Saturday, December 26, 2015

Guide to the Reading Workshop: Primary - Chapter 4 Knowledge of Reading Development

A Guide to the Reading Workshop: Primary Grades by Lucy Calkins

BIG ideas in Chapter 4
A Knowledge of Reading Development Can Power Your Teaching

1. Emergent storybook reading
  • research of Elizabeth Sulzby gives 4 major levels to support
  • develop concepts of print
  • do the work of phonemic awareness before conventional reading 
2. Work of A/B books
  • work at this level is about meaning
  • should recognize 12-20 high frequency words, one-to-one matching
  • do not hold students at this level, 2-4 weeks is appropriate
3. Work of C/D books
  • introduction of visual clue (phonics)
  • integration of M(meaning) S(syntax) V(visual)
  • transition to book language, introduction of said and prepositional phrases
  • addition of consonant blend and digraphs
  • continuous teaching of high frequency words
  • stop and think about the story
4. Work of E/F books
  • stories with clear beginning, middle, end
  • commas and questions introduced
  • compound words and inflectional endings are introduced
  • not ready to skip a word and read on and need better problem solving (M+V-looks at first group of letters and then next group) to stamp out "first letter guessers"
5. Work of G/H/I books
  • monitoring for self-regulation
  • more episodes (longer books, chapter books) requiring synthesis to retell
  • full range of phonics
  • multi-syllabic words (chunk and blend)
  • addition of Tier II words
6. Work of J/K/L/M books
  • longer, chapter books with illustrations disappearing
  • greater variety of genres
  • more character work
  • figurative language
Channeling Lucy!
Try this activity to see how well you know the levels:

How well do you know the text levels?
Place the level or levels  (A-M) by each skill or strategy that you would want to see the student using consistently at that level. 
1. Retells and summarizes, making inferences, and commenting on story events
2. Matches spoken words to printed words.
3. Uses parts from known words to read unknown words.
4. Envision the story to compensate for low picture support.
5. Solve difficult words with relative ease.
6. Moves from left to right when reading.
7. Word solve with control and independence at the point of error.
8. Makes a return sweep.
9. Begins to monitor, cross-checking and self-correcting at the point of error.
10. Begins to integrate sources of information: making sure it makes sense, sounds right, and looks right (Meaning, Syntax, Visual).
11. Independently integrates all sources of information during reading.
12. Thinks about more abstract themes and universal themes.

Next assignment:  1-7-15
Chapter 6 "Tracking Kids' Progress and Using Assessment to Support Instruction"

Guide to the Reading Workshop: Primary - Chapter 3 What does research say that all readers need?

A Guide to the Reading Workshop: Primary Grades by Lucy Calkins
Trying to understand what Lucy would want us to understand today!

BIG ideas in Chapter 3
 What does research say that all readers need?

"It has become clear that investing in effective teaching - whether in hiring decisions 
or professional development planning - is the most 'research-based' strategy available."
-Richard Allington

