October 28, 2009

Reading Literacy / Writing Literacy / Great Resources From Cathy Puett Miller

Teachers Are Sparklighters for Literacy Everyday!  http://lightthesparkofliteracy.blogspot.com/

Kids and Parents Reading Together: http://parentsandkidsreadingtogether.blogspot.com/

These blogs are written by Cathy Puett Miller. Cathy is a librarian and reading literacy consultant with a passion for reading and writing.

Until about an hour a go I'd never met Cathy, but she found my 6-Traits Resources blog and posted a thoughtful comment about a blog post generated by a former student in this class.  The article is Modeling Writing With 6-Traits + Podcasting. http://6-traits.blogspot.com/2008/12/modeling-writing-with-6-traits-podcast.html

I've been reading her work and think you will find Cathy's resources fits the needs and interests of our pre-k through elementary teachers. She has a wealth of book references we can all use.

Here's a Blog Reading Hint:   When you find a blog of interest, especially one with a lot of posts, use the search box at the top of the page to find articles to stir your interests.

One of the things that make blogs an interesting and dynamic publishing platform is the ability to comment on a writer's posts.  I just posted to Cathy Pruett Miller's article called: Combine Writer's Workshop and the 6+1 Traits for Great Results: http://lightthesparkofliteracy.blogspot.com/2009/10/combine-writers-workshop-and-61-traits.html  

Cathy shares a word choice hot potatoes game that everyone will find useful

"Play a game to emphasize avoidance of the "I don't say anything" word,
"GOT". We use it frequently in our oral language but it is such a lazy
word. Write a simple sentence with "got" as the verb and then have your
students play "hot potato", tossing a ball or other object around.
Whenever a student catches the object, they must give an active verb to
replace "got" in the sentence. Have a brief discussion about levels of
meaning (good word choice) afterwords."

Click through and skim one of Cathy's blogs.  You'll be glad you did!. ~ Dennis

October 3, 2009

Modeling Writing with 6-Traits + Podcast Sharing

I love to get email from graduates of my online 6-traits class. I get a glimpse of their classrooms and the fun and excitement of teaching writing with the six traits. Here's news from Karen's 5th grade class!

I've done 3 traits so far this term and have never received such overall great writing from a class. The three or four that really shine have become 17 and 18. I am truly impressed with the improvement and excitement about their writing (and honestly - I'd put a lot of energy into my writing program BEFORE 6 Traits!).

I really think the key changes for me in my teaching were including a lot of modeling of my own work with the students. When they see the time and effort I've put into my samples for sharing (of both good and bad writing!) they know I'm looking at specific features of their own writing very thoroughly. The very methodical coverage of key points for each trait helps students see, in a tangible way, what they need to address when they are writing.

Inspiration diagrams of each trait (simplified) help the children check their work for each of the significant points of the trait. I'm having them color in their own diagram, and I color one as I'm marking. We have a mini conference to compare and discuss our evaluations.

I came up with a rather neat plan. Using GarageBand ( a Mac program that allows one to create a podcast very easily), I had the children each rehearse and make an aural podcast of themselves reading their stories. They put them into our classroom public folder where anyone in the class can listen to them. Not only are they working on their reading fluency and expression, they have a whole class audience. I get to listen to everyone's aural reading at my leisure, and can choose samples of exceptional work to use as examples for the rest of the class.

My next challenge is to figure out how I can get the students to email their file home. How wonderful for a parent to be able to listen to their child reading their own story!

Gotta love this technology!

Karen (Grade 5 teacher, 31 years experience)