Jul 14, 2011

No More "I'm Done"

I never thought a teaching book could inspire me to work on my own writing skills but this one has. This was another resource I've read this summer and I can't stop telling people about it. Every teacher who has struggled with teaching children how to write should read this book. Jennifer Jacobson has hit the nail on the head with this one.
Why do I love this books so much? Well here are a few reasons, actually more than a few. I hope you gain some insight and make some changes to how you teach writing next year. Here goes:

1. She shares her conferencing codes with us. When she's met with students depending on what they've worked on she uses (it's so simple, why didn't I think of this :-) )
  • C = Conference
  • P = Published
  • S = Shared work
  • T = taught a mini-lesson with me
  • A = Absent
 2. She gives you great ideas and the reasons why certain items should or shouldn't be in the writing center.  My favorite was Name books so kids can pick different names rather than their 'best' friends. 

3. She gives you routines that help to support independence such as leaving them along to write or draw. If we constantly help them they will continue to be dependent on us when we work hard to make them independent, or do we. 

4. I love how Jacobson schedules her day. Students writing everyday first thing in the morning, she uses the morning to working on LA and Social then after lunch is used for Math and Science work. 

5. She avoids giving writing prompts, she says it leads to list making from students. The 'And then' syndrome. Instead, teach them to write from what they like and understand in your mini-lessons. More is explained in the book. 

6. Quiet 10 - What a wonderful idea. Once kids are dismissed from the carpet/sharing area everyone writes for 10 minutes with some quiet music playing, even the teacher. You don't work on marking or planning or reading your emails, it's time for you to show students that you also write. This is the time when students can plan by drawing a picture, creating a list of ideas, etc. Once this time is up then it's time to conference with kids who have signed up. Yes you read that correctly, she has her students sign up for conferencing time, you don't make the schedule. Of course, if someone is in need of meeting with you, you gently persuade them but students make the choice as to when and what they want to meet with you about. I can't wait to try this next year. 

7. Jacobson gives you Conferencing Procedures to follow or suggests you use. The procedures are easy to follow and keep you on track. For those of us who like to ramble on, it will help to make the conference short and sweet. 

8. Author's Chair - a colleague in my school does this and I could never figure out how to do it. Yes, I was going to ask but time just gets away from me. Only 3 students share a day. Take 10 to 15 minutes after each writing period for them to share what they wrote. You will need to model, model, model so the students learn to ask the write questions of the author. She offers up some very good ideas. 

9. Lastly, she gives you several ideas or mini-lessons on how to teach the Traits of Writing. They are easy and quite doable. She breaks the lessons up into months of the year. Obviously, you can adapt them to how you teach and when you might teach each concept. 

I have gained a tremendous amount of ideas and lessons for my Writer's Workshop time this coming September. There are many more suggestions and ideas in No More, I'm Done but I couldn't possibly write them all down. You'll have to pick it up and read it yourself. The book is easy to read and although it's a teaching resource, a bit of a page turner for me. I know, that sounds really geeky but it's true. I would love to know your thoughts, please leave a comment. 

Happy Reading!!!

2 comments:

  1. I'm a fourth grade teacher and I think the principles you outlined can be used in the upper grades, especially with reluctant writers. Thank you for sharing this.
    Also, I'm new to blogging and I love your blog. It's very creative and nicely done. Can I ask you though...how did you get a different font on your blog because I totally dislike the boring font I have!

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  2. I love, love, love this book! I started implementing ideas from it last year and I am going all out this year!!

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