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    By cl

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    I don't know what grade you teach. I teach second, so our report card makes it easy to grade writing on specific areas. You could use a rubric to help you give grades. When students know exactly what to do, they tend to do a better job. Also, a rubric can focus your grading and help make it easier to do.

    Give mini-lessons on the content areas that you need to cover and that are covered in your book, then tell your kids that you will be looking at their writing to see if they are using what you just talked about. Teach your students about the writing process - prewrite, rough draft, editing, final copy.

    There are many ways to structure writers workshop. To help the children keep track of what step of the writing process they are in you can use two folders stapled together, giving you four pockets. Label the pockets:
    1. Prewrite
    2. Rough draft
    3. Edit
    4. Final Copy
    The children move their papers into the different pockets so that they remember what step they are on. Or, you can have them move magnets on a board or straws in cups to help them keep track. I forget what book it is from, but there is a sheet for a "status check" that you can do before they write. You write down what step they report being on - if a student is on prewrite four days in a row, that is a clue to you to monitor his/her progress carefully to make sure he/she is working or if they need some assistance.

    Having an editing conference with the teacher is an important step before making a final copy. Some teachers have students edit each others papers.

    Lastly, be sure to give your students an opportunity to share. Having an author's share at the end of the day or the end of your writing time helps keep them excited. I have a special chair for them to sit in while reading their work.

    This is just a brief overview - there is so much info out there and so many different techniques - it can be overwhelming!

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