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Tips from Regie Routman’s “Writing Essentials: Raising Expectations and Results while Simplifying Teaching:”
Modeling expected behavior saves valuable time in the long run. Show what the targeted behavior looks and sounds like; this is your “demonstration.” You can create a chart listing the things students will be observing.
Model the behavior with a student; this is a “shared demonstration.” Your next step might be two or more students trying out the behavior for the rest of the class (“guided practice“). You will scaffold, teaching as you see a need, and asking “What did you notice?”
Then, the class is ready for their “independent practice.”
Model These Writing Behaviors
- Writing on every other line, so changes can be made.
- Writing on only one side of the paper, so cutting and pasting and rearrangement is possible.
- Dating everything, to show writing history and progress.
- Writing legibly, so reading of drafts is easy.
- Spelling high-frequency words correctly and saying “use your best invented spelling for other words,” to raise expectations for spelling and save editing time.
- Keeping all writing records, for example writing. history, suggestions on sticky notes, writing plans.
- Modeling on the same paper your students will use (size, lines, spacing); you might project this on transparencies.
- Plan for a peaceful writing time.
- Have all pencil sharpening done before you begin, with a ready supply of extras.
- Make sure students know procedures for bathroom breaks, getting supplies, requesting help; model all this.
- Teachers should advocate for fewer school-day interruptions such as PA announcements.
Help Students Monitor Their Work
- How did we do with this?
- What went well?
- What do we still need to work on?How could we have done better?
- What will we do differently tomorrow?
Source: Regie Routman’s “Writing Essentials: Raising Expectations and Results While Simplifying Teaching,” Heinemann, 2008. ISBN 0-325-00601-6 (paper). http://www.heinemann.com [Contains a DVD of 8 writing conferences showing the author in action.)
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