Monthly Archives: January 2015

Student writing with chalk on library floor

How Do You Teach a Student to Write?

It’s that time of the year when fourth grade teachers across the state of Texas are looking through student compositions and are worried, they wonder how their students are going to fare on the STARR test.  They sigh and ask themselves, “How do I teach my students to write?” I know those teachers, I was one of them for 17 years, now I get to look at the situation from the outside, and I have a different perspective about how to teach writing… just write, and write often.
I get questioned all the time about how to teach students to write, and not only just to write, but how to get them to write well.  I secretly smile when asked those questions, all educators know what to do…put the pencil to the paper and let words take over.  Just do it.  Simply stated, students and teachers alike need to be just brave enough to start writing a thought.  Thoughts, will lead to feelings, feelings will translate in to sentences, and pretty soon, you will have paragraphs.
Today in a writing class, I explained to the students that I do not like to always write and I do not always share my writing with others, I am super-critical of myself.  When I write I double, and triple check my spelling searching for errors, I question whether or not my writing is interesting enough for someone to read?  (I am doing this now as I type.)  Students share the same fears that us adults have, it’s hard to put yourself out there to be potentially judged by others.
Remember that the power of the pen is mighty.  As a teacher, I am very cautious about editing and revising student compositions.  I try not to make too many corrections, or suggestions, I want students to understand that I am their teacher, not their judge and jury.  Students are still learning their writing craft.  Children want to share, they talk all the time, as educators, we need to get them to use another form of communication…written communication.
I write these sentiments to offer a “shout out” to my writing friends and colleagues that may be worried about writing and exams, and perfecting the craft.  Writing doesn’t have to be perfect.  The intent of writing is to be expressive.  How do you develop strong writers?  Strong writers are created when they are nurtured, confident, and practiced.  You want to know how to get those students to write well…get those kids to put the pencil to the paper, they will make you proud!
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Secret society of Readers at Navasota Intermediate

O’ Fancy French and the Secret Society of Readers

This blog is for teachers, principals, and even parents that struggle with motivating their students/children to read.  I have been trying to come up with an idea that would entice our young learners to want to read more, and get together and talk about what they have read.  On our campus, we have developed a pretty perfect plan to get students to read more…nominate students to become a part of the Secret Society of Readers.

Kids meeting at the weekly secret society of readers meeting  The Secret Society of Readers is an organization that is TOP SECRET.  Students may not join the society, but must be invited.  I thought about how religious movements, civil rights movements and most societal upheavals began, and they share common threads, these movements began with small secret groups of people gathered together for a common goal.  Today I will share with you the TOP SECRET implementation plan that we will be using with our intermediate readers,  you may find yourself ready to accept an invitation to the Secret Society of Readers, if you are brave enough to undertake the challenge…

 

Reading is fun bird logo

Secret Society of Readers

Welcome to the Secret Society of Readers.  You were nominated to join our secret club for these reasons:  you love to read, you recommend books to others, you talk about the books that you read with your friends.  Once you accept this nomination to the Secret Society of Readers, you will be on a mission to secretly discover other readers, and persuade them to join the club.  Remember that this is a secret club, and not everyone will be invited to join because not everyone is passionate about reading.

Once you decide to join the Secret Society of Readers, you will be invited to attend the secret meetings that are held in the library on Friday mornings between the times of 8:30 to 9:00.  Only your parents and teachers need to know where you are going on Friday mornings, these meetings are TOP SECRET, and remember not everyone is invited to attend.

New invitees will be inducted into the Secret Society of Readers by special ceremony. (No cameras or videos allowed, we are after all a secret society.)  Upon arrival on Friday mornings you must bring the most current book you are reading, and be prepared to speak with others about your book.  You must also sign the secret, sacred SSR reading log. The meetings will be lead by the founders of the secret society, and their identities shall not be named.  Founders will travel far and wide to speak to the members.  Members should understand the importance of this society, and pass on the love of reading to future generations of people, thus ensuring a literate society for years to come.

Inductees will be given 3 invitation cards to deliver to 3 people, young or old, those cards will serve as an invitation to join the Secret Society of Readers.  Remember to choose your candidates wisely, for not all people are “True Readers.”  There are many dishonest readers roaming the world, and we only want the most loyal and devoted to be inducted to our secret society.  In order to receive an invitation people must:  love to read,  recommend books to others, talk about the books that they have read with other  friends.

The Secret Society of Readers truly hopes that you, as an inductee are prepared to accept the responsibility of belonging to such an important club.  You must attend meetings with an open mind and caring heart, and most importantly, keep this society safe from others that might corrupt it.   Your responsibility is large, are you prepared to accept the challenge?

 

Signing your name below indicates that you WILL accept this invitation to SSR.

 

Sign your full name: ___________________________________________

Date: _______________

Teacher’s signature: ___________________________________________

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