Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Write in the Middle
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Write in the Middle
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Workshop 1: Creating a Community of Writers

Workshop 1 explores the components of a community of writers and what teachers can do to create and foster such a community. After a brief introduction to the goals of all eight workshop sessions, middle school teacher and writing expert Linda Rief and several of the teachers whose classrooms are featured in Write in the Middle share strategies they use to build a safe writing environment for their students starting at the beginning of the school year.

In separate extended classroom segments, Velvet McReynolds, a seventh-grade teacher from Hoover, Alabama, demonstrates two community-building strategies: the Monday Meeting and teacher as writer. The Monday Meeting, a frequent activity in Velvet's classroom, allows students to share personal information with their classmates in a non-threatening setting, while the teacher-as-writer strategy provides students with a model for participation in the writing community.

During a third extended classroom segment, fifth-grade teacher Jack Wilde demonstrates one of his daily routines: the read-aloud. In a related interview, Jack explains how reading books aloud to his class helps to build a successful writing community by giving the students shared experiences with reading and responding to writing.

Through additional classroom examples, teacher discussions, and interviews, Workshop 1 also examines how room arrangements can encourage written and spoken communication and how sharing their writing helps students become part of the writing community.

"Creating a Community of Writers" closes with an exploration of some of the psychological and emotional needs specific to young adolescents and their learning. After National Middle School Association Executive Director Sue Swaim offers insight into the unique changes middle school students are undergoing, three of the teachers discuss how these developmental issues affect their instructional choices.


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