- Pre-assessment is so important because you can see what the students know and don't know. Just give them an open-ended prompt and see what they do with it. You will learn a lot about what they know!
- "Ultimately, let's think about what is important and fun in conjunction with the (Common Core) Standards."
- When you launch a new unit, you just want a lot of energy--you want kids to be really wanting to get to their seats and write! When Christine finished her mini-lesson in about 9 minutes, she did not give students elaborate, precise directions. Off you go is a favorite line from TC and when she said this, the students went off and evaluated, rated, and wrote about their collections for over 30 minutes.
- Mini-lessons have become more balanced in the Writing Workshop with shares, conferences and strategy groups, other important learning opportunities. Christine used the share at the end of the workshop to make an important teaching point.
- Inquiry lessons are gaining importance, as well, where students look at mentor texts and examine them for what makes them effective. Warning: If you have to do too much fishing for the "right" answer, then you probably are not ready for an inquiry lesson and you should return to direct instruction. Students have to know some things about the subject before they are ready to name the traits.
- Whatever unit you are in, you are working on qualities of good writing and process. In any unit, are students planning, re-reading, learning about qualities of good writing?
As part of the new Opinion Unit that will be described in detail in the new Units of Study writing books that should be released at the end of May, first-graders bring in collections and rate them before they get to writing. Christine taught the launch to our students in two classrooms and, I have to say, if the energy stays anywhere close to what it was yesterday throughout the unit, those children will be effective reviewers and evaluators by Memorial Day!