What is so special about Colleen Cruz's ambitious book is that she shows us that we can truly teach independence in writing. Our students can become writers who take initiative, make plans, learn from other writers, and apply writing strategies on their own, not only in class, but outside of school. I know of no other book quite like this one!
Carl Anderson, Author of How’s It Going?
This book has the potential to change the professional conversation about the teaching of writing . . . Many thanks to Colleen for writing a book that will take us somewhere new.
Katie Wood Ray, Author of What You Know by Heart
We all dream of leading thriving writing workshops in which every student is hard at work on a self-initiated, self-designed piece, each completely different from the next. We dream of creating confident writers that don't rely on us to put their thoughts and words to paper in powerful ways. The path to realizing this dream can be chaotic. With this much-needed book, Colleen Cruz brings us the courage, humor, and ingenious methods we need to coach students to work and excel at writing on their own.
Lucy Calkins , Author of The Art of Teaching Writing
There is a truth, and an irony, in thisthat writing is a supreme act of independence and yet most writing programs foster inherently dependent behaviors. But no more. Colleen Cruz knows that it's possible to teach and fully support a whole classroom full of independent writers. And you can do this with each young writer no matter the genre, the topic, or the stage of the writing process. With Independent Writing, she takes you inside her classroom and documents a full school year of writing instruction with plentiful student examples, teacher's notes, practical advice, and attention to writing standards.
Cruz offers a variety of methods not only to get students writing independently, but to get them producing work that both reflects their own interests and displays their skills. Look inside for:
step-by-step instructions in the use of "mentor texts"published pieces of writing used to inform students' own work in progress
ways to turn notebooks into authentic working documents by referring to writing notebooks of professional writers
examples for changing the classroom into a writing colony full of writers who can be a resource to each other
suggestions for dealing with trouble, maintaining quality of work, and moving forward
easy-to-follow charts for organizing minilessons, addressing problems, and making modifications for students needing additional support.
Children can "make or write anything they want," says Cruz, and they can do it independently if they are shown how. Find out how in this practical book. And make each of your students a lifelong writer.
1. Getting Started
2. Finding and Using Mentors in the Independent Workshop
3. When the Writer's Notebook Becomes the Writer's Notebook
4. The Writing Colony: Building Community for Independent Writers
6. Taking Stock and Moving Forward: Assessment and Planning Writing Lives
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