Elenore Glass

Literacy Coach K-5

Topic: Authentic Student Writing

My Thoughts

I have been in education for 15 years and very passionate about student learning and meeting their educational needs. I'm always interested in best researched practice and pedagogy. As I reflect on my practice, from what I believe in student engagement first starting my career and what I believe now, I am quite a different teacher. I believe giving students choice fosters independent thinking and learning. Choice also builds confidence and responsibility. The workshop framework of teaching reading and writing is a practice I worked with for ten years which foster choice. Year after year my practice improves and is demonstrated in student performance.

I am very curious about authentic student learning as it relates to reading and writing. My theory that giving students choice about what they are interested produces active learners and engagement.
It has been my experience as a 4th/5th grade teacher and currently as a Literacy Coach, that most students do not like to write. Students don't like to write especially if they are given a prompt to write about. Many times I have observed students just staring at their journals and explaining that they don't know what to write. Or the classic saying, " I don't have anything to write about!"

Students don't value their own life experiences. Also students don't think teachers care about what they are interested in. I am curious about the notion of giving students an opportunity to write about something that matters to them like their life experiences or things they are interested in. I'm also wondering, how would this kind of authentic writing be assessed?

The following are websites videos, books, articles, and blogs that could be to used when growing the practice of Authentic Student Writing.


Promoting Social Interaction Through Interior Monologues
By: Bill Bigelow & Linda Christensen Publisher: The Quartely, Vol 23, No.1 Winter 2001
Authentic Student Writing
http://www.nwp.org/cs/public/print/resource/346?/-print_friendly.=1Through supporting reading & writing, while inspiring a sense of social justice, students write and show the power of the written word. The author discovered that when students stopped reading novels as an end in themselves and started reading and examining society - from cartoons to immigration laws to the politics of language - and taking action and other instructional lessons, students became more engaged in learning.

Resource Center
Tools and Training for Youth and Service Programs
Effective Practice for Service events: International Children's Book Day
Authentic Student Writing
Writing activities that are creative and authentic can be a useful way to get kids to write. When students are familiar with ideas and their own experiences it cultivates a community of confident writers. Additionally, when students are confident about their writing, they are more successful writing across the curriculum.

Pro Teacher Collection (PT)
Journals by Marie Teacher
2002:October:19 Authentic Writing
Proteacher Offers many tips from educators who have tried different teaching strategies across content areas. Journals, by Marie, offers ideas on how to use journals in math and writing. Using a writing journal, the author models how to come up with topics, talks children through the elements of writing, like leaving spaces between words, and proper use of grammar. The author feels strongly about the notion of letting students choose their own topic because she has found that children produce more when topics are relevant. Teachers always have questions about weather to correct spelling errors. Never tell a child how to spell a word, the author suggest, or you'll have literally all the kids asking you for every word they want to use. I agree with all of the useful tips the author suggest and have tired many of them myself .

Louis & Clark-Web Mall
Featured sites
Living & Learning
Authentic Student Learning
Louis and Clark, The Louis and Clark Chronicles provides resources to teachers and students, based on their interest, who are looking at the world from a global perspective and willing to be critical thinkers, readers, and writer's. This site is friendly to students who are interested in Global Warming and other environmental sensitivities and topics.

Read Write and Think
Classroom Resources International Reading Associatio__n__IRA 2010 This site provides a variety of information on environmental issues. Students are engaged in deep conversations about a variety of environmental issues and write about it.

Authentic Student Writing
Read Write and ThinkOffers teachers resources in reading, writing, and lesson plans across the curriculum for effective and relevant student engagement. Students learn how to write interactive acrostic, and diamante poems. As well as chatting about books and engaging in book talks that are a favorite among young readers.

Digital Story Telling Center for Digital Story Telling
Authentic Student Writing
Digital Story Telling Digital story telling is a short, first person video narrative that captures life experiences through the use of digital media. To enhance the digital media, sound effects can be added for different creations.


Teaching for Joy & Justice
Linda Christensen 2010
Linda Christensen spent almost 25 years as a classroom teacher in California. Early in her teaching career, she saw literacy as a tool that students could use to know themselves and heal themselves. As a social justice activist, she spent many years empowering students to tell their stories.

Barry Lane, noted author and believes that anyone can write. Revision is an ongoing creative process, not simply the act of cleaning up "sloppy copy". Yet in many classrooms, teachers find students do not create anything after they've reached "THE END." This video gives a visual of a writing craft called explode a moment. It's a writing craft we should all model and teach.


