Getting up in front of twenty five third graders to teach them writing does not phase me. However, getting up in front of twenty of my colleagues and teaching them how to teach writing – panic attack! As the writing core facilitator for my school I am responsible for holding a professional development session about every six weeks for the staff. This is our first year implementing Lucy Calkins Units of Study and Writing Workshop. Many teachers are still stuck on the way they were taught and very few have cracked the books, so with little background about writing workshop this year has been a challenge for everyone.
After hearing “What about DOL?” a few times too many, I couldn’t take it anymore. I decided to focus yesterday’s meeting on including editing and CCSS Language Standards into our writing units.
Our school moving toward a fully trained staff in Responsive Classroom, so I had a Morning Message for them up when they walked in.
We greeted each other with an E.T. greeting and then I read the message to them. (An E.T. greeting means touching pointer fingers while saying “Good Morning, __________.”)
Then, I shared some details that I got at a workshop presented by Lucy Calkins herself.
Don’t focus on editing for capital letters, spelling, periods, etc. until students have drafted and revised for content.
I gave them pages 54-55 from The Book Whisperer about DOL and independent reading. After reading it, they talked in small groups about it.
I explained to them how a session would look in our writing workshop and then gave them time to plan their own lesson based on grade level standards.
As stressful as it is to present, especially on a topic that people have negative feelings toward, I got a lot of great responses. I even got an email from my principal about it. (Even teachers need positive reinforcement!) She was home with her sick daughter, but was able to attend the meeting through FaceTime. Oh, the marvels of modern technology!