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Extending Interactive Writing Into Grades 2–5

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The teacher can address conventions as a student is writing, but most of this teaching is done before the actual writing as a quick reminder for these fluent writers. Another modification to Share the Pen is the incorporation of typing or keyboarding. As literacy and technology continue to merge and evolve, the opportunity to write using a keyboard or touch-screen technology can support faster scribing, efficient revisioning, and unique presentation options.

While technology is not required for upper-grade implementation, it can be effective and engaging. During a series of interactive writing lessons, the class wrote a narrative text to explore the genre of historical fiction.

The teacher typed and also chose students to type and edit just as one would choose students to share a pen or marker. A third difference in implementing this instructional method with older students is the lesson frequency and duration. For students of any age, interactive writing lessons need to be fast-paced and demand a high level of engagement.

As expected, lesson timing needs to be adjusted to fit the needs of maturing writers. Young students have much to learn about how print works, so frequent lessons are essential. Daily lessons are not necessary for older children.

At the beginning of the year, when teachers launch their literacy block, they might start by using interactive writing three times per week.

Beginning in third grade, teachers might opt for this supportive level of guided practice for several consecutive days and then shift to other types of writing practices. To simplify this difference, one can think about how a teacher initially prepares what to teach during interactive writing: Furthermore, while the lessons might occur less frequently over the course of a year in upper elementary classrooms, each lesson may be longer in duration than in a classroom of emergent writers.

As students grow and develop, their attention spans are greater, and they are able to absorb more in one lesson. They are also able to generate more text in one lesson because they are more fluent writers. The lessons become progressively more in-depth as the writers advance, and it therefore follows that interactive writing lessons would require more time.

A fourth and final critical shift for using interactive writing in the upper elementary grades is the expansion and extension of genre instruction. For students at any grade, the writing completed during an interactive writing lesson must hold an authentic purpose. It is created around a topic that is relevant and engaging for the entire class.

Over the course of the school year, students in all grades can explore a variety of genres using interactive writing. Students always consider their ideas, organization, word choice, voice, and sentence structure as they work through the Compose phase of the lesson.

They also consider the best way to convey their message to the intended audience. Genre therefore plays an important role at all levels. In grades 2—5, however, the focus on genre expands and becomes a central goal of the lesson. Interactive writing works particularly well in classrooms where students work on writing through a genre-based unit. For example, it can be used early on in the unit as a method for teaching students about the genre itself.

In the upper elementary grades, finished interactive writing pieces can serve as exemplars for students. Then, in a contrasting color red , she labeled the text as her class helped identify the important features of this genre.

The exemplar noted that how-to texts should begin with a list of materials and use action words for each step. The teacher used interactive writing with this feature-identification approach to begin each genre study in her class. Over the course of the year, the walls in her classroom were filled with writing exemplars.

Because students had co-constructed these pieces, they had deep understanding of the text. Therefore, these exemplars became powerful student resources that influenced and supported their independent writing. The Common Core State Standards define three broad writing genres. In second grade, students are expected to state an opinion with reasons. In third grade, they are expected to organize these reasons. Interactive writing is an ideal method for addressing this expansive view of opinion writing because it can provide explicit instruction and guidance for students at each of these developmental shifts, and each new nuance of the genre can be presented with teacher support.

In addition to the four distinct shifts, there are four universal principles that hold for interactive writing across all grades: Interactive writing exemplifies this principle as each lesson component i.

For example, in the composing phase of a lesson, the teacher and students work together to negotiate the message they will write. Thus, teachers should avoid eliminating any of the steps in interactive writing, as that would eliminate valuable and unique learning opportunities. A well-planned interactive writing lesson considers where student writers are and what writing skill or strategy is most needed to propel them further.

The lesson planning occurs before the interactive writing session and is informed by student data both formal and informal writing samples and by the teacher's unit- or grade-level plans.

