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A P R I L 2 0 1 4

The place for you to read about first-hand experiences from
teachers around the U.S.
Valentina Contesse
Newberry Elementary School
Valentina Contesse
graduated from the
Unified Elementary
ProTeach Program at
the University of
Florida. She is also
certified in special
education. She
currently works at
Elementary School as
a multi-grade push-in
resource teacher. She
has a variety of
classroom experience
and is a role model to
About the Teacher

Do you have experience with reluctant writers in your

Yes. I have experience with reluctant writers in the second
grade classrooms I co-teach in.
What is one strategy do you use to help these students?

Is it successful? How do you know if it is successful?

Visual supports! Using color-coded graphic organizers
(expository and narrative) and picture choices.

Yes! The visual supports help guide students writing and
allows students to expand on their ideas/provide appropriate

The Q & A
What creative writing activities do you use in your class?

5-W (Who? What? Where? When? Why?) Sentences using
pictures (beginning of the year)
Turning Black and White Writing into Rainbow Writing -
Teacher provides students with a basic 5-6 sentence
paragraph. Students add details (WH questions: Who?
What? Where? When? Why? How?) to each sentence and
underline each sentence with a different color. When
students are finished re-writing the basic paragraph with
details their writing looks like a rainbow.
Spelling Choice Boards Students have a choice board
with different choices for practicing their spelling words.
Spelling words are differentiated.

Do you have a form of writing workshop?

Yes. Students are divided into 3 small groups. Each day
students make two rotations. One group focuses on
conventions/spelling and handwriting, while the other two
groups focus on structured writing (one is teacher led and
the other is led by the second adult in the room and students
work on editing).

Do you have students share their work in class?
Whenever there is time. I wish we planned for more sharing
time among students. Exemplary student work is displayed in
the classroom.

The Q & A
When students refuse to write, what do you do?

Give the student choices and positively reinforce the student for
any effort he/she makes (Ex: Great job beginning to write that
sentence, I like how you remembers to use a capital letter.)