted.
 Record/ highlight/ annotate features in text.
 Co-construct criteria
 Demonstrate the form in shared writing using and
referring to a plan. Think aloud.
A Basic Sequence to Follow…cont
 Ensure students have time for discussion, drawing &
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planning prior to writing/ Immerse them in the
topic/theme.
Use a full page for planning. (Left hand page)
As students write encourage them to refer to planning
and criteria.
The criteria can form the basis for self-review, buddy
& teacher conferences/ feedback
Share writing & identify writing strengths and next
steps.
Real Experiences
 Provide a range of real life experiences
 Discuss/ brainstorm
Utilise Technology
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Websites (Just a few of many)
Story jumper
Build Your Wild Self
Poetry Forms
PicLits
Scholastic Story Starters
Writing Inspiration
The Literacy Shed
Utilise Technology
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I Pad Apps (Just a few of many)
Toontastic
Create a car
Puppet Pals
Quick Voice
Speech Journal
Pages
iWordQ UK
 Also use e-mail, blogs etc
Writing Exercise
 Listen to model shared & record/ list ideas under the
following headings
 What I Like…
 What I don’t like…
 What I want….
Developing Writing Mileage
 Power writing (see handout for procedure P. 10 10…).
 Journal writing.
 Allow and encourage choice but also have a range of
prompts or triggers for inspiration.
 Build in writing across the curriculum and throughout
the day.
What About Punctuation &
Grammar?
 Teach actions for punctuation (The Writing Book-
Sheena Cameron Louise Dempsey P. 89).
 Play punctuation points – students score points for
punctuation utilised – e.g. Full stops – 1 point, comma – 2
points, question mark – 5 points etc
 Use Schoolhouse Rock clips to explain/ reinforce concepts
such as nouns, verbs, adverbs, conjunctions etc.
 Explicitly teach simple, compound, complex sentences &
other grammar conventions. Refer to ‘The Writing Book’ &
Jeff Anderson texts as a reference (Sentence Smack Downp. 65 Mechanically Inclined).
Using conjunctions to write
complex sentences
 Use the cards to make a
Sentence
conjunction
sentence.
 Now try a complex sentence
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Hint: If you start your sentence with a conjunction you will always need to use a comma
Conjunction
sentence
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sentence.
What About Editing?
 Express Lane Editing – Mechanically Inclined -Jeff
Anderson.
 Everyday Editing – Jeff Anderson. Invitation to notice/
imitate/celebrate.
 Use transparent coloured counters for proofreading
e.g. Place a counter on every capital letter
you have used.
Spelling/ Editing/ Proofreading
 Provide access to appropriate tools (High frequency
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word card, dictionaries etc )
Be realistic.
Have clear expectations.
Accept & encourage close approximations.
Utilise technology to reduce barriers.
Allow students to dictate text when appropriate.
Conferencing/ Feedback
 According to Donald Graves a successful conferring session
is one which the writer leaves wanting to write more.
 The Child is more important than the writing.
Donald Graves
 People will forget what you said, people will forget what you
did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
Maya Angelou
Conferencing/ Feedback
Tips to consider when providing feedback
 Read through the entire piece of writing before providing
feedback/marking.
 Scour for what is right and effective.
 Respond to the message of the writing first.
 Inform- don’t overwhelm.
 Positive comments should outweigh negative comments.
 Inform parents/ students early about how you will provide
feedback.
 Use the information to forward plan.
 Include students in the feedback/assessment.
Value their Writing!
Treat them like an Author.
Remember…
•Ideas are more important than spelling
•In Shakespeare’s time spelling was
optional.
Other Ideas
 Use r-phones to encourage re-reading of writing.
 Provide writing templates or partially completed outlines so student/s
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can have a clear structure/ scaffold to follow.
Reduce copying aspects of work. Provide student/s with a copy of what
is required rather than having to copy it.
Explicitly teach the stages/processes of writing E.g.
brainstorming/planning, drafting, editing, proofreading etc.
Incorporate cooperative writing tasks into the classroom writing
programme.
Encourage student/s to use the words they want to write rather than
what they can spell.
Act as a scribe or get someone else to act as a scribe when appropriate.
Negotiate writing tasks into chunks.
Try using colour for planning, writing, sentences, paragraphs etc.
Truly Shocking Diary
Using Andy Griffith’s framework add an entry to his
Truly Shocking Diary
 Wednesday 15 May…. My Toast hits the floor face down
 Thursday 16 May…Can’t find matching socks
 Friday 17 May… wore book character dress up on the
wrong day ….etc
Andy Griffiths Ideas
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Lucky/ Unlucky story
Excuses
Explosions
Fast Writing (Like Power writing)
Fantasy food machine
Graffiti text/ photos
Things I hate
Jar labels
List of scary things/ disgusting things/ things you should
know about my Dad etc
 Lifting the Lid
 Etc….etc…etc…
Acknowledgments/ Resources
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10 Things Every Writer Needs to Know – Jeff Anderson
Effective Literacy Practice – Learning Media
Everyday Editing – Jeff Anderson
Hate That Cat – Sharon Creech
I can Write Like That. Teaching Writing Through Children’s Literature – Workshop Handout.
Vicki Sephton (RT: Lit) & Rachael Choppin (Children’s Librarian – Thames)
I’ve got something to say leading young writers to authorship – Gail Loane with Sally Muir
Juicy Writing Inspiration and Techniques for Young Writers– Brigid Lowry
Lighting the Literacy Fire –Jill Eggleton
Love That Dog – Sharon Creech
Mechanically Inclined –Jeff Anderson
Mentor Texts – Teaching Writing Through Children’s Literature – Lynne R. Dorfman & Rose
Cappelli
Motivating the Reluctant Writer – Karen Anderson
“My Choice – Please” The reluctant writer’s voice – Research Assignment Karyn Brown
Notebook Know –How. Strategies for the Writer’s Notebook – Aimee Buckner
Once Upon a Slime – Andy Griffiths
Piano Rock – A 1950s Childhood – Gavin Bishop
Submerged –Magical Tales by Kiwi Kids – NZ Post ( Also refer to magicaltales.co)
The Writing Book – Sheena Cameron & Louise Dempsey

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