Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Write in the Middle
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Write in the Middle
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Workshop 7: Responding to Writing: Peer to Peer

Vivian Johnson

Vivian Johnson and a peer group respond to a student's poem.
Vivian Johnson and a peer group respond to a student's poem.

Vivian Johnson's eighth-grade students respond to each other's writing both formally and informally, in pairs, in small groups, and as a class.

At the beginning of the year, Vivian uses humor to illustrate good conference manners by modeling what a bad conference looks like—the responder appears distracted, fails to listen, and is rude and obnoxious in other ways. After a discussion of the actual characteristics of an effective conference, Vivian relies on lots of practice to help her students become more successful in responding to their peers' writing.

Vivian's classroom segments in Workshop 7 include examples of pair conferences, small-group response, and whole-class response as well as her use of a technique adapted from Linda Rief's book Seeking Diversity: Language Arts With Adolescents, which uses a conference form and sticky notes to allow many students to write responses to a single piece of writing.

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