Wednesday, March 12, 2008

4th Grade Writing Tips (Gerri Smith)

GERRI SMITH – How do you manage to get such great Writing scores out of many low-performing students every year? Is there a special secret or skill you can share? (from Anne Tillis)

Anne it’s amazing that you asked me this question. I’ve never given serious thought to how I get the scores I get except prayers. I prayer on behalf of every child. As I look back on the students that I’ve taught, I now see one thing that is common with all the children that wanted a “6.” They had a passion that drove them to receive and believe everything that came out of my mouth regarding strategies that could improve their writing. On the other hand some students come to fourth grade not knowing anything about writing. So I allow them to jump in at their own pace until they are comfortable with what we are doing in class. Comfortable means sitting in my office with BC and writing down everything he is trying to tell me about his vacation. When I read it back to him, he says, “No, that’s not right,.I’ll write it myself!” After several visits in my office he now believes he can do it himself. How about MB who hid under his desk the first time we started to write in his class? He too, ended up in my office and we had a discussion to try and figure out what I needed to do to help him. Whatever it takes to win their confidence in me helping them achieve, I’ll do it. There’s no formula or straight shot to getting good results . Each child and each class is unique in their own way and I have the privilege of finding that out each new school year.

Thanks for asking,

G. Smith

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