Thursday, June 27, 2013

Six Traits Book Study Ch. 2







Chapter 2: Blending the Writing Process with the Traits for the Beginning Writer




     Culham begins by giving a brief history of the development of writing instruction in the primary classroom. She also hits again on the assessment of primary writing emphasizing how developmental writing is at this point and you must adjust expectations accordingly. I like that she keeps coming back to this point because I feel we too often try to hold primary students to the same expectations as intermediate or higher students when so much of their learning hinges on where they are in their developmentally.She then aligns the traits with the writing process. Some of the match ups were understandable, but others grouped several traits together. Further attention is then given to each stage of the writing process and the traits that are associated with each.



            I loved that she took the time to discuss each step in the writing process. I completely agree with the anything goes attitude & discouraging editing during drafting. So often new writers think their writing has to perfect right away not realizing that editing is the last step. Worrying about editing in drafting just stops the writing process. You don’t have all your ideas down, so how can you edit? 



The suggestion of sharing your own writing and having the students help you through the writing process focusing on one step at a time is crucial. It really helps students see what they need to do in their own writing. She includes Focus Lessons for Ideas (p.50) and Revision (p.57). She includes questions to ask as the students work on revising, editing, and publishing. I think these would be great on a ring as “cheat cards” to include in a writing center for students that are reading independently or for me when I conference with students. 

     Still, the best tips in the chapter were the ones when she told you what to expect at each level for revising and editing. I usually conference during the revising stage and sometimes I feel as if I’m spoon feeding my below level writers. It is so freeing to know that I don’t have to push revision with the students that score a 2 or below on the Primary Traits Scoring Guide. That I can just help them edit and build ideas. It is refreshing to remember that all students in primary are a work in progress, so even when it comes to editing we don’t have to hit them with everything we got. Instead we teach them to do it themselves by having them work with the skill we are teaching in class right then. That makes so much sense. I did see my students relying too much on my editing and I was frustrated. I’m going to turn it over to them using that simple tip. What tips do you have for helping students become independent editors in primary?

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