This summer I attended the Writing Summer Institute. Lucy Calkins was my large group leader and Katie Clements was my small group leader. In both sessions, my thinking was pushed around what small group writing can look like. I shared this information with teachers this month in our literacy PD time.
Strategy lessons: allow you to bring a variety of writers on different levels with a common need, includes all students; taught in targeted ways and push the writers to be independent.
Small Group (Lucy & Katie)
- 2-3 small groups and 3-4 conferences a day
- 5-8 min long
- Brief connection (30sec-1min), where you explain why we’ve gather & Name the teaching point
- Teacher says, “I’ve called you together because I want to teach you something that is really going to help you.” Here is something for you to do (look at 3 endings and see what these authors are doing) Teacher says about 3 sentences and then gets kids to work.
- You rally them and then send them off to work. “Get started!” “Good luck!”
- Teach: (1-2 min)don’t always use demonstration-not your go-to, think about what level of scaffolding the kids need, consider teaching method, maybe have an old anchor chart ready, or mentor text to use
- Guided Practice: (7 min) coaching, students try the work as the teachers watches: the work is visible. Set Ss up with a lot to do (NOT: find one place...INSTEAD: read your whole piece looking for…) Wait to coach in until ALL are doing some work.
- Then T coaches in. Watch-Shove. “Don’t forget to do…”
- Coaching, not conferring (30-45 sec)
- Accept approximations
- Link: (1min) restate the TP, might say when we follow up
We then watched videos to see this in action.
4th grade #4 writing workshop beginning to 6:34 (this is a gold mine for using with intermediate teachers, you could watch small groups, conferring, mid-workshop teaching point and share time…I wish there was one for primary).
With our intermediate teachers, I also reminded them of having writing seminars, which I explained with the help of this post from Two Writing Teachers.
Our teachers then began the work of looking across student work to determine appropriate groupings.