During the interactive lesson, however, there are always unplanned instructional opportunities. The most effective teachers seize these opportunities and use them to lift the instruction to a new or higher level. For example, a teacher has planned the instruction around a particular genre and has thought ahead about key principles to highlight. The conversations during Prewriting and Composing are carefully facilitated so that the key writing principles are included.

Still, there will be spontaneous and organic aspects of this experience that will be unique and genuine to the interaction. One never knows in advance the exact wording students will choose for their text and, therefore, cannot always anticipate the conventions and specific aspects of craft that will be relevant to teach. For example, a fourth-grade teacher planned a lesson for her students on how to write an explanatory text.

Ahead of the lesson, she identified four important features of how-to texts that she wanted to teach students: She also had preplanned the specific topic that the class would write about i. The students had been working on this topic in their music class, so she knew everyone would be able to participate in the lesson.

Additionally, she considered the word study concepts her students were learning, the conventions that were challenging for them, and how reading their writing aloud would help the editing process. She was prepared to address these concepts as needed. Finally, she planned to begin the lesson by asking the students to think about their audience, as this would impact the voice they used in their writing.

Even with this thorough lesson planning, she could not anticipate the exact words the students would choose in their composition. Finding the balance between thoughtful planning and organic teaching can be challenging. However, teachers can master this skill as they become more experienced with the method. As a result, they will maximize the potential learning opportunities for their students. The overarching goal of interactive writing is to teach students strategies about writing that they can use themselves.

It is the skillful balancing of planning ahead and teaching in the moment that allows teachers to achieve this goal. Although interactive writing offers a clear structure for a lesson, following this structure alone does not guarantee student learning. Moreover, thoughtful interactive writing instruction does not mean having the students write every letter of every word or attending to every learning opportunity that arises. The real power comes from instructional decision-making relating to the unique strengths and needs of students at a particular moment in time.

The roots of these instructional decisions, which fuel an efficient and effective lesson, come from teacher analysis of formal and informal assessments of students' literacy skills.

The teacher uses this data to select the most appropriate writing skills and strategies for students. Thus, the lessons are matched to the students' needs rather than a concept that may have already been mastered or one that is too hard. Simultaneously, teachers thoughtfully adjust their interactive writing instruction over the course of the year and across the grades as students develop as readers and writers.

They create a developmentally appropriate gradient of text for students in their class by starting more simply in the fall, making adjustments throughout the year based on data and, ultimately, becoming more sophisticated by the spring. Moreover, a writing continuum such as the continua written by Pinnell and Fountas and Spandel in addition to the Common Core standards can guide long-range instructional planning.

The ultimate goal of interactive writing is to improve students' independent writing. Some students will make these connections independently, while others need explicit direction.

Hours of coaching and observing teachers in grades 2—5 effectively implement interactive writing has yielded both specific and general guidelines for helping others get started. The more general suggestions articulated are particularly salient for the interactive writing approach because it is a complex method of instruction that requires teachers to be thoughtful about engaging an entire class of students at varying levels.

However, there are some specific strategies for interactive writing that can assist teachers in executing many of the principles of quality literacy teaching by providing a framework for instruction that encourages them to consider teaching higher-level skills and strategies.

Take time in the first lessons to break down procedures to the smallest detail, such as how students need to move up to the easel quickly when it is their turn and stand off to the side when using a pointer to lead the class in rereading.

At this time, it is also important to consider how to organize materials efficiently e. For example, using hook and loop tape to attach a marker to the easel ensures that a marker will always be available. Familiarity with routine procedures will free the teacher and students from other distractions and encourage them to focus on the important activities of teaching and learning.

Be thoughtful about what time of day to do interactive writing. Interactive writing demands a high level of focus from students and, therefore, it is essential that the students come to each lesson able to be attentive.

First thing in the morning, after recess or lunch, or after an activity that involves movement are a few good choices. Interactive writing is a community experience with teachers and students working together as a group to produce a written text.

Proximity to each other and the place of writing matters. The physical environment is important for bringing everyone together in supporting the shared nature of the task.

