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on November 19, 1999
This is one of the best books I've seen for helping teach students to be better writers. It gives short minilessons that can give ideas and teach writing techniques with examples. I love it. I wouldn't teach writing without it
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on August 6, 2000
Ralph Fletcher is incredible!! This book is a must for anyone who teaches writing. It helps teachers understand writing isn't about some formula to get kids to pass a test, but about craft!! Many teachers who teach writing in the elementary grades don't even understand many pieces of craft...me included, until I got my hands on this book. This is actual application into classroom situations. I highly recommend that you also have "What A Writer Needs", as a companion to this book because it takes each piece of the craft into more depth. Worth every penny and more!!
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on March 20, 2004
I'm a relatively new teacher, and have switched grade levels every year. Teaching writing has been one of the biggest challenges for me. I believe in a writing workshop model, and use a lot of 6 Traits ideas. I knew that both relied on the idea of the writing "mini-lesson" but I really didn't know what those should look like or what kinds of topics they should cover. This book has been a godsend. I disagree with those who say that this book is too rigid. Yes, each lesson identifies particular literature resources which can be used. If you have that book, that's awesome. If not, just adapt the lesson for use with a different book that illustrates the same concept. The point is, these are concise 15 minute mini-lessons that really help your students recognize writing craft, and give them accessible ideas which they can use to improve their own writing.
And, incidentally, if you're building up your classroom library, your school library, or your bookroom, the literature selections that ARE mentioned in this book are uniformly fabulous. I carry a copy of the list of books used in these lessons each time I go to a used book store.
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on June 19, 2001
This book is chock full of practical lessons WITH great literature suggestions. The first book on writing that I have read that gives me the resources instead of telling me more boring philosophy on the workshop approach---I already buy into it, please help me manage it and plan for it!
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on March 27, 2000
Although I don't believe writing, or the teaching of writing should be formula this book has proven to be a great resources for new teachers. I do a lot of staff development in writing and the teaching of writing and found this books to be honest in it's goals while using literature as a base for modeled writing. If you are wondering where to start or trying to find another way to teach the same old thing I am sure there will be a grade level appropriate idea here.
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on March 5, 2003
The idea behind this book is fantastic--to divide different aspects of writing based on grade level and specific writing skills, and provide helpful (and they are helpful to some degree) tips on how to teach students about these skills. A plus to the book is the logical progression from one lesson to the next.
For me, the downside of this book is its rigidity. Unless you want to incorporate their suggested readings into your classroom as well, I suggest you buy a book describing different writing skills in general. As a Spanish teacher, I read this book with the hope of incorporating their ideas into my own classroom, but I found that the lessons were so closely tied to their own recommended story or poem that there was no way of adapting them.
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on February 24, 2001
Upon receiving my first teaching job, I was given this book by my vice-principal. He said it had come highly recommended. Although I found a few ideas that I could make into lessons for my students, by and large the lessons were very difficult to use for me. Mainly, this was because they are based on very specific books or short stories. Because I did not have access to these stories, it made it very difficult for me to use the book. If you are looking for mini-lessons for writing, there are much better books out there. Try, for example some of Barry Lane's books; they are marvelously helpful.
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on August 6, 2001
Ralph Fletcher and Joann Portalupi have teamed up to create a book that is easy to understand and apply in the classroom setting. The lessons can be adapted for all elementary grades and everything is spelled out for you as the teacher - including the titles of books to use. Those familiar with the 6 Traits will find concrete examples to help develop each skill.
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on August 24, 2005
Ralph Fletcher is my mentor as I teach all aspects of writing to my students. Wonderful mini-lessons and writing strategies are backed up by sound pedagogy and research. A must have book!
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on December 3, 2006
Unlike many other writing books that abound with theories and fluff, this book cuts straight to the core and gives you minilessons that you can implement in your classroom TODAY! It focuses on adding craft to writing, so don't expect it to be a full writing curriculum or talk about mechanics, but the lessons it provides are top notch. It contains different sections for grades 1 and 2 3 and 4 5 and 6, revisiting similar skills on different levels. A must for any writing teacher!
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