Saturday, September 20, 2008

Revisiting Our Writing

We have covered a lot over the past couple of weeks. As I watch my young writers and conference with them, I realize that quite a few are starting a new piece every day. As I look over their sheets, I see that they are often putting down a couple of sentences and then moving to something else. I remember conferences with these students where they told me out loud more than what has made it onto their papers.

So yesterday I did a mini-lesson to remind them that there are often rich possibilities in adding to a previous piece. In the mini-lesson I flipped back through the chart tablet that I have been using for mini-lessons, commenting fondly on different stories I had written. Then I paused at one I had done about a trip I took to the zoo. I reread it and then commented, "You know, I did a lot more than see the polar bears that day." Then I closed my eyes and recalled how much I loved the aviary. I described the birds and their singing and all the plants. "It made me feel like I was in a tropical forest." Then I opened my eyes and proclaimed that I wanted to add that to my story. With excitement I did so. Then I recalled specific pieces children had been working on and remembered what those writers had told me out loud.

As I sent them to their writing spots, I asked each to look over all that they have been working on and to see if one piece was one that could be extended. It was neat to watch them going carefully over their work. I think several were quite surprised by how much they have written. Most found something to add to among their papers.

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