Teachers have found that some types of materials e. For example, chart paper without lines is problematic because students have difficulty focusing on handwriting without clear lines to guide them.

In addition, multicolored messages are hard to read, and marker choice can become a distraction. This uniformity helps in the readability of the message. In addition to the ruled paper, a sharp black marker is the clearest writing tool because the color is bold and uniform.

For a more colorful presentation, encourage students to illustrate the writing after it is complete using a variety of techniques, such as collage, painting, or drawing. As stated earlier, the most effective interactive writing lessons are those that are well planned. This means reading and analyzing students' writing to determine what they are doing well and where they need support. At the same time, teachers must keep in mind the overarching writing expectations required by the Common Core standards, district or school curriculum, and any specific writing genre unit they may be implementing.

Interactive writing is a teaching approach that can simultaneously advance both the individualized needs of writers and any grade-level goals. With thoughtful advance planning, teaching decisions will be strategic and most effective. Interactive writing lessons must be fast-paced and relatively brief. It is critical to maintain student engagement, which means not only engaging the student who is at the easel or typing but also the students who are sitting and watching.

Some activities for the seated students include writing in the air or spelling words aloud. Additionally, while one student writes, the class might practice a specific convention or craft on individual dry-erase boards. This could be spelling a challenging word, using a new form of punctuation, or brainstorming synonyms for overused words e. The sentence-writing should also go quickly at this level and students are constantly rereading the message as a group to check on sentence fluency, to edit their work, and to hold onto the meaning as they add to text they are writing.

The Common Core State Standards provide clear guidance on the types of writing to teach. Further, they require students to engage in the writing process and to write routinely. The standards have also increased expectations by requiring students to write concisely, deeply and, therefore, with more authority.

It is now up to thoughtful practitioners to revisit and refine the best teaching practices to answer the question of how to teach writing in the age of the Common Core. More voices are urging the utilization of interactive writing, a powerful and instructionally rich teaching practice linked to stronger independent writers i.

The thoughtful and intentional shifts articulated above extend the successful implementation of interactive writing far beyond first grade. The explicitness and efficiency of interactive writing make it a particularly effective teaching practice that can support both emergent and fluent writers. We are appreciative of Roxanne DeStefano, Brendan Newman, and Christy Klump for sharing photographs of interactive writing from their classrooms.

Extending Interactive Writing Into Grades 2—5. The Reading Teacher, 68 1 , 33—44 doi: Author Interviews Meet your favorite authors and illustrators in our video interviews. Book Finder Create your own booklists from our library of 5, books! Themed Booklists Dozens of carefully selected booklists, for kids years old. Nonfiction for Kids Tips on finding great books, reading nonfiction and more. Skip to main content. You are here Home.

Kate Roth , Joan Dabrowski. Pause and Ponder What do teachers in grades 2—5 notice about their students' writing? What are students' strengths? Where do they need more guidance and support? How do teachers in grades 2—5 currently approach writing instruction in their classrooms?

What instructional methods do they use? How can interactive writing complement or enhance the literacy block in grades 2—5? How might interactive writing effectively and efficiently support the wide range of writers in grades 2—5?

Acknowledgment We are appreciative of Roxanne DeStefano, Brendan Newman, and Christy Klump for sharing photographs of interactive writing from their classrooms. References References Click the "References" link above to hide these references. Interactive writing instruction in a first-grade Title I literacy program. Interactive writing in a primary grade classroom.

A typical length of a book report is about pages. Before writing a book report, the teacher should approved a book, which is going to be described. Both rough as well as final copies of book reports should be written in class. It would be useful to utilize different colored tabs to mark information on the main character, setting, conflict, etc. This will help your kid to understand, enjoy and summarize the story. Using point-form notes one can work out a decent draft.

However, one should realize that point-form notes have nothing common with a rough draft with sentences written on index cards. A book report, no matter whether it's types or handwritten, should be double spaced. Your kid should utilize an erasable pen or pencil for his or her rough as well as final drafts. When typing a report on a personal computer, one should choose black Times New Roman or Arial.

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