Thursday, August 9, 2012

Final Strategies from Day I , WBT Conference in Jackson, MO

Red and Green Writing, OH YEAH!
Red and Green writing was next up on the agenda.  This is going to make teaching writing skills so much easier.  Red/Green writing is taught in steps.  You decide what skills you want to focus on.  These skills might include: neatness, word spacing, end marks, capitalization, sentence length, indenting, paragraph length, sentence variety, adjectives, staying on topic, and on and on. 
You focus on one skill at a time to begin with.  For example, you may decide to begin by focusing on neatness.  So you tell your first graders that for the next five minutes they are going to write.  You may give them a topic or not, your choice.  You tell them that they are to keep writing for five minutes.  If they run out of something to say then they can write the same thing over again until five minutes are up.  You go around looking at their papers with a green and red marker.  You mark their neatest word with a green dot and their messiest word with a red dot.  You may stay with the skill of neatness for a couple of weeks before moving to another skill.  The goal is to have more green dots (neater words) over time.  This is also a great time to use the Super Improver wall.  As their writing becomes neater and neater, they are improving, so stars are given.
Critical thinking comes in to the process as your skills get harder.  Say you’re working on sentence variety.  You place a red dot on a sentence your student wrote, and a green dot on another sentence.  They will have to figure out why the green one is demonstrating good sentence variety and how to make the red one better.  They may do this on their own or with a conference either with you or a partner.  As time goes on, you may have the students mark their own paper with a red/green dot telling you why they chose what to mark in the way they did.  You may also have then paired up with partners who will mark one red dot and one green dot on each other’s paper focusing on the skill you assigned.
I was really excited about this.  I think it will make our job so much easier, and make it easier for the students to focus on what they can do to improve.  The way we tend to score writing now is too overwhelming for them.  They don’t know where to start to improve.  This solves that problem!
Until next time,

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