Task:  Teachers were asked to read the research on the left hand column and then to work in small groups to discuss how they think we apply the research at CCE, and if they thought we didn't or needed work in that area, to list it under Barriers/ Concerns.
What the research says
How we apply the research at CCE
Barriers/ Concerns
Above all, good teachers matter.  It is important to develop teacher’s ability to teach by providing professional   development and a culture of collaborative practice.
·      Weekly Teacher Meetings (PLCs)
·      WOW days
·      common planning
·      Curriculum Councils
·      Early Dismissal learning
·      Book of the Month
·      Book Studies (school purchases books!)
·      demo lessons
·      finding additional time to meet during busy days for collaboration
·      getting every teacher involved
Students need enormous amounts of time in actual reading.
·      using Lucy Calkins’ Reading Units
·      sending books home nightly
·      Readers-to-Leaders incentives
·      working on stamina
·      reading in the hallways before school
·      reading in the content area
·      shared reading
·      encouraging young readers to partner read, choral read, repeat read, echo read,
·      too many competing activities (making a class pumpkin, class pictures, assemblies…)
Students need access to books that allow them to do a high volume of high-success reading.
·      large fiction and non-fiction classroom  libraries
·      students self-select books
·      sending home books-in-a-bag nightly
·      teachers buying their own books
·      Scholastic book orders
·      more Science books on multi-levels for the required topics
·      need more Media time
Students need to read increasingly complex texts appropriate for their grade level.
·      providing good range of books in every classroom
·      nonfiction libraries growing
·      many genre and nonfiction books leveled
·      using DRA/Teachers College and running records to continually move students up in level
·      reject one size fits all mandates
·      still need more books
Students need direct, explicit instruction in the strategies of proficient reading.
·      using Units of Study with focused mini-lessons
·      data driven instruction
·      demo lessons
·      not teaching strategies in isolation
·   gaps in the curriculum (Lucy just announced new units being developed and we need to make better use of If…then units
Students need opportunities to talk in response to texts.
·      encouraging book clubs
·      using “turn and talk”
·      using partner reading and partner talk
·      teaching accountable talk
·      offering inquiry groups and book clubs
·      enough books
Students need support reading nonfiction books and building a knowledge base and academic vocabulary through information reading.
·      Nonfiction classroom libraries are growing
·      all old Science series books were leveled
·      teaching text features
·      need more Science books on required topics and high interest/low readability
Students need assessment-based instruction, including feedback that is tailored specifically to them.  Children who struggle with reading especially need instruction tailored to their specific strengths and needs, as well as extra time and extra help.
·      using DRA/Teachers College and running records to listen to students read as formative assessment
·      keeping anecdotal notes to be shared between co-teachers so they know what the child has been working on
·      working with small groups and individuals
·      providing Tier II interventions in the classroom
·      providing Tier II interventions
·      need better technology (wi-fi)
·      too much testing
·      not enough time in the Pacing Guide to teach students new question stem strategies
·      not enough time in the Pacing Guide to try other non-Calkins strategies such as those by Beers, Laminack
Readers need teachers to read aloud to them.
·      most teachers have large numbers of read alouds of their own
·      Star Books in kindergarten offer great read aloud opportunities
·      read alouds are available through Text Talk (vocabulary)
·      both new and older Books of the Month offer excellent read alouds and are available in every room
·      Author studies
·      Lucy’s touchstone texts offer great read aloud opportunities

Next assignment:  12-10-15
Chapter 4 "A Knowledge of Reading Development Can Power Your Teaching"

Guide to the Reading Workshop: Primary - Chapter 2 What does the series contain?

A Guide to the Reading Workshop: Primary Grades by Lucy Calkins
Book Study Group of Chets Creek Leaders

BIG ideas in Chapter 2
 What does the series contain?
“This series aims to be... professional development in a box”

Each grade level box includes:
  • Four major units which include units in fiction and non-fiction with a foundation unit and 
  • Six additional possible  units in the If...Then..Curriculum which provide for choice and differentiation
  •  Each session (lesson) includes: 
    • mini-lesson
    • suggestions for conferences and small groups for that day
    • mid-workshop teaching
    • share
  • Also included are 
    • a stretch of reading work with state-of the art readalouds
    • supports for shared reading
    • short list of recommended titles for independent, partner and club reading
    • Uses "gradual release of responsibility" and "zone of proximal development"
    Research by Bembry and others:  If a child has access to a strong teacher for three consecutive years, that child's scores on standardized test will be as much as 40% higher than the scores of students who have not had strong teachers.  This show the effect of a good school (and that is Chets Creek's strength!)
    • Schools need to become communities of practice with a common language.
    • "The reading curriculum will always be a living, changing, growing compilation of best practices."
    Next assignment:  12-3-15 Chapter 3 "What Does Research Say All Readers Need?"

    Guide to the Reading Workshop: Primary - Chapter 1 First Things First

    For those that want to follow along with our current book study, but are not able to attend...

    A Guide to the Reading Workshop: Primary Grades by Lucy Calkins

    BIG ideas in Chapter 1
     First Things First
    “You cannot create what you cannot imagine.”
    • Too many children are not learning to love to read. The longer kids stay in school, the less they like to read!

    • What are the conditions that make reading bad for you?  What makes reading good?  It's the same for kids!
    • Large, for-profit companies with core reading programs are not the answer.  We have 50 years of research saying packaged programs do NOT work.
    • The most important thing we can do to lift student achievement is to support the professional development and retention of good teachers.
    • Students need to spend most of their time reading in books that are just right.  We will not close the reading gap by having students read grade level text that is beyond their reach.
    • We must model the professional learning as adults that we want in our classrooms.
    Next assignment for 11-19-15: Chapter 2

    Thursday, June 11, 2015

    Primary - Lucy Calkins Professional Development in Orlando

    It has been a few months since we have been to the Everyday Writers -- Lucy Calkins Conference/Orlando, FL workshop, but long story short, it is finally getting posted. We felt like groupies when Lucy entered the room and to our delight, she was more than gracious and posed for a picture with us. The following is the compiled notes from the conference:

