Looking To Boost Achievement?…Try Some Non-Fiction Writing

I’m a Douglas Reeves fan, so this post might show some bias.

Tonight while catching up on some blog reading in Google Reader I ran across a new post on The American School Board Journal blog; The Leading Source – “Writhing a Critical Skill, as if you needed to tell us that.”  I won’t recap the short post but it lead me to look at the recent article published in the ASBJ by Douglas Reeves – “Writing Boosts Achievement.”

Of course I don’t have an actual subscription to the ABSJ, and I did not want to shell out my morning coffee money to purchase the article, so I turned to my friend and confidant Google.  After a quick google search for the article I was magically swept away to Douglas Reeves’s consulting website (The Leadership and Learning Center), where he keeps full PDF text for many of his articles, past and present.  SCORE!  C

heck out this treasure trove of reading by clicking the image below:

Mr. Reeves makes some great points in his article:

  • “when students improve the quaintly and quality of their writing, they improve in reading comprehension, math, science, and social studies.”
  • “Employers spend more than $3 billion each year teaching writing skills to employees, much of which could be saved if schools and students devoted more time and attention to writing.”
  • “…research that shows that, when students improve their ability to describe, explain, and persuade in writing, they also improve their reading comprehension.”

Please do go and read the article for yourself!

Some points to ponder:

  • Is writing a focus where you lead or teach?
  • How do you provide your students with an authentic platform for writing?  Are your students blogging?
  • How do we move students from the 140 character mindset to authentic non-fiction writing response and craft?
  • How do we increase expectation for writing rigor in our schools?
  • Do you model good writing for your staff and students?

I know when I was a teacher giving my students blogs gave them a platform for writing and truly inspired them to showcase their growing writing skills to the world.  Checkout these two student blogging platforms:  Edublogs and Kidblogs.


cross posted on my blog: Teach It, Tech It, Learn It, Lead It

Writing Workshop Resources…And More…

I love teaching in the Carmel District!  One thing I appreciate about the district I teach in is the wealth of knowledge our staff has, collegiality among staff, and professionalism that staff take! 

I recently attended an in-disctrict workshop on tips for managing and maintaining a writer’s workshop.  As an elementary teacher of seven years, I have been using a reading and writing workshop model for several years, coupled with the implementation the model for gradual release of responsibility and a balanced literacy approach.  My students love having an environment where they feel they can truly practice and explore what it means to be a writer and reader. 

Carmel Clay Schools Literacy Coach Lori Harmas facilitated the workshop and did a fantastic job (I always enjoy walking away from a workshop with a few things I can immediately implement in my own classroom!).  Lori Harmas, Laura Chen, Anne Arroyo, and Jill Miller are all part of the instructional strategist team in our district, and have started blogging at http://teachersamongteachers.blogspot.com, these dedicated educators also helped organize materials and content for the workshop.  Below are my notes from the workshop, some resources that were shared, and some video clips that were used by Lori in the presentation.  Enjoy!

The Power Of A PLN Inspires My Elementary Students!

My 4/5 Gifted and Talented students recently published some of their own stories in writing workshop.  They were working collabratively on these stories in their writing circle group.  My students published them via Google Docs and then blogged the link on their individual blogs. 

On Friday the 30th we had a chew and view day.  So as the bubbles blew, and the laughter grew, my students intently read each others stories and had a grand ole time commenting on each others pieces.  As my students were reading I thought to myself (I know thinking on a Friday!), why not tap into my PLN for a little bit of quick inspiration for my students. 

I sent out a Tweet:

The tweet linked up my students most recent post (via a shared feed on Google Reader).  Within minutes I had 15 views of the Bit.ly link (I love the Bit.ly API!).  So I turned on the projector and popped up the Bit.ly screen for my students to see:

Cheers and applause rang out, and the occasional: “we’re famous.”  Needless to say a quick 2 minute Tweet inspired my students that afternoon and amplified their own pride and joy in their writing!  Thanks PLN!  Just think even a click can make a difference!

If you have a minute click this link!  And if you have a few more minutes leave a comment on one of my student’s blogs.