I am convinced further that modeling "thinking about one's thinking" is so valuable to teaching any subject or skill. I'm always a little surprised at how engaging it is to students when a teacher simply talks her thinking to them. I imagine they think it to be somewhat privileged information, like being told a secret. This makes sense when I consider the best craft books seem like the writer is "talking" their thinking right to me. Anne LaMott's, Bird by Bird comes to mind:
Also Stephen King's, On Writing:
These people are excellent writing teachers because they write all the time and are very comfortable talking about process--if this has helped me immeasurably, of course it would help my students!
I like the way Regie incorporates drawing into the writing process without assuming all lower elementary students must draw first, or even on every page. This, along with the idea of writing always for an authentic audience reminds me of a book my sister has used heavily in her K classroom this year called--Talking, Drawing, Writing: Lessons for our youngest writers.
This book suggests doing away with "Draft Books" so many of us have used in lower elementary classrooms and have students create small separate books instead. The rationale is pretty interesting. My sister has been amazed at what her five year olds have produced in comparison to past years. Certainly drawing and talking their thinking has helped. I hope to read this book myself soon and try some of the ideas.
The school I worked at this year uses a canned program called, "Writing Diner."
Link here: http://www.thewritingdiner.com/
This is a collection of mini-lessons that connect to the write traits and they aren't terrible. Like any "program," it needs to be supplemented by the good teaching Regie describes.
There are "ready written" models to illustrate lesson objectives, which most teachers use. The program does suggest an alternative, though, that Regie would endorse--Writing one's own model with the students--Yay!
I would really prefer not to use writing programs but realize I may be required to, so it helps me feel better to frame them in a context that is more process oriented. I may not use the whole tool box, but certainly there are individual tools that can be useful.
For what it's worth, those are the resources that come to mind. I look forward to reading about resources you are thinking of!
The entire time I read this book, I kept thinking that I had read it before. To be honest, I'm not sure if I have or not, but everything Regie Routman says sounds very familiar. It's probably because Writing Essentials was published in 2005 so many other Writing authors have used this book as a reference.
The way Routman says to not used a canned "program" to teach skills reminds me of Lucy Calkin's Units of Study (http://www.unitsofstudy.com/). Calkins and Routman both say that the skills will come if you teach writing well. They are both very positive and believe that all students can write well. They also stress the importance of celebrating writers wherever they are in the process.
I kept thinking about The Daily 5 (http://www.thedailycafe.com/) written by the 2 sisters, Gail and Joan. I use this management program with my students during reading, but now I realize that I could use the same management during writing. Both authors emphasize the importance of allowing children to write for enjoyment with no restrictions (a time when they can write letters to family members, poetry, lists, journals, plays, blogs, or any form of authentic writing).
The theme that stood out most to me is how positive Regie Routman is about every child being successful during Writing Workshop. This is a common theme in many books that I have read, but The Daily 5 and The Units of Study seemed the most similar.
Annette Kelly is a 4th grade teacher at Beagle Elementary in Grand Ledge, MI.Lori Van Hoesen finished her internship at Willow Ridge Elementary in Grand Ledge, MI.Mary Wever is a 4th grade teacher at Red Cedar Elementary in East Lansing, MI.