    Units of Study: Implementing Rigorous, Coherent Writing Curriculum, K-2
    Everyday Writers
    Lucy Calkins Conference/Orlando, FL 

         On Friday, February 28th, 2015, a group of teachers from Chets Creek Elementary School attended the above referenced writing conference hosted by Lucy Calkins and Shanna Schwartz from Teachers College/Columbia University.  Included in the presentation was:

    * The Architecture of Effective Writing Minilessons

    * Tools for Supporting and Effective Writing Workshop

    * Units Overviews and Contents from Units of Study

    Teachers were grouped by primary (Shanna Schwartz) and intermediate (Lucy Calkins).  The following are the notes taken by the primary teachers who attended the conference. 

    Work of Writing Workshop
    -it used to be that writing was part of a subject – Science/Social Studies, etc. or it was a “Fun Day” of writing – every once in a while.
    -Big red marks on papers – but no content was talked about.
    -Nobody taught us “how” to write.
    What makes writing great?
    In WW classroom we are about grammar/spelling and content.
    Feedback is about the writing.

    The Writing Workshop Bill of Rights
    A. 1) Time to Write - Provide children the time to write. Meet children where they are.  In Kindergarten they can grow from 12 minutes one day to 13 the next.  All writing starts from assessment. (In NY, the school year goes from year to year – December 31st for kindergarten for 5 year olds – so they have lots of children that are 4 ½ starting K).
        2) All writing starts with assessment
        3) All of my teaching will go to build their stamina. (Use timer to see how long they write until 1/3 are off task.  This is a good time to stop the workshop. Write the time on the board and say something like “Wow” we have been writing for 17 minutes and “We will try to beat that time tomorrow.” 
    Stop when students are still “on task”. They will remember it as an “on task” time – and an “off task” activity.
    Start Day 1 – in K – Draw and Write – All can do it.
    B.  1) Units based on authentic genres
          2) This is authentic writing – not made up writing – used in the real world
          3) Acrostic poems – not used that much (few authors) – come April – time for the acrostic poems.
          4) Old Journal Entries – “Today is Tuesday.”  “We will go to Art today.” – Not writing for an audience. This is writing not meant to be published.
    C.  Knowledge of Conventions
          1) Spelling, punctuation, and grammar – we see where they are and take them to where they need to go. Approximations are good until they are ready for conventional.  When your son learned to talk did he say “Can you get me some water?”  or “WaWa?”
          2) Take approximations or they will write nothing if perfection is expected.  (Story – A child in class wrote the same story every day because during a conference I said it was good. Student was too afraid to writing something wrong. Then she told her “If you take risks with your writing, I will confer with you every day” and that worked.  “Best work is the work that stretches us.”
    D.  Skills and Strategies Writing
        1)  As we teach genre, craft, and skills, we work hard not only to name the skill but to give them  multiple strategies:
               What                                                          How
            “Strong Lead”                                         - Now give ‘How’ strategy – 
           - weather
           - moment of action
           - character taking
            “Spaces” - Place a finger after each word
            - Lucy’s – “Listen for the sounds of a word, when you don’t hear any more sounds – then put a           space for the silent space.”
             -  Making lines to become their words (Planning their work).
         2) Teaching Strategies in addition to skills.
    E.  Understanding the Writing Process
          1)  Writers don’t make writing just to make writing.
          2)  Collaboration (Sharing with other people).
          3) Partnership – to make writing better
          4) Needs to be comfortable – sharing writing with others
          5) Supporting a growth mindset.

    What is the Writing Process?
    Idea (booklet) - Story
    Plan (picture)
    Draft (words) -
    Edit (making it better) (word wall)
    Start another story.

