Monday, September 3, 2007
Oh My Giddy Gosh!
Well, it all started a few days back. (Or maybe it was a week or two, I can't be sure at this point.) Anyway, I was reading through all the blogs I like to follow, and I decided to adapt, okay not adapt but borrow, okay not borrow but steal this outline for the first half of the year in writing workshop from Stacey Shubitz on Two Writing Teachers. As I was reading through her set-up and changing it to fit my own class (see I really was adapting) I kept noticing the name of an author referenced that I didn't know. The author was Jim Vopat and his book was Micro Lessons in Writing.
I promptly ordered it (which is not really an it or book but more of a set of books) because it seemed if I was following Stacey's outline I was going to be lost without this book. I just finished reading the first book of the set in less time than it would take me to pluck my eyebrows. Let me just say, YOU MUST GET WITH IT AND CHECK THIS OUT!
In the Welcome section of the book, Volpat says, "Here is the medium is the message: a minimal book format with minimal text, one micro lesson per page, an invitation for you the teacher to complete the narrative with your students through their writing. Less is more." Perfect... I'll take it.
There were way too many cool lessons in the first book alone (Big Ideas For Getting Started). Some I knew, some I needed to hear again, and some I had never thought of before. One was in the section of Identifying as a writer. It was titled Celebrity Writer Profile. You'll have to see the book for more details of this lesson, but the idea is to get kids to relate themselves to being a writer. I liked that the questions used in the sample were like the ones I use from my Writing Interview I usually have students complete. The interview has outworn its welcome because it is long and kids always complain about doing it. This solves that problem. There is another lesson in the section Writing Groups called We Are. Again... get the book for a more detailed explanation. The idea here is to group students in 4 or 5 and have them come up with a group name. Next they come up with a topic they would like to write about for the next meeting. Then they are free to write as they wish. They can write in their own genre, style, voice, etc. At the next meeting they share what they wrote. AWESOME!
Lastly, in the end of the book Vopat shares his inspirations for the different ideas. Who doesn't love that?