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Writing: Teachers & Children at Work

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0435082031
ISBN-10: 0435082035
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Heinemann (March 1, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0435082035
  • ISBN-13: 978-0435082031
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,303,395 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
As a doctoral student, an elementary school teacher, and a researcher, I read Writing: Teachers & Children At Work. Although I occasionally focused on the practical advice, especially the particulars of documenting children's development, this review highlights Graves' theoretical insights on how children learn to write and how teachers can support this learning.
Graves conducted an ethnographic study of first and third graders at Atkinson Academy in New Hampshire 1978-1980. Despite some criticism for not implementing experimental methods, Graves held that no meaningful knowledge about how children learn to write could be separated from the context and interaction (Smagorinsky, 1987). Graves organized this text with vignettes of particular students to highlight how teachers can successfully respond to various levels of development. Some of the issues include spelling and handwriting, self-confidence, task-avoidance, revision, skewed calibration, and student voice. The teacher should not try to focus on all aspects of writing at one time. Skills taught in the context of the child's own piece will last longer, especially if students are given frequent opportunities to write.
With each lesson, Graves stresses that students have 'funds of knowledge' (Moll et al, 1992) that teachers must tap into to further understand students' journeys as writers. The teacher must know the child and his/her process well enough to know which skill to select to help the child's intention in the piece (p. 314). With this awareness of their background knowledge and in a respectful, playful atmosphere that includes plenty of models of literature and tools for writing, teachers should allow students to choose their own topics. Graves repeatedly stresses both choice and time for writing.
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Format: Paperback
This is the book that first popularized the Writer's Workshop approach to teaching writing in elementary schools. I'm shocked that it is apparently not in print.
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By A Customer on September 5, 1998
Format: Paperback
If you are using Writer's Workshop in your classroom, this is the book you need.
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