Back to top Glorianne Bradshaw, a teacher-consultant with the Red River Valley Writing Project (North Dakota), decided to make use of experiences from her own life when teaching her first-graders how to write. Rather than taking away creativity, Bradshaw believes this kind of structure gives students a helpful format for creativity. Back to top Stephanie Wilder found that the grades she gave her high school students were getting in the way of their progress. Other students relied on grades as the only standard by which they judged their own work.For example, on an overhead transparency she shows a sketch of herself stirring cookie batter while on vacation. "I decided to postpone my grading until the portfolios, which contained a selection of student work, were complete," Wilder says.
Says Rotkow: "Our classroom reverberated with the stories of our lives as we wrote, talked, and reflected about who we were, what we did, what we thought, and how we thought about it. Back to top When high school teacher Karen Murar and college instructor Elaine Ware, teacher-consultants with the Western Pennsylvania Writing Project, discovered students were scheduled to read the August Wilson play Fences at the same time, they set up email communication between students to allow some "teacherless talk" about the text.
I made a small frame out of a piece of paper and placed it down on one of her drawings — a sketch she had made of a visit with her grandmother." "Focus, I told her, means writing about the memorable details of the visit with your grandmother, not everything else you did on the trip." "'Oh, I get it,' Sandee smiled, 'like just one cartoon, not a whole bunch.'" Sandee's next draft was more deep than broad. Back to top Eileen Simmons, a teacher-consultant with the Oklahoma State University Writing Project, knows that the more relevant new words are to students' lives, the more likely they are to take hold.
In her high school classroom, she uses a form of the children's ABC book as a community-building project.
For each letter of the alphabet, the students find an appropriately descriptive word for themselves.
Students elaborate on the word by writing sentences and creating an illustration.