    What about the writing?
    Less sophisticated the writer – the more the writing.
    WW is about students going through writing independently.
    - Confer – to help with a little bit more
    - Not to do something 10 steps harder (Zone of Proximal Development)
    Example – 5 papers for degree   -  1 paper (30 pages for Masters) – The point is to get lots of writing right away – then as student gets better, the writing will become more sophisticated.
    Cheerleader – beginning of Unit  “My job is to get them fluid at the beginning – then they will get better. 
    What she says while children are progressing “Oh – do the best you can and keep going.”  
    Conferences help to make the piece better – but for students who have a hard time in writing – it is to make the next piece better.  It is harder to make the current piece better.  It is better to just start a new piece of writing. 
    For instance – “Here I see…”  (Just 3 stick people).   
    Maybe your next piece you can have them talk and tell where they are (at the park).
    Layer the next piece with more sophistication.
    Process:  Get an idea this is a focused story. (no bed to bed stories – take one part and focus one point.)
    1) We do not want 17 page stories.  Encourage more pieces of writing – not longer. The longer stories tend to get worse.
    2) Multiple pieces work for choice (when it comes to editing/publishing).
    Gather all pieces and pick one for publishing. Remembering to pick your best piece of writing…Patricia Polacco didn’t pick her worse books to publish.
    “Revision is the compliment you give to your best writing.”  L. Calkins
    Lucy lives by this saying. At Teacher’s College, everyone gets a color (blue, green, etc.) for their writing (lessons, etc.)   Lucy’s color is red.  (When she wants to be nice, she’ll use pink.)  If you get your submission back with no red editing you know it was not worth her time to try to “fix it up.” You look for those red marks.

    Writing Center
    * Children need to be able to work independently
    * They need to have access to the materials
    * Do not be the holder of all things.
    * Students will be off-task while you dole out paper, etc. 
    Paper Choices
    * Just-right writing paper
    * Booklets
    * Should match the development of the writer – e.g. plain white paper for the beginning writer.
    Booklets are used as a graphic organizer – a plan for writing. With one sheet you get a story on one page. Multiple pages teach the child that we plan and write more.
    “I can see you are outgrowing your paper. You need sentence paper.”  When students are adding multiple editing strips, they have outgrown their paper choice.  
    “Just right paper” is paper that has 2 lines left on the page.  If I use a new page for the story (plan) you are teaching paragraphs. 

    Meeting Area 
    * Mini lessons
    * Shares
    Use the document camera to share – students need to see the writing close up.
    Charts on display of what you are working on.
    Most students are productive with children at their tables.
    * Vocalizing is a way to keep us focused.
    * Not expecting WW to be silent.
    * They should be reading their writing to themselves and others.
    * Also, have places for students to go who need it to be quiet.
    * Students should be rewarded for knowing what kind of writers they are.
    * Some may need offices
    * Give kids what they need to be successful.

    Writing Workshop is the same everyday:
    Routine:  4-10 minutes – The students need to be doing the work.  “Who is talking is doing the learning.”  The lessons need to be done quickly so that the students can write.  Analogy:  “How can I learn to swim if I’m on the sidelines all the time.”  If you want to learn how to write, you need to write. 

    Beginning of a Unit:
    * Move about the room as the children write “butterfly around the classroom.”  “quick and light”
    * Get the energy going 
    * Tell them what’s going well
    * Specific compliments
    As the unit continues:
    * Slow down
    * Have more meaningful conferences
    * More feedback – longer and stronger
    * Small group (and editing group, great beginnings)

    Mid Workshop Teaching Point
    * Rally energy “I want to let you know about…” or remind children about something, or “It’s getting a little itchy in here – remember we are going to 25 minutes.”
    *  (2nd grade) Let’s take a one minute editing break, check word wall, check punctuation – see what you need.
    * It lets kids know that editing doesn’t just happen at the end.
    * (K-1st) – may have some children ready to edit – check handwriting – reread- pick small things to look for.

    Share (Different kinds of...)
    * “Teaching Share” – the time for doing more teaching.
    * Follow up on the mini lesson
    * “Let me read you the 1st intro pages of these books.”
    * “Follow up”
    * “Goal setting”
    * Problem solving time – e.g. Problem at writing center.
    * Sneak peeks – “Look at these – tomorrow we will…”
    * Review shares – “Last month we talked about looking at the word wall…”
    * Research shares – “What makes this a great piece of writing?”
    * Interview a child – They need to talk about their writing.
    * Interactive/Shared Writing – Make a piece of writing together should I start it?”
    * Celebrating Shares – celebrate what we have done…”Writer’s the most amazing thing happened today  - let me read the first sentence of each of these stories (sitting in a circle).

    What are the components of Balanced Literacy?
    Word Study 
    Read Aloud
    Interactive Writing  
    Shared Writing
    Writing Workshop

    Word Study – 10/15 minutes – phonics/phonemic awareness
    Read Aloud – They need to hear great writing in order to write (exposure).
    Interactive/Shared Writing – 10-15 minutes – the class makes writing together – teacher holds the pen. They get to see authentic writing (whole class).  Writing in the genre they are in at the time.

