Teaching Writing: Grades K-3

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Description

About This Course

From the time that a young child picks up a crayon and makes marks on a paper to when an older child puts the finishing sentence on an autobiography or a poem, a young author is developing the skills that will be used for a lifetime. In this course, you'll examine the developmental stages of writing, from scribbling to the standard spelling stage, so that you can foster your students' skills and gently nudge them to grow as authors. This course is full of practical ideas that you can use to motivate students in your classroom.

You'll look at tools such as the writer's workshop, the six traits of writing, and genre studies for ways to teach students about writing. You'll see…

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About This Course

From the time that a young child picks up a crayon and makes marks on a paper to when an older child puts the finishing sentence on an autobiography or a poem, a young author is developing the skills that will be used for a lifetime. In this course, you'll examine the developmental stages of writing, from scribbling to the standard spelling stage, so that you can foster your students' skills and gently nudge them to grow as authors. This course is full of practical ideas that you can use to motivate students in your classroom.

You'll look at tools such as the writer's workshop, the six traits of writing, and genre studies for ways to teach students about writing. You'll see how each of these tools can be used by teachers to encourage early elementary writers. As your students become better writers, they will become better readers, and you'll see how well reading and writing instruction work together to support each other.

The course also covers ways to support the writers who struggle, whether due to a lack of motivation, fine motor skills, or ideas. And of course, you'll explore techniques for getting parents involved so that they can help with writing at home. By the end of the course, you'll have a new enthusiasm for teaching that will ignite your students' love of writing!

About The Instructor

This course includes a knowledgeable and caring instructor who will guide you through your lessons, facilitate discussions, and answer your questions. The instructor for this course will be Sara Hardin.

Working with special needs students became a passion for Sara Hardin in seventh grade, when she volunteered at a summer camp for physically disabled children. Their willingness to keep trying new things despite serious obstacles impressed her and inspired her to become a special educator. She has taught special education for nine years, mostly at the elementary level. She completed her master’s degree in special education in 2000.

Syllabus

A new section of each course starts monthly. If enrolling in a series of two or more courses, please be sure to space the start date for each course at least two months apart.

Week 1

Wednesday - Lesson 01

What makes teaching writing so important for our K-3 students? In our first lesson, we'll discuss the relevance of writing instruction in early elementary school, and we'll look at some practical ways to grow writers in our classrooms. We'll talk about providing role models and celebration and meeting students at their developmental and skill levels. We'll also visit some classrooms to see how teachers apply these strategies with their students!

Friday - Lesson 02

Today we'll look carefully at the connections between oral language and writing. We'll discuss young children's varying literacy experiences at home and how this affects their work when they first enter elementary school; we'll look at specific ways oral language affects writing; and we'll examine strategies for helping students move from oral language to writing. We'll also pop into some K-3 classrooms to visit teachers in action!

Week 2

Wednesday - Lesson 03

In this lesson, we'll begin to explore the developmental stages of writing, starting with the scribbling stage and moving on to the letter-like symbols stage. Then we'll visit a kindergarten classroom and a resource room to get some great tips for working with these young writers.

Friday - Lesson 04

We'll continue our investigation of the developmental stages of writing today. In this lesson, we'll focus on the strings of letter stage and the beginning sounds stage. This is where students begin to explore writing with confidence, which is why we call these students explorers! And as we did in the last lesson, we'll pop into our kindergarten class and resource room to see how our teachers work with students in these two stages.

Week 3

Wednesday - Lesson 05

What does it mean to be a risk-taker? When it comes to writing, our young risk-takers are ready to make bold choices when they put their pens to the paper. Today we'll look at these two developmental stages: consonants represent words and initial, middle, and final sounds. We'll continue to see students increase their knowledge of sound to letters, learn how to incorporate vowels, and expand the details in their writing. And we'll discuss strategies you can use to help your students achieve this success!

Friday - Lesson 06

Today we'll explore the final two stages of developmental writing: transitional and standard spelling. The standard spelling stage is our goal for all students, although they'll always be works in progress as they move toward this goal. We'll learn ways to grow these budding butterflies, and we'll visit some classrooms to see teachers in action.

Week 4

Wednesday - Lesson 07

There are many different ways to hold successful writer's workshops! And this will be our focus for this lesson: examining the writer's workshop as a tool to meet the diverse needs of all of our writers. We'll investigate the three components of a successful writer's workshop: the mini-lesson, writing time, and sharing time. And we'll visit with some of our teachers to see how they implement a writer's workshop and incorporate it into their curriculum!

Friday - Lesson 08

What does great writing look like? There's no easy answer to this question, of course. And that's just what we're going to discuss in today's lesson—how to define and teach the traits of great writing. The method we'll review in this lesson is called the six traits of writing. These traits consist of ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, and conventions. We'll talk about how to teach these skills to writers at every developmental stage—and as usual, we'll visit some classrooms to see our teachers working with this method in action!

Week 5

Wednesday - Lesson 09

In this lesson, we'll be discussing writing conferences. We'll talk about the different types of conferences and how to conduct effective conferences with students at varying developmental levels. We'll also examine rubrics and how to use them to assess student writing. And as always, we'll visit some of our writing coaches to see them working with students in action.

Friday - Lesson 10

So far, we've talked about the traits of good writing and helping students at different developmental stages. But what do we do to help those students who struggle with some of the physical aspects of writing? In this lesson, we'll talk about navigating roadblocks such as trouble with fine motor skills, posture, and stamina. We'll also discuss specific tactics for reversing letter reversals!

Week 6

Wednesday - Lesson 11

Today's lesson is all about genres! We'll look at narrative, expository, procedural, persuasive, and transactional writing. First, we'll discuss how genre study motivates students and increases their writing and reading comprehension skills. Next, we'll carefully examine the components of each genre and how to support our young writers as they write in each of them. And finally, we'll see how our teachers incorporate these genres into their classroom instruction.

Friday - Lesson 12

We're going to spend our final lesson discussing how to work with parents to support their young writers at home. We'll talk about how to have productive conferences with parents about their children's writing, and we'll examine answers to some common (and often tough!) parent questions. We'll also discuss a great activity you can organize for your students and their parents: Family Writing Night!


Requirements

Internet access, e-mail, the Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox Web browser, and the Adobe Flash and PDF plug-ins (two free and simple downloads you obtain at http://www.adobe.com/downloads by clicking Get Adobe Flash Player and Get Adobe Reader).

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