Thursday, March 28, 2013

#Slice 2013: 28 of 31- A Peek into My Writers' Toolkit

For the month of March, I am participating in the Slice of Life Challenge, hosted by Stacey and Ruth at Everyone loves comments, so feel free to link over and see what others are writing!

When I was in New York for the Teachers College Reunion a couple of weeks ago, Kate Roberts gave a presentation about writers' toolkits. (I wrote about it here.) Since then, I have been thinking about how to start my own for various grade levels and writing units.

I bought a sketch book and I tabbed it by grade levels and writing units:

Then, I had to start writing in ways that young writers might do. The goal of the book is to show students samples of not-so-great writing and strategies for making it better. After sorting through some piles of second-grade writing, I had some inspiration. I imitated some of their common mistakes on pages in the book. In order to create a sense of play, I made three options for how to "fix" my writing on some of the pages.

Students can lift the flaps in order to see a choice.

On another page, I asked the question, "What is missing in this writing piece?" Again, I used a flap to create some play within the lesson and wrote the writing sample over with what was missing.

My goal is to continue to develop pages, although the pages take a little longer than I had anticipated. This will be a work-in-progress, but I hope a valuable teaching tool for coaching teachers and for working with students. If anyone out there wants to contribute some common student mistakes, I would definitely appreciate them!

Be well,


  1. What a lovely idea. Thanks for sharing. My students will love this!

  2. I was intrigued by this idea when you wrote about it before. I like seeing these pages and can see why it might take longer than you first expected. I think I will work on something like this over the summer. I need a little bit of time to think about what common mistakes my middle school students are making. I think I would maybe separate mine by mode or genre.

  3. I love the idea of having the options for revision. This would make them weigh the options. Hmmm, sounds like something I should share with teachers. Thanks!

  4. I have a page full of those common errors, this time mostly things like use of then & than, & share with the teachers of older students. It doesn't help just to keep editing their writing; it needs direct teaching. I love your idea of organization Melanie, and that you can offer different choices. It will help teachers save time. Thanks for pursuing this!

  5. I like this idea, especially the flaps with choices and examples. I'm wondering how I can adapt it to use with my 8th graders. I wonder if they can help create pages with examples from their writing that can become a class resource or individual resource.

  6. Fabulous resource, will be well worth the effort it will take to get it all going. I have a handbook I created for mini lesson examples for just this reason, so that I have something handy to display on the Elmo when needed. It's still a work in progress...but it's getting there.

  7. This is great, Melanie. I love that you've given them choices about how to improve the writing. Models are so important!
    Thanks for sharing!