    Assessment Rubrics
    * Did they write a story?
    * Start with “on grade level” column – 
    * Check the higher level
    * “iffy”  go to the middle column
    The rubric helps to score and what to teach the child.
    Look at the writing and see if there is a sense of “moving across pages.” Teaching the kids to plot their stories across pages – every time they say “and then” – turn the page.  So when you are assessing, you will look for this.

    * Get child to talk about his/her writing
    * Continue to say “tell me more”
    * Listen
    * Big feelings
    * Not just for this piece of writing but for all.
    We are teaching the writer not the writing.
    The kids have to do the talking not the teacher.
    Skill – Big Feelings    Strategy – Have character talk “big feelings.”
    Have them go back and do in all previous writing. The repeated practice makes it stick with students.

    What Can We Do?
    Use writing folders with metal tabs in the middle.  Paper in the middle titled "Strategies to Habits"
             Remember to put spaces.   Drawing characters differently (instead of all looking the same.

            Wrote more on each page
    Only 4 things at a time.  Reteach if they are there for a long time.  Make teacher note and one for child.
    When “spaces” are mastered – move over to habits side.
    Idea – Have library pockets “Look What We Learned” – Pull out sticky notes for accomplishments and place in pocket charts.
    When you confer – have your own writing folder. Use it to help with conferences (one for each genre).
    3-4 minutes per conference.
    Her “Beyonce Days”  - the perfect day
    7-minute mini lesson
    5 (3-4 minute conferences)
    1 small group

    By the end of the week, you will see most of the kids in either small group or conferencing.
    Tip:  Timer – carry it with you (4 minutes per conference). Much better at shorter conferences – kids know that the time is short and they are more prepared. 
    Give yourself one day a week to read through children’s writing (time for 45 minutes). This is about one table per night and then you will be more prepared for the next day’s conferences.

    Informational Writing
    * Author’s Craft is so important.
    * As the children progress, have them work on what is working well – write more.
    * How can I get them to add more – to get the writing better?
    o  Add an example
    o Add definition – what words mean.
    o Add words that go with a topic (brush, stroke, etc.)
    Opinion Writing
    * It is the writing of social change.
    * I see an injustice and I go and I write about it.
    3 Units in Opinion Writing
    Persuasive  - K – save for the end of year -  signs, songs, letters, petitions
    * All of this can help get their opinion across.
    Look around the world and see how you can make it better.
    This circles back to 3rd grade. 
    1st grade – writing review of favorite things – movies, food, etc.
    * Why do you think that?
    * Rating system
    A really great piece of Opinion writing also includes Informative Writing.
    * Are used for children to help each other (partner groups)
    * “Starting to” is a very important part of the rubric. 
    They should be using the rubric as an emphasis on the things that they haven’t done – not as a check off list.
    Celebrate the work – not the writing.
    Look how much you have grown.
    Use the edited pieces – do not recopy.
    Every piece where there is a flap or cross out or correction shows growth. They are stretching themselves.


