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Writer toWriter

Fluency and Craft in the Multilingual Classroom

Mary Lee Prescott-Griffin

HEINEMANN
Portsmouth, NH

3. including information storage and retrieval systems. Includes bibliographical references. Title. ISBN-13: 978-0-325-00878-3 ISBN-10: 0-325-00878-7 1.com Offices and agents throughout the world © 2007 by Mary Lee Prescott-Griffin All rights reserved. English language—Composition and exercises—Study and teaching (Elementary)—United States.Heinemann A division of Reed Elsevier Inc. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Prescott-Griffin. NH 03801–3912 www. Writer to writer : fluency and craft in the multilingual classroom / Mary Lee Prescott-Griffin. Botelho Production coordinator: Sonja S. except by a reviewer.62'3—dc22 2007019286 Editor: Kate Montgomery Production service: Denise A. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means. cm. 2. p. I. without permission in writing from the publisher.P726 2007 372.heinemann. Chapman Cover design: Night & Day Design Compositor: Aptara. Multicultural education—United States. who may quote brief passages in a review. Mary Lee. LB1576. Group work in education—United States. Inc. Manufacturing: Steve Bernier Printed in the United States of America on acid-free paper 11 10 09 08 07 VP 1 2 3 4 5 . 361 Hanover Street Portsmouth.

To my sisters. Pamela. Betty. For all the hours spent as my “first pupils” and so much more! . and Louise Prescott.

. . . . Echo Writing . . . . . . . . . . . . . Writing-Fluency Buddies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .81 10. . . . . . Cross-Age Writing Buddies . . . . . . Supportive Listeners: Partners as Audience and Editing Buddies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 1. . . . . Writing Partnerships for English Language Learners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .52 6. . . . . . . .63 7. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .vii Part One: Considering Writing Partnerships Introduction: Writing Partnerships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .109 . . . . . . . . . . . . Small-Group Writing Collaborations . . . . . . . . . .8 2. . . . Buddy Writing Centers . . . . . . .97 12. . . Implementing Writing Partnerships . . .103 Part Three: Genre Strategies 13. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .86 11. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dialogue Journals . . . . . . Home Connections: Writing Partnerships Outside of School . . . . . . . . . . . . . Community Messages: Writing with an Audience and Purpose in Mind . . .32 4. . . . . . .Contents Acknowledgments . . . . . . . .22 3. . . . . . Supporting Writing Partnerships . . .70 Part Two: Strategies to Build Writing Fluency and Confidence 8. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Adapting the Model: Using Writing Partnerships with All Learners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .76 9.40 5. . . . .

. . 18. . . . . .193 References . .118 Research Buddies . . . . . . . .195 vi ■ ■ ■ CONTENTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .131 Real-Life Collaborations: Writing with Purpose and Specificity . Exploring Genre: Making Reading–Writing Connections . . . . . . . . . . .138 Co-Composing Stories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14.159 Appendices . . . . 15. . . .148 Writing Like the Author: Exploring Writers’ Voice and Style . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .171 Children’s Literature Cited . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Sincere appreciation and profound respect also go to extraordinary teachers Sharon Roberts. In the heat of their literate interactions. Darline vii . Spencer Borden School in Fall River. Massachusetts. With every visit. Nourse and Solmonese Elementary Schools in Norton. England and the Treasure Box Preschool in Singapore. teacher-to-student and student-to-student. I am also indebted to the writers of all ages at the L. So. I am simply an observer and note taker. So it is with this book about writing partnerships. and original strategies that teach me most. Kristine Kefor. Paul Cuffee Charter School in Providence. their collective wisdom and brilliant mentoring of one another providing both the inspiration and content of my work. Christine Mikalyzk. New York. I come away with skills. and acknowledge all the teachers and students with whom I work in my job as education professor at Wheaton College in Norton. thank. strategies. words. James. I am awed by the innovative. they continue to expand and define my understandings about learning in social context. When I visit classrooms and listen to the talk. writing. Woodingdean Primary School in Woodingdean. and ideas to use in my own writing as well as content and substance for books such as this one. specifically those individuals who have welcomed me again and again into their classrooms to observe and converse about reading. first. original approaches to teaching I witness. and collaboration. Teachers and students are the ones who “write” my books. Rhode Island. Cheryl Feeney. Massachusetts. I want to applaud. G. Mills Pond Elementary School in St. Massachusetts.Acknowledgments I n truth. It is their actions.

