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Conversations With Student Writers

Prepare for the Workshop

To prepare for this workshop, you will review the strategies you already use and read three articles about writing conferences from a single issue of School Talk, published by the National Council of Teachers of English.

Notebook.

What Do You Do?

In his seminal book, Writing: Teachers & Children at Work (Heinemann, 2003), Donald Graves discusses the most common questions teachers ask him about writing conferences. Some questions are ancillary to the conduct of conferences (How do I find the time? What are the other children doing when I have my conferences?); others relate to the practices within the conference (What is the best way to start a conference? How do I do less talking, and the children more?).

  • Think about how you incorporate conferences with your students into your writing instruction. Make a list of the questions you have about conferring with students. Share the list with your colleagues, or write them in your notebook.
Assignment.

Examine the Literature

Print out the Examine the Literature Response Chart (PDF). Then read the three articles listed below, recording your ideas on the chart during and after reading. When you have finished, save your chart to submit as an assignment.

Conversations With Student Writers (PDF)
In this article, you will learn strategies for approaching writing conferences as conversations.

Anderson, Carl. "Conversations With Student Writers." School Talk 6, no. 2 (January 2001): 2-5. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English. Copyright 2001 by the National Council of Teachers of English (www.ncte.org). Used with permission.

Teacher Talk: Developing Voice and Choice in Writing (PDF)
This article focuses on the importance of talk and how teachers might talk with their students, writer to writer, in the pre-writing stage of writing.

Siu-Runyan, Yvonne. "Teacher Talk: Developing Voice and Choice in Writing." School Talk 6, no. 2 (January 2001): 2-5. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English. Copyright 2001 by the National Council of Teachers of English (www.ncte.org). Used with permission.

The Writing Conference: Breaking the Silence (PDF)
In this article, you will explore the role of conferences in a writing workshop and identify practical guidelines for structuring conferences and providing feedback.

Fletcher, Ralph. "The Writing Conference: Breaking the Silence." School Talk 6, no. 2 (January 2001): 1-2. Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English. Copyright 2001 by the National Council of Teachers of English (www.ncte.org). Used with permission.

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