My lesson philosophy: when teaching writing, assess the process as well as the the product. And differentiate like crazy!
When I was a kid , I was taught to write by teachers who--for the most part--showed more interest in what form my final product took than the interest they showed my writing process. "Write an essay," or "Write a book report," or "Write a story," or "Write a poem"--these are the products I remember being asked to complete as a student writer. "Let's learn some new pre-writing skills" or "I really want to you learn new things about yourself as a reviser" are statements I don't remember hearing from my teachers.
My work with the Northern Nevada Writing Project stopped me from doing the same thing to my own students. Now make no mistake, my students create specific and final products for their writing portfolios, but we understand that our process is the most important thing we reflect upon when assessing our writing. When I focused my own students more on the process than product, I finally learned how to teach writing, not simply assign it. The NNWP started me on an enlightening journey as I continue to strive to be a better writing teacher.
The other invaluable lesson given to me by the NNWP was to rethink my writing lessons so they'd honor all of my students' ability levels and all their learning styles. I recognized, during the NNWP's amazing summer institute in 1996, I was already doing some elements of differentiated instruction, but I knew I could be doing so much more. Their institute came to me at a perfect time in my career as a teacher and a life-long learner.
Today, I am a teacher-trainer as well as a writing teacher. I facilitate lesson-design workshops where participants design new lessons that are more focused on both the writing process and differentiated instruction. The very best lessons that are created by participants during my workshops are posted as part of the lesson collection at the WritingFix website. With each workshop I conduct, I try to post a new lesson of my own at WritingFix so I can share in my participants' process and thinking. With so many years of doing this, I have created multiple lessons that can be found at WritingFix.
On this page, I offer you direct access to sixteen of my most original and favorite lessons that are housed at the WritingFix website; I also offer your access to eight lessons created by fellow NNWP graduates that I think are simply brilliant lessons!