Josie Woollam. to their administrators— facilitative leaders Lynda Ashley. Their care and attention make the publishing process a pleasure. Missy Taylor. Kelly Barr. and her assistant. who opened their classroom doors. my sons. And full of surprises. Finally. too. Alexandra and Stephanie. Thank you. Ransom and Winward. I am grateful for their time in arranging classroom visits and scheduling teacher and student interviews. Mary Brown. I am so appreciative of the work every one with Heinemann— Sonja Chapman. Jeanne Hall. Juvine Lee Wei Ping. Suzie Shaw. Jenny Baumeister. David Bourns. As always. Kerry Herlihy. Life is rich.Berrios. generously sharing their expertise as well as their successes and challenges in implementing writing partnerships. especially my mother. Vivian Ang Sok mei. Seth Paster. Cynthia Pasieka. Denise Botelho. and their beautiful women. Kate Montgomery. Heather Stonehill. and Dusty Leigh as my books move from manuscript to print and beyond. and Diana Lanze. I am deeply grateful for their insightful stewardship and guidance throughout the writing of this book. and love. indeed. Thiruchelvi Dio Rengasamy. all my “sisters”. isn’t it? viii ■ ■ ■ ACKNOWLEDGMENTS . Louise. I want to thank my family and dear friends for their support. especially the work of my editor. Emma Smith. enthusiasm. and Arlene Wild— who never say “no” when I propose “yet another research visit” to their schools. Eric Chalek.

Writing-Fluency Buddies I choose [to write with] a partner because you get more ideas. fluency buddies are paired briefly for short-term practice. then writing 97 . structured pieces demonstrating skills and strategies learned during direct instruction. [but] both. —Third grader 11 CLASSROOM CHALLENGE How can I provide peer support for short-term writing projects and goals? ■ Writing-Fluency Buddies: What Are They? Writing-Fluency Buddy time provides collaborative opportunities for writers to co-compose quick. Missy Taylor’s second graders are co-composing acrostic poems about holiday traditions. Unlike most writing partnerships where students are paired for a longer time period or for the duration of a particular writing project. ■ Missy’s Writers On a mid-December morning. so writers work with many peers during the course of the year. It also allows for “mixing up” students. Writing-fluency buddies typically work together for a brief period of time—usually a week—practicing a specific skill or strategy that has been explicitly taught to them at a particular time. Missy explains the activity. you ask your partner instead of asking the teacher. If you get stuck. You prob’ly write longer paragraphs [when it’s] not just your ideas.

Anne A snowflake! Dances? and twirls? A snowflake dances and twirls around while listening to .” After fifteen minutes. Missy brings the writers together to share their pieces. Riding on a sleigh? Santa comes to . . Anne and Haley decide to skip D and work on I as Haley has suggested they write about “icicles. I check in with Haley and Anne. “T. . They consult the holiday word list and classroom word wall and then scan the classroom walls. sound! [writes] A snowflake dances and twerls around while lisning to the Christmas sound. and begin completing their poems. they could be on a sleigh. Haley is scribing while Anne watches. .” Anne [writes] Trees whisper while the awtaments [ornaments] sway. [hands the pen to Anne] They spend several minutes discussing what they might possibly write for the letter A. decide who will scribe first. Haley What does it do? Haley My turn. Finally. [takes the pen] As I move away to observe other writers. cheer the day! What about “cheer up” the day? [nods] Okay. . 98 ■ ■ ■ WRITER TO WRITER . . . the Christmas . They have decided to switch scribing with each line of the poem. Anne writes the first line. offering ideas and editing suggestions.fluency buddies disperse around the classroom. they ask me for an idea and I suggest they might start their sentence with the word A. After several minutes of conversation and consulting a “holiday word list” Missy has distributed. [writes] Rideing on a slay Santa comes to cheer up the day. Riding? Yup.

