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.