Friday, November 8, 2013

From the Dump to the Destination-Making our Way to Step Up with StopLIghts

Do you find that when you sit down to confer, or collect and analyze your student's writing that it looks a little like this?
The Dump

You know it, and I know it, the child simply took all their schema for the topic of "golf" and threw it down on paper. We've seen plenty of writing like this, but we know there is hope, a path, a way.  So let's see what we know is achievable. Let's check out the kind of writing we can support our students in achieving and transferring in EVERYDAY life: on paper, in oral communication, in digital format, in any content area!

You may wonder, what does this FOCUSED, ORGANIZED, and DEVELOPED writing look like in print? What does it look like when a child really writes this way?

The Organized Paragraph

Sure, I love it, do they get there? Could they start with a web? Could they use a different graphic organizer? Might they just write that way from their heads? Yes, Yes, and Yes! (Mrs. Ruhl has even developed a way for students to take notes from research in a way that easily transfers to a well-organized (focused and developed) paragraph.)
The Outline
The Other Outline

The Web
The Draft

Does it work with all modes? Well, of course! All writers must develop and organize their writing in all modes. Whether they are linking facts and examples, or adding dialogue, snapshots, or thoughtshots, all writers begin, support, further support, close and transition their readers along the way. (Just ask Mrs. Puckett who has students "StopLighting" in narratives!)

See! It can be done!

Is it a set number of sentences for each grade level, mode, or from? No, no, and no. It's not a cookie cutter concept. It's closer in nature to an accordion-- expanding and contracting as the writer decides when a reader's needs are met.

Does this StopLight (Step-Up to Writing) paragraphing make you wonder? Does this idea cause you to be curious? Make you want to learn more and try it out with your kids? It has certainly done this for many of our BES teachers and I'm sure they'd be happy to share some of their knowledge, ideas, and experiences with you if you'd like to know more. (And they are not just asking their students to use this organizational trait in writer's workshop only. Just ask Mr. Parrot about this and see what his kids are doing with StopLighting in math, reading responses, and oral communication!)

Of course, you can always grab me and I'll be more than happy to be a thinking partner!
Here's to supporting our kids as deep thinkers and developed and ORGANIZED WRITERS!

Special thanks to lMarisol Hood, ELD 1,2 Teacher, Del Mar High School lAnissa Sharief, ELD Teacher, Del Mar High School
lSteve Sinclair, SCCOE, ELA Coordinator for sharing your PPT.
Looking for further resources?
Of course, you can also click the Soplight to the right or Google: Step Up to Writing

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