Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.
Have you ever had the experience of navigating a website in front of an audience when you didn’t plan to? Was it hard to find the tabs, bullets, and links as quickly as participants called them out? Did temporary incompetence set in?
Well, it happened to me and unfortunately I had someone sitting next to me like an impatient Jiminy Cricket saying, “Second tab on the right . . . second tab, not first, on the right” and “Click on the fifth bullet, the fifth one.” He continued, “Get a new search tab,” and “No, go back,” and “It’s right there on the left side.”
While the intention of his feedback was to be helpful, my focus was no longer on the website or the audience, but on my corrector who was commanding me seconds before my brain (and mouse) were ready for him. Five words threatened to fly out of my mouth, “JUST LET ME DO IT!”
The next day I watched a video of a conference in my colleague Sean Moore’s second-grade class. His student TJ was struggling with the role of the silent ‘e’ in words. When TJ approached the word care, he tried, “carry, car-rie, ca-are-re.” Sean waited patiently and repeated his student’s sound attempts. Then Sean asked, “Which one makes sense?” After a long pause, there was TJ’s elated response, “Oh! It’s care!” It was clear that TJ just needed a little time — not correction — and Sean wasn’t in a hurry.
Experiencing being corrected too soon was an important gift for me. If someone had asked me after my presentation what the website was about and what I’d learned, I would have responded, “I have no idea.” What I learned was that it was stressful having someone tell me what to do, instead of trusting me to find my own way in my own time. It’s amazing what a few seconds of waiting and watching can accomplish. Perhaps our writers and readers who experience more correction than opportunities to practice say “I don’t know” because they haven’t been given a chance to know yet.
This week our theme is nonfiction writing. Plus more as always — enjoy!
Senior Editor, Choice Literacy
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Here are two features from the Choice Literacy archives to hone your skills in nonfiction writing instruction.
Ann Marie Corgill lets her writing curriculum do double duty, building social and literacy skills in Learning to Write Engaging Nonfiction: A Middle School Partner Writing Study:
Franki Sibberson finds literary nonfiction provides rich and varied writing models for elementary students. She shares some of her favorite mentor texts:
If you’re looking for new nonfiction text models, you might want to explore Choice Literacy’s Pinterest board Great Nonfiction for Kids. We add to it weekly, and it currently includes over five dozen annotated children’s books:
We’ve posted Part 2 of our favorite digital reading and writing tools round-up with contributions from Maria Caplin, Michelle Kelly, Mandy Robek, Katherine Sokolowski, and Brian Sepe:
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Shari Frost explains the power of Using Shared Writing to Build Argument Skills in intermediate classrooms:
Subheadings are a neglected but useful tool for teaching students about key topics in their writing, as Heather Rader discovers in Subheading Literacy:
In this week’s video, Stella Villalba confers with first grader Jocelyn about the information text she is writing about bunnies. Jocelyn is an English language learner, and this conference demonstrates the value of oral rehearsal for young ELL writers:
Are your adolescent readers present in body, if not in spirit by springtime? We’ve featured the “book madness” bracket activity in the past for elementary students. Gretchen Schroeder finds the ranking, competition, and passionate discussion of favorite books is just what her high school students need to get their heads back in the reading game:
New PD2Go: Writing Reviews
In this video, second grader Kincaid shares a complex system of recording beloved fantasy books and characters. Even though it wasn’t planned, Kincaid ends up exploring the structure of reviews as a way to inform and explain his fantasy reading preferences.
The video and workshop guide complement Common Core Standard W.2.2: Write informative/explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section.
That’s all for this week!