    * Start Writers’ Workshop on the first day of school.  Set a timer.  Try to write for a longer time each day.
    * The Units of Study were written for us to teach authentic writing.  Writing that exists in a library or a book store – writing that is written for an audience.  This is public, published writing – not personal journal writing.
    * Students will gradually develop their knowledge of conventions.  First accept their approximations and then correct them.  
    * Teach students skills and multiple strategies to do them.  We need multiple strategies.  For example, writing with a strong lead is the skill (what to do). 
    Strategies to do this (how to do) include setting the scene with weather, starting with a moment of action, starting with the character’s dialogue, etc.  
    * Writing is a process.  The less sophisticated the writer is… the more stories he/she will need to produce.  Students will go through the process independently.  Kindergarteners will produce a lot more stories than second graders.  Students need to go through the process many times and will learn something new each time.  As the children have more ideas and develop an understanding on conventions, etc. they will take longer on their writing.  (Gather ideas, Draft, Revise, Edit, Gather ideas, Draft,  Revise, etc.)  Start new writing, instead of making “this” piece better, teach them to make the “next” piece better.  
    * Students need many pieces of writing, not one long story.  They need practice generating lots of ideas.  Ask them, Where do you go all the time?  What do you see all the time? What do you do all the time? 
    * Teach the children that we make all these pieces of writing and we make all of them better as we go.  Choose your favorite to publish.  Fancy it up!  Revision is the compliment you give to your best writing.  Patricia Polacco doesn’t publish her worst story in a book.  
    * Children need to write independently and be able to work through the process.  Have a writing center in your classroom.  Release your control and allow children access to what they need.  Your just right paper should have a few more lines than you can fill up in your first go around.  Children will need paper choices.  Even second graders should be writing across many pages.  Each thought belongs on a page.  This is to give them a sense of writing in paragraphs.  
    * Celebrate the work not just the finished product. For every flap, re-write, edit, cross out, etc.  that is a place where you’ve grown as a writer.  You’ve made your work better.  
    * Writers Workshop should have a short mini lesson at the beginning (3-7 minutes).  At the start of a new unit the teacher is like a butterfly – a little comment here and there to get everybody going.  As the unit continues, conferring gets longer and more in depth as the writing progresses.  Conferencing should be 4 minutes and to save time the teacher should read
    the student’s writing.  Use your time to talk about the writing, not just the piece of work but name some strategies you see in the paper.  Try to have the student do most of the talking.  
    * In a typical workshop there would be a 3-7 minute mini lesson followed by 3 four minute individual conferences, a small strategy or re-teaching group of 7 for about 15-20 minutes, 3 more four minute individual conferences, and a closing teaching share. 
    * Closing teaching share – don’t spend time just having students read their work.  Use this time to showcase work and teach something.  Or find part of the child’s writing that will be coming up in a future lesson – a sneak peak at what’s coming next.  
    * Mid-workshop editing break.  As adults, we write and edit as we go.  It’s a habit of mind.  To help teach this to children, stop during the writing time and tell them you are going to have a 1 minute editing break.  Set the timer for 1 minute while everyone reads their work looking for a specific thing to edit – could be capital I, could be punctuation.  Make the necessary edits then and there and move on after a minute passes.  
    * There are three kinds of mini lessons: traditional/guided practice/inquiry.
    * The components of balanced literacy: word study/interactive writing à Writing Workshop  ß  shared writing/read aloud.  You should spend 10-20 minutes on this.  Shared writing helps children see what a finished piece looks like.  Write in the same genre you are teaching.  Children help decide the words but the teacher writes.
    * Strategies to Habits:  put a piece of computer paper in a page protector and divide it into four squares.  Each section should have a post it note with an individual writing goal in it.  Check these goals during writing conferences.  When the strategy has become a habit move to a poster/chart/pocket.  No more than four at a time.  Look What We’ve Accomplished!  
    * Informational writing has it’s own sound: a command voice and active verbs that tell what to do.
    * When giving on-demand prompts, look and see what the kids do while they’re writing.  Take notes.  Do they use the word wall? Do they write the whole time.
    * Use the checklists to move children and conference with them.  

    As you can see there was a lot to this one day workshop and we are so glad we had the opportunity to attend and report back to you.  Here's to making every minute of Writer's Workshop a learning experience.

    Friday, March 6, 2015

    Intermediate - Professional Development with Lucy Calkins

    Compiled by Lynn Zollinger, Kara Permuy, Dorry Lopez-Sinclair, Jennifer Scarola, Christy Constande and Denise Evanko

         It was validating and informative to listen to Lucy Calkins speak about education.  Her primary focus was writing, but she spoke of how reading and writing go hand in hand.  Both must be taught rigor and fidelity.  Writing should be taught first thing in the morning as it is the most rigorous subject.
         "Writers grow like oak trees in the process of time." To be a good writer, it takes time.  However, there is an urgency to writing instruction.  They should be writing at least two pages a day in the intermediate classrooms.  At the beginning of the year, a writer's fluency is more important than their ideas.   The intermediate classrooms want to develop a culture of "working hard" and "fast and furious" writing.   Lucy mentions that in her writing units, bends three and four are more advanced.  Bend three is the reading and writing connection and bend four is publishing to a higher level.
         Conferencing is the key for students to push their writing ability along.  Lucy states that an effective conference should begin with listening to the writer, asking the writer a question, complimenting the student and giving a next step or tip.  She suggests "dotting the room" by going and being by a writer at their seat so that the other children hear the conversation and can learn the teaching tip that was suggested. 
         Writing partnerships should not be ability based, but diverse.  Student A should share with student B daily.  Compliments should flow freely.  Teachers should hold a child's writing like it is gold.  When a child shares their writing with an audience, it encourages them to care more about their writing. 
         As teachers, we must make a promise to our students that writing instruction will teach students to sort, analyze, evaluate, connect and apply all that they have learned so that they can become strong writers.