Writing Circles: Kids Revolutionize Workshop

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Listen to a podcast with Jim Vopat and Harvey "Smokey" Daniels.

"Ever wish there was a structure that let kids work collaboratively to generate writing topics, complete drafts, learn and practice positive ways of response, and develop published pieces? To give every kid in the class a feeling of success, a sense of what it means to be a writer? Writing Circles are here to grant those wishes."

-Jim Vopat

If literature circles work with your readers, Jim Vopat has exciting news: peer-led small groups are just as effective with writers.

Read Writing Circles and find out how they:

lead students from practice to progress as they write, respond, and lead one another toward better writing

motivate and engage everyone through choice-including struggling writers and English learners

develop voice and encourage risk-taking across genres

rehabilitate the writing wounded and nurture growth through peer response-not critique

make teaching more efficient by reducing the need for one-on-one conferring.

Vopat helps you get started with circles and shows how they can help you achieve instructional goals. He includes step-by-step guidance for implementation and assessment, activities that make management smooth, and minilessons that scaffold growth in skills, topic selection, and craft.

Writing Circles are a revolution, not an evolution, in writing workshop-the missing link between independent student writing and whole-group instruction.Try them with your students; give kids the space, safety, and support they need; and see why circles are as powerful for writers as they are for readers.

"Writing Circles is that elusive something new under the sun, a genuine departure and an exciting step ahead. It's what's next. And it is also something big.... If you are already using literature circles or book clubs in your classroom, you will immediately see how fresh and engaging Writing Circles is."

-Harvey "Smokey" Daniels

Author of Mini-lessons for Literature Circles and Literature Circles, Second Edition

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780325017464
  • Publisher: Heinemann
  • Publication date: 8/17/2009
  • Pages: 199
  • Sales rank: 636,643
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Writing Circles is Jim Vopat's latest book with Heinemann and the latest innovation in his career-long pursuit of powerful writing instruction and powerful collaboration for students and their teachers. At the core of Jim's work are his beliefs that every student is a writer, and that every teacher is a teacher of writing. To this end, he founded and codirects the Milwaukee Writing Project, serves as a faculty member of the Walloon Institute, and is Professor Emeritus of English at Carroll University. His previous books include the Heinemann title Micro Lessons in Writing as well as More than Bake Sales, The Parent Project, and What Makes Writing Good. Jim was a Fulbright Senior Serial Scholar to Sri Lanka from 1993-1996.
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Table of Contents

Foreword vi

Contributing Teachers VIII

1 The Tao of Writing Circles 1

Writing Circles? 1

Why Writing Circles? 6

2 The Basics 23

Thirteen Steps to Quality Writing 23

FAQ's 30

3 Getting Started 35

Day 1 35

Day 2 Up to Speed 42

Caution: Process Ahead! 44

What's the Teacher Doing? 45

How About the Kids? 51

4 Building Community 53

Drawing the Circle: Community-Building Strategies 53

5 Writeable Moments 69

Low-Risk Writing Activities 69

Identifying Genres 81

Recap 84

6 The Writing Circle Notebook 85

The Notebook as Accountability and Management Tool 86

The Notebook as Writing History 87

Thinking Back on Writing Circles 87

The Notebook Conference 89

Used Not Stored 89

7 Writing Circle Minilessons 91

Writing Topics, Skills, and Craft 91

Management and Group Dynamics 103

8 Positive Response 117

General Principles 117

Types of Low-Risk Responses 121

Classroom Examples 127

Documenting Response 129

9 Enjoyable Ways Kids Can Share Writing with the Whole Class 131

Ways of Inviting Whole-Class Sharing 132

10 Publishing Circles 137

Publishing Roles 137

Schedule 138

Role Descriptions and Forms 142

Publication and Celebration 150

11 Smooth Operators: Assessment, Evaluation, and Management 153

Self-Assessment Portfolios 154

Exit Slips 154

Comment Boards 155

Update Letters 155

Self-Evaluations 158

Good-Faith Grades 158

Anecdotal Records 161

Group Process Self-Evaluations 164

Reality Check 164

Red Plastic Cup 166

12 Writing Circle Variations 167

Content-Area Writing Circles 167

Teacher Writing Circles 169

13 Epilogue: The End Is Also the Beginning 173

Book Study Suggestions175

Thanks and Works Cited 190

Index 195

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