The students work together for short periods each day (ten to fifteen minutes) with their writing-fluency buddy. fluency buddies might work together to practice: ● ● ● varying sentence length using different kinds of sentences—statements. and tone ● using punctuation—periods. dashes. writing-fluency buddies are paired for one week. etc. colons. but work together to practice and reach deeper understanding and facility with specific skills and strategies. the emphasis is on short. hyphens. brought them together to share. strategies. ■ Steps and Procedures In general. ■ Minilessons and Ideas There are a myriad of writing skills. questions. The teacher models and teaches a specific skill or strategy. 3. exclamation points. and tasks on which a teacher might ask fluency buddies to focus. 4. This writing activity lends itself to instant or flexible grouping where the main purpose is to get children writing quickly and fluently. when wrapping up her lesson. voice. Writingfluency buddies do not engage in long-term collaborations. This is a framework that must adapt to grade-level curriculum and expectations. semicolons. and. 2. In a short. The students share their work with the entire class later in the week. and exclamations using appropriate text signals to signify meaning. sent writing-fluency buddies off. focused practice of specific skills. quotation (or “talking”) marks. and it can be used with new or experienced writing partners. ● using bold capitalized and italicized text Writing-Fluency Buddies ■ ■ ■ 99 . The teacher explains expectations for partner work. question marks. commas. the structure is clear. It is brief. a general sequence for writing fluency buddies might be as follows: 1. While teachers will want to adapt this strategy to suit the needs of their program and students. focused piece of writing.Missy provided a quick explanation of the task. Again.

(this is my absolute. Yesterday I . . or several such as cause and effect or compare and contrast into a piece writing a paragraph with main idea and supporting details writing like “an author. fluent writing. . . 100 ■ ■ ■ WRITER TO WRITER . Partners check the timer (they may want to designate one person as the timer.” Some of my favorites come from Regie Routman (2000): ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● Next year. Partners write their own pieces for five minutes. it elicits wonderful pieces from kindergartners and my college students!) I was surprised . it is important that each child write. Teachers use many prompts for “quickwrites. Since this activity is designed to encourage writing fluency. . . Partners read quickwrites to one another and decide whether to expand one or both. . A long time ago I . One time I . not telling recognizing each other’s voice and style experimenting with voice and style incorporating a particular text structure. . I plan to . . I noticed . . .” Quickwrites Creating five-minute quickwrites (see Figure 11–1) exercises partners’ writing muscles and encourages spontaneous. . 3. . . 2. 4. Procedures for “quickwrites” are as follows: 1. I never knew . .● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● using rhyme using repetition—experimenting with the effect of repeating a word or phrase creating unique voices for each character in a story showing. I remember when . favorite. but that person should also write). . . Partners read the quickwrite prompt. Students can decide whether to expand their piece or use the quickwrite as a warm-up activity for a self-selected writing activity.

. . These guidelines. outlining expectations and task criteria. 11–1 Student Quickwrite Sample and Buddy Suggestion ● ● I wish . she can use it more confidently and comfortably when crafting independent writing pieces. . can be posted on classroom walls or copied and given to writers to use in independent writing. (216) ■ Moving Toward Independence Once a writer practices a particular skill or strategy with her writing fluency buddy. I don’t understand why . Often teachers offer structures and guidelines when teaching a particular skill or strategy. Writing-Fluency Buddies ■ ■ ■ 101 . .FIG.

102 ■ ■ ■ WRITER TO WRITER . writing fluency partnerships for English language learners should include visual reminders. and explicit structures for completing writing tasks. Additionally.■ Suggestions for English Language Learners English language learners benefit from access to many models of English speaking. clear expectations. Short-term writing fluency partnerships provide continual access to all three. and reteaching.