The Adventures of TDA: Chapter 5

Now that writers know what they need to prove, it’s time to draft. I approached this work by inviting students to notice, much like the work of Jeff Anderson.

While students turned and talked with their writing partners, I listened in for what they noticed about the structure of the introduction that I wrote for “Feathers”

These invitations to notice were very brief so over the course of a couple days, we were able to use the minilesson time as well as the midworkshop interrupt to look at the different parts of an essay that students could use as a mentor text for their own writing.

While students worked independently, they were able to confer with their writing partner when needed so that I could pull small groups. To determine small group instruction, I looked in their writing folders for patterns of needs. For example, on this particular day, I noticed four big patterns.

  1. Two students who used the introduction to retell the story
  2. Three students with unnecessary details and one with no background information in the introduction
  3. Two students who need to explain the evidence in the body paragraphs
  4. Five students who were struggling with writing a claim.

I was able to meet with all four groups and begin conferencing with individuals. For small groups I pull on the fly I like to use a giant post-it to quickly write out the strategy. If it’s one I know I’m going to do ahead of time, I might do the same thing or take the extra minute to create the strategy tool in slides so I can print it or use it electronically.

By having strong writing partnerships, students have support from their peer so that my time is free to pull groups.

Here’s a glimpse at some of the writing so far!

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