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Home : 2004 : Feb : 15

    By Amanda K.

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    I teach writing for 45 minutes a day, 3-4 days per week. I teach a modeled writing lesson for about 10 minutes, and the kids have the rest of the time to write. I started the year with making them each write 1 sentence, then we moved to 2 sentences, and so one. We are now working on five sentence stories complete with setting, problem, and resolution. You'll find that the more experience kids have with writing, the better they will do with spelling.

    What I do now is park myself at my kidney table at the front of the room, and when kids are finished with their writing, they have to come up to me. I get through all 20 of my kids during this time. We have a Word Wall with the 100 most used words, which are also our spelling words from the year. I tell the kids if they can't spell something, then they first need to look at the Word Wall. This covers most of the words in their stories. If they still can't spell it, then they need to circle it, and I'll tell them how to spell it when they are finished. At the beginning of the year, I would only correct the circled words. And if a word was on the word wall, I just circle it for them and tell them they need to go back and do it again. This cuts down on the time you need to correct their spelling.

    Now that we are doing Writer's Workshop, I correct everything for them before they get to the publication stage. But, it takes more than one day to take a story from draft to publication. Students store their work in their Writing Folders, and I probably only see about half of my kids each day, because the other half are busy at other stages of the writing process, such as copying a rough draft onto a final draft, or typing their stories on the computers. That makes it a lot easier to do the one-on-one thing with the kids.

    And you'll get better at reading the misspelled words the more you do it!

    I'd be happy to help you get a good writing program off the ground, but I'd have to know how your kids are doing right now. I love teaching writing, and my kids love writing because of it. By the end of the year, many of my kids will be writing stories that are a page long typed (with 16-18 font size). But I know that teaching writing is intimidating if you've never done it before, or you've never had training in it. E-mail me if you want any more help.

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