Writing Rehearsal

nature1In “The Art of Teaching Writing, author Lucy McCormick Calkins, discusses a technique for using a Writer’s Notebook as a tool for rehearsal. Often, children are given a topic on which to write and thus the battle begins. As adults we choose our own topics when we write, why not give the same freedom to children. We teach children to brainstorm, to map their ideas, experimenting with different ways to start writing yet Calkins writes, “… most writers say that rehearsal for writing is not a string of exercises that warms up a writer just prior to the process of drafting but a way of life.” (The Art of Teaching Writing, Lucy McCormick Calkins, Heinemann, 1994, page 24) Have your children simply jot down something they see, questions they may have, something funny or an aroma that makes them want some food item. Write what they notice, some memory that comes to mind, ideas, favorite words. Write down something they noticed in a movie or heard in a story that got their attention. They may even write about the transformer they just made or the computer game they just designed. Any sort of notebook will work. Let your children decorate it and simply jot down little bits of information. These are not long journal entries but simple, brief thoughts. These bits and pieces may or may not become a major piece of writing but simply a collection of little ideas and thoughts. It is a lot more fun than simply browsing through a list of topics or writing on a topic in a textbook.

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About Lucy Salerno

I have been a resident of Fairfield for over 25 years and have 30 years’ teaching experience in California K – 6 schools. I have been a music teacher, band and choral director, elementary teacher in grades K – 6, a district level technology coordinator teaching, and an elementary school administrator. In 2011, my most recent school, Scandia Elementary, on Travis Air Force Base, was awarded the California Distinguished School Award for work and programs implemented under my watch. Because of my broad educational background, I know and understand what is needed in today's difficult educational environment. I have taught writing to children in numerous grades as a core subject as well as integrating writing into other curricula areas. I retired a few years ago from the Travis Unified School District, I love working with children, and am now dedicating my services and skills in support of your children. Through love and patience, I hope to understand a child's needs, meet them where they are, build self-confidence and develop a life-long love of learning.
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