Where have the unicorns gone? Into the flowery
moment of dawn. Lynn Reichle and her second-grade students
are about to begin a writing adventure. And aren’t her words just wonderful?
Developed at Columbia University, the framework Ms. Reichle uses is called The Writers’ Workshop.
She just didn’t say that it went to a flower, did she? No. To a valley of flowers.
The tight link between reading and writing in this program appeals to the Principal,
Dr. Anne McClellan. The reason we chose our writing program is
there’s research out there that says we need to make writing real for the kids. And also
to use best models and we thought why not connect the reading and writing which is what
the research says and showcase the author’s voice through wonderful pieces of literature.
I would like to get some suggestions of what you are going to begin with today. Leila?
Where do leaves go when they blow away. Yeah, where do they go? Zach.
THE ENDLESS ANIMALS! Rebecca?
Where do shells go in the ocean? Not all teachers present writing as explicitly
as Ms. Reichle. A lot of teachers were not teaching writing.
We began to investigate the few teachers that were and we saw not only were their children
better writers but they were also better readers. It’s now time to move from planning to the
next stage of writing: drafting. The kids fan out and begin their own stories.
(music) Most kids work alone, but Ms. Reichle is always
available to help…and to introduce them to the next critical stage of writing: revising.
I need it. How could it leave me in shame? Although I know there’s no one to blame. Just
like that, the seasons run by. Bye bye spring. Adios summer. That’s a bummer.
Where do the bees run? Okay.
Eager to leave the deadly hum of silence, pass cities of waves, soaring in the air,
past yesterday’s cry of the rooster, past opposites of colors.
Even though you repeated the word “past” a lot, it didn’t make me want to stop hearing
it, so that’s good. I like that. It just put an exciting touch to it.
Yeah, yeah. Ms. Reichle arms her students with powerful
guidelines for editing-the final stage of writing.
We’re not going to use tired words, right? And you, you know what some of the tired words
are, right? Jessica? Pretty.
Pretty. What else? Beautiful.
Beautiful. And that’s where the literature comes in also.
These books are filled with beautiful language and sophisticated words. And that also helps
them to figure out another way to say it. What if we need to use the tired words?
If you need to use a tired word, I want you to think really hard another way you can say
it. For the kids, the best part of Writer’s Workshop
is sharing their stories. And research shows that peer discussion helps them become better
writers, too. Did you circle your favorite line? Circle
your favorite line. Your favorite one so far. Where does time go? It goes into yesterday
and then tomorrow, and then it goes into today. Where does time go? It ticks away in the day.
Where do shells go? In the deep ocean blue, in the bumpy lumpy sand, where do shells go?
Where have the Pegasus gone? Writing is grueling for many children, but
Writers’ Workshop makes it easier. With a structured approach and a gifted teacher like
Ms. Reichle, these children are developing their skills-and even discovering that writing
can be fun. I think how this helps the children—it makes
them become life-long writers. It makes them comfortable; they have no inhibitions about
writing. These students are preparing for the challenges
ahead, gaining the power to write their own happy endings.