A Place for Wonder: Reading and Writing Nonfiction in the Primary Grades by Georgia Heard and Jen McDonough (Stenhouse, 2009)

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My newest book (co-authored with Jen McDonough) explores the practical ways teachers can create a classroom environment where students' questions and observations are part of daily work. It includes how to set up "wonder centers," teaching nonfiction research writing, and much more.
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Falling Down the Page: A Book of List Poems (Roaring Brook Press)
This newest written children's poetry book is a collection of list poems to inspire young poets to write their own poems. Each list poem is carefully selected so that readers see the extraordinary in the ordinary. Some of the poets include: Lee Bennett Hopkins; Jane Yolen; Naomi Shihab Nye; Liz Rosenberg; and Eileen Spinelli, Rebecca Kai Dotlich and many others!

external image georgiaheard-330-Climb_inside.jpg Climb Inside a Poem: Reading and Writing Poetry Across the Year

In this book Georgia Heard and Lester Laminack tap into children's poetic natural inclination and demonstrate how reading and writing poetry can support and extend young children's language and literacy development.

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The Revision Toolbox: Teaching Techniques That Work

Georgia Heard shows you how to reassure your students that revision is not an indicator of bad writing, but an integral part of the writing process. The Revision Toolbox provides ready-to-use strategies that take the mystery out of teaching revision and help even the most reluctant
writers revise.

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Writing Toward Home: Tales and Lessons to Find Your Way

Writing Toward Home offers practical advice on overcoming some of the obstacles writers of all ages face: writer's block; fear of rejection; confronting silencing critics in your head; finding the time to write. Each short chapter speaks to the larger truths about writing and how to truly live the writer's life: how to become more of a risk taker; how to excavate the past as a source; and how to become an acute observer of the world.


For the Good of the Earth and Sun: Teaching Poetry
For the Good of the Earth and Sun offers a method of teaching poetry that respects the intelligence of students and teachers and that can build upon their basic originality. This book provides detailed, organized information so that teachers themselves can begin to enjoy and feel knowledgeable about poetry and then pass those feelings onto their students. The author's text is supplemented by samples of students' work in original and draft form.


This Place I Know: Poems of Comfort

This anthology of beautiful and powerful poems and illustrations will help children all over the world get through difficult times and continue "to live," "to laugh," and "to sing."

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Lucy Calkins Units of Study 41dB54RPIYL._SL160_AA115_.jpg

Lucy Calkins Units fo Study for teaching writing , Grade 3-5, offers advice and coaching on how to lead a effecient writing workshops in upper-elementary schoolrooms. The units are organized in a carefully crafted way to infuse a spiraling curriculum. This series, like the Primary Units of Study, teaches students how to write with clarity and focus.


Enrichment Clusters A Time and a Place for Authentic Learning By: Joseph Renzulli, Marcia Gentry, and Sally M. Reis. The authors feel if educators challenge students to solve everyday problems in meaningful context, then the learning will take care of itself. Most teachers have had a vision, at one time or another, about what they thought teaching would entail. They pictured themselves in classrooms with interested and exciting students rei-enacting historical events or conducting science experiments. However, many teachers experience a disconnect between the vision of a challenging and rewarding career and the day to day grind of test preparation. Freedom to teach and make learning interesting and enjoyable can still happen in a classroom with authentic learning.

The Basics of Writing Workshop: How to Teach Authentic Writing From The Start http://primary-school-
Writing workshop is a structure for teaching writing in which students are provided with time to write a topic of their choice. The authors explain a mini lesson, creating a topic list, materials, and sharing time. Allowing students the gift of choice and time during writing workshop, are the key motivators for students to love writing. Starting simple and gradually adding more as you go will prove to be beneficial in creating a writing workshop.

Assessing Writing
Assessing Writing Lee Summit MO Tech WRITING

Leading to Change Effective Grading Practices Douglas B. Reeves


In researching authentic writing, I was excited to see the support of many researchers for this type of instructional practice. Teachers are realizing that when students are given choice in the writing experience, the outcome is meaningful and authentic. One of he tools that teaches can use to foster this type of learning is using a workshop frame. This model of instruction is specifically designed to provide time for deep rich thinking and reflection.

In order to produce a generation of people who seek out learning, researchers believe students need to be given more control over their own learning. Researchers also believe that a love of learning can be fostered by encouraging students to explore topics they are interested in. Students read about their particular interest and then reflect on it in writing. Students have been known to write about the shrinking population of Bengal Tigers, Native American Language, girls in sports, and traveling to different places around the World.

Authentic writing is a way for students to tap into their inner soul and discover what really make learning interesting to them.