Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Thought About Writing

I am a 4th grade teacher in Texas. What does that mean? We have a state writing test! So what have I been thinking about??????? Teaching WRITING effectively.

Hanby teachers ~ It would make such a difference if we could all do this! Just sayin.

I really love Chris Biffle and his Whole Brain Teaching.

I will be using a lot of his materials this year. Watch this video. It is amazing. You can skip through the first part to get to the meat of his thoughts on writing.

Watch live streaming video from wholebrainteaching1 at

His main points:

  • Have students write for a specific amount of time instead of to accomplish a task
  • Focus on one skill, begin with neatness then capitalization, punctuation, spacing, indenting, numbers of words in a sentence, topic sentences, etc.
  • While students write, you walk around the room and mark their papers with a green or red marker (this helps them to correct mistakes as they write, not a day later)
  • Green = good example of the focus skill
  • Red = bad example of focus skill
  • Have the students respond in some way when you mark their papers, "Thanks" "Ok"
I really like this system. I think this is a good thing to do with any lesson. Once you have taught the concept, this would be a good thing to do when the students start working on their own. Immediate feedback is the easiest to learn from and they will have the chance to correct their mistakes.

You need to go to Whole Brain Teaching and download the Whole Brain Writing Game. You have so sign up, but everything is FREE! 
So worth it! 

I have made a poster (because that is what I do) to help us remember what the colors mean.

Here are the printables if you want them!


Denise said...

WoW!! I love this already and I haven't even looked at the video yet! I could totally use this even in my 2nd grade classroom. I teach in Texas, too and I hate to say that our focus is on Reading and Math at the 2nd grade level, only because our kiddos will be tested on those 2 subjects in 3rd grade. In our district, though, we also have common assessments every 6 weeks. We have a separate test for Math, Reading, and Revising & Editing with a writing prompt. This coming year they are adding Social Studies, too. UGH!!

Teaching writing is one of my weaknesses, but this looks like something I could do and pass it on to my team. Thanks a bunch and I know you'll "Rock the STAAR!"

2nd Grade Ponderings

Sunny said...

This is great. Thanks for sharing it!

I am teaching 4th and 5th this upcoming year. Our 4th graders take the standardized test in October (why?!) so it will be great to start the year with something like this to help ALL of my kids focus on their writing objectives better and help me maximize my writing time.

Writing is my favorite thing in the world to do but it drives me crazy to teach it because the kids just don't enjoy it like I do. I hope this might help some!

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