I’ve created a way of planning on a chart that’s been helpful to me and the teachers with whom I work. Sometimes we create the chart together, and sometimes I do much of the planning and the teacher adds or subtracts to it according to what she or he believes are the needs of the class. Certainly response by students can change the plan. When, for example, some first drafts of a writing assignment are read, a different lesson may be needed before moving on to another draft, or additional conferring with individuals and small groups, etc. Here is a sample of part of one chart created with another teacher as we were beginning a few weeks of writing experiences with her students.
Date - Weekly Goal What Teachers Do What Students Do
Monday – During Workshop
Goal-Support for personal essay- something near and dear to one’s beliefs/heart – similar to a personal column piece-requires some research
Explore two topics - 1st draft of one
Read – I Want To Be by Thylias Moss, about a girl who discusses all the choices she has in the world. The point is to have students ponder who they are, what they believe in, what is important to them. Give copies of music essay by Julia B., but read together. Review page of the basic parts that are expected in this kind of essay. Let students brainstorm ideas that might be important ones for them to write about. (Another set of essays to use for examples is available for individual student study.)
Discuss their beliefs, what is important to each. Create a personal list after filing out the page called ‘first brainstorming’. Share many kinds of columns and essays for students to read, then come together as a group to share what was found.
After this session, independent writing time. The assignment is to write about two personal topics identified as personally important to see where it leads. In a few days, they should choose which is the one they’d like to develop.
Wednesday – During Workshop
Examine what is working well with the students. Share the positive and the negative-identify needs.
Make available the time for a productive conversation, listing tips from the group along with challenges.
During quiet writing time, individual conferring about the writing so far.
The plan will continue being filled in as we talk together and choose the paths the students need. It’s fun to work together, pooling resources and discussing what we’ve seen in the student work.