Saturday, February 19, 2011

Writer's Workshop: Procedure Writing

The writer's workshop is a key component to Marie's literacy program.  Together with her students, she strives to scaffold and dissect the features and organization of a form of writing so that the children in her class are able to understand the intricacies.

This lesson is not at the beginning of her work with procedure writing.  She has taken her students through different mini-lessons to address the form and co-constructed the criteria for a piece of procedural writing together.
Marie uses a 3-part lesson in writing to immerse students in the learning.  The focus of the first part of her lesson looked at how verbs are used within a procedure piece of writing.  With a sample piece of text, students worked in pairs to locate the verbs and pay attention to how they are used.
During the second part of her lesson, Marie walked her students through a common topic,  focused on how to safely leave the school when there is a fire drill, a real life situation that applies to their lives.  Marie went through each stage with her students by taking them through each step of a safe fire drill evacuation.  Leading them out of the classroom and down the stairs, the physical nature of the lesson allowed students to think about and internalize the importance of including all relevant and important details and steps.  From here, students sat down to write their procedure using an outline to help organize their thoughts while Marie conferred with students to help them through.  The outline included the organizational pieces of a procedure writing piece as well as key words to know specific to the topic of a safe fire drill evacuation.  For those that finished early, Marie had an extension activity focused on finding the missing ingredients of a recipe ingredient list.

The third part of her lesson included having the children meet back on the carpet to share their writing.
There are many ways that Marie scaffolds the learning with and for her students.  Clear expectations and guidelines are posted and writing is showcased and celebrated.  Students are referred to as authors and their work is posted on their class' "author's corner."  Writing is shared with each other using an author's chair approach and it is also shared with other students and classes by posting written work outside of the classroom.  This instills a sense of pride in their work as students, and as writers.
A management piece that Marie has in her classroom is a board dedicated to the writing process.  At a glance, she is able to see what her students need and who she needs to meet with.  Checklists for revising and editing, as well as author paper, is available for her students to use.  This visual piece helps her keep track of where her students are and what they are doing in their writing.  

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