Birmingham Seaholm High School, Birmingham, Michigan
12th grade creative writing
8, Watch It, Do It, Know It. Segment begins approximately
14 minutes 45 seconds into the program.
Primary Learning Objectives
in the learning activities and following the models demonstrated
by the instructor, students should be able to:
- understand and use all the tools of
analyze text, reflect on it and, discuss it with their peers
- explore the techniques of a writers'
workshop and a mini-lesson
responsible for their own learning by designing and conducting
mini-lessons for other students
Groups of students discussed the work of their
writing class and decided they wanted to strengthen their
ability to write engaging descriptions. Based on that, they
designed and conducted mini-lessons using the writer's workshop
models that the teacher also follows. The students created
five stations corresponding to each of the five senses. Other
students in the class moved from station to station, experiencing
something using one of their senses and describing it in writing.
One member of the planning group supervised each "station
of the senses." At the end of the exercise, students
shared their writings with the class and discussed them.
References for the writer's workshop come from
- The Art of Teaching Writing
by Lucy McCormick Calkins (Heinemann, Portsmouth, NH 1994)
- In the Middle
by Nancie Atwell (Heinemann Boynton/Cook, Portsmouth, NH
Learning Theories to Consider
- Cognitive Apprenticeship
- Learning in a Social Context
- Culture and Learning
Pete Shaheen demonstrates the advanced outcomes
of a cognitive apprenticeship approach that incorporates peer
teaching with his 12th grade writing class. Shaheen
explains that the process involves finding a way to transfer
the domain of authority from the teacher to the students.
As peer teaching is strengthened over time, the teacher becomes
less involved in teaching and more involved in guiding and
advising students to become independent learners. More importantly,
he assist students in wanting to be in control of how they
learn and what they learn to enhance their knowledge.
This scenario shows three students led by a
peer teacher as they explore the use of their senses to enhance
their writing skills. The student peer-teacher guides the
other students through the experience of touching items in
a paper bag. Participants then describe their sensations orally
and ultimately in writing.
There are several learning theories presented
in this scenario. Pete Shaheen uses Cognitive Apprenticeship to influence learning by organizing knowledge in a
scaffolding method designed to transfer teaching to students
who ultimately become peer-teachers. As they take on the role
of teacher, he helps students to make their thinking visible
so they can talk about their ideas with each other to improve
their writing skills. The students are learning from each
other in a Social Context
as they work together in small groups to design their writing
projects. They inspire each other to enhance their writing
by employing the paper bag exercise and then getting students
to think "outside of the bag."
As he gives students opportunities to structure
their own learning, he forces them to use Metacognition. They must think about their own learning strategies
and design activities to help each other learn. Finally, Shaheen
demonstrates that none of these learning theories could take
place unless the classroom is designed to be a safe environment
where students can test their ideas based on their own cultural
experiences. He recognizes the relationship of Culture
and Learning as he structures
the learning culture of his class to be complementary to the
culture and ethnicity of the students.
Sequenced Writing Assignments:
- Make a list of up to five key ideas from
each of the four learning theories presented: cognitive
apprenticeship, culture and learning, learning in a social
context and metacognition. Next, try to identify a way the teacher applied
each of those key ideas as he planned and executed his learning
activities. For example, under "learning in a social
context," you might list, "Teacher put a group
of students together to create the learning activity."
You may find it useful to put your list
in the form of a table. We have provided templates in either
format if you choose to do this.
You may find that some key ideas from the learning theories
are not represented in the scenario. For now, leave a blank
space after them. You may also find that you are repeating
some of the things the teacher did because they are applications
of key ideas from more than one learning theory.
- Review your list of key
ideas and fill in the blanks from Assignment A by suggesting
things the teacher could do to apply the key ideas you listed
but did NOT see represented already. Suggest other practical
things the teacher could do to incorporate key learning
theory ideas into his classroom activities.
Reflect on the completed
table and record your reflections about how the theories
intersect or interact. How might your own teaching practices
take advantage of what you see happening in this scenario?
- As an alternative to these
tasks, follow the directions of your group leader or the
teacher of your class to write about this scenario and how
one or more learning theories might apply to it. Or decide
as a group how you might use it as a case for further study
Samples and tools to help you with the scenario
- Sample rubrics in html
format to assess your writings
sample for Scenario Four, Assignments A and B, (in PDF
format) to use as a model
- Templates in Word
format for the assignments