Saturday, 24 October 2009

Using Real Writing Contexts to Teach

Recently, I have been challenging myself to make the learning contexts I create for my students as authentic as possible. For example, I was modeling how to revise writing when there are too many uses of the word "and" to use more transitional words. Here is the writing I wrote for my second graders:

Even though the weather today is nice, fall weather is coming soon. Since I run outside each day, the cold weather makes it harder to run. So, here’s my idea. My daughter is going to be in the swim team. The aquatic center is where they practice. Well, I have to pick her up anyway. Why don’t I just kill two birds with one stone and run at the aquatic center before I pick her up? That’s it! Then, I can stay running and take care of picking up my kid. Whew!

Just getting my writing juices flowing for this silly lesson got me excited. It seems like such an epiphany to think of providing for my students the contexts they need to learn new skills. I think I need to use more well written children's literature to find these examples. I just haven't had my radar pointed in this specific direction while reading children's lit.

So I ordered Lois Lowry's new Crow Call, Tum Tum and Nutmeg by Emily Bearns and Sharon Creech's newest. I am hoping to look more carefully at my favorite titles for examples of little skills I have to teach.

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