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Using the Workshop Approach in the High School English Classroom
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Using the Workshop Approach in the High School English Classroom
Modeling Effective Writing, Reading, and Thinking Strategies for Student Success

  • Cynthia D. Urbanski - University of North Carolina, Charlotte, USA, North Mecklenburg High School


October 2005 | 192 pages | Corwin

Everybody wins when you practice the workshop approach in high school English!

Do you find that preparing for standardized tests interferes with teaching advanced thinking, reading, and writing skills in a meaningful way? Do you want to balance test preparation with more creative activities? Success in school and beyond depends on one's ability to read fluently, write coherently, and think critically. This handbook uses the workshop model for exponentially increasing adolescents' abilities in these three key areas.

This practical guide addresses the daily running and practice of a workshop-based classroom, using research and the author's own experiences to illustrate how to establish a workshop that:

  • Fosters lasting learning while reinforcing the skills needed for standardized tests
  • Teaches audience and purpose as a vehicle to style and structure
  • Provides a supportive and lively environment in which students are comfortable enough to take risks and share original ideas

Try Urbanski's approach to teaching literacy analysis and mentoring student writers, and discover just how rewarding the workshop experience can be! 


 
Foreword by Lillian Brannon
 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Author
 
1. Running and Writing
The Workshop Culture – A Study of Coaching

 
Conclusions and The Mission

 
 
2. Who Writes the Rule Book Anyway? Accountability, Tests, and the History of Rhetoric
A Bit of History

 
And What About the Other Parts of My Curriculum?

 
Testing and Accountability

 
Conclusions

 
Suggested Reading

 
 
3. Coaching and Teaching By Doing; Modeling Thinking, Writing, and Reading
A Horror Story in Two Scenes

 
Scene I: Sunday Night Back in the Dark Ages

 
Scene II: Sunday Night One Week Later

 
Modeling; A Simple Concept With Huge Benefits

 
Modeling Gives Us Fresh Experiences to Draw From

 
Modeling Can Transform Our Classrooms

 
Modeling Fosters Authentic Learning

 
Modeling Will Supercharge Our Planning Time

 
Modeling In Our Classrooms: What Do We Do?

 
Modeling Concepts for Writing

 
A Lesson in Modeling Writing

 
Modeling Concepts for Reading

 
A Lesson in Modeling Close Reading and Analysis

 
Conclusions: Pulling It All Together and Coming Full Circle

 
 
4. Warming Up the Writing Muscles; Two Tools for Invention
Free Writing

 
What Is Free Writing . . . Really?

 
Why Does Free Writing Work?

 
Application: Helping Our Students Discover the Magic

 
A Lesson in Free Writing

 
The Last Word on Free Writing

 
Daybooks. A Place to Store Free Writing and Thinking

 
Conclusions

 
 
5. The Practice Field; Building Strength and Confidence in Writing and Literary Analysis
Types of Practice

 
Reader Response and Invention

 
In-Class Revision and Drafting

 
Types and Progression of Assignments as Practice

 
Conclusions

 
 
6. Race Day: Evaluation and the Idea of Grammar
Grammar in Context

 
The Bottom Line On Grammar

 
A Grammar Lesson

 
A Word of Caution

 
For Further Ideas

 
A Word About Standards

 
Watching the Race: Evaluating Student Writing

 
Grading Practice Writing Without Eradicating Its Purpose

 
Grading Response Journals or Daybooks

 
Grading Published Pieces

 
Portfolios: Looking at the Whole Season and Student Growth Over Time

 
Conclusions

 
Suggested Reading

 
 
7. Responding as a Spectator: The Writing Conference
Why Conference Anyway?

 
A Trek Through a Conference Log

 
Writing Conventions/Skills in Context

 
A Fifty-Minute Tutoring Session Translated Into a Ninety-Minute Class

 
Basic Behavior in a Writing Conference

 
A Close-up Look at a Conference

 
Conclusions

 
 
8. Becoming Independent; Writing and Literature Groups
A Scenario: Student Writing as Class Literature

 
Student Response to Groups

 
How to Make Groups Work

 
Model Functional Groups

 
Provide Structure and Incentive

 
Help Students Find Their Own Structure

 
What About the Kid Who Doesn’t Buy Into Group Work?

 
Timing

 
Writing Groups

 
Literature Groups

 
Conclusions

 
Suggested Reading

 
 
Epilogue – Why Teachers Coach
 
References
 
Index

"Both new and veteran English teachers will learn new strategies that will enrich their students' lives while greatly improving their writing clarity, voice and precision."

Charles M. Longbottom, International Baccalaureate Program Coordinator
North Mecklenburg High School, Huntersville, NC

"This book offers motivation and inspiration for preservice and novice English teachers and provides reassurance and encouragement for the veteran teachers who feel burdened by the standardization of education. It takes into account the high-stakes accountability of our current environment and documents results from research based practices. The examples and lessons reassure us that effective teaching does not have to give way to 'teaching to the test'."

Nelda R. Cockman, Clinical Assistant Professor
College of Education, University of North Carolina, Charlotte

"Drawing from her experience as a coach, the author demonstrates the importance of modeling in the classroom by reading and writing alongside her students, taking risks, and building a strong community of learners in the process. This book will inspire good English teachers to become great literacy coaches."

Robin Boswell, Middle School Language Arts Instructor
Concord Middle School, MI

"It is possible to balance test preparation with advanced thinking, reading, and writing skills. This book shows you how."

Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, May 2006
Key features

§         Strategies have been tested, refined, and used successfully in the classroom.

§         Written in an accessible tone, tied together with coaching/running as an extended metaphor

§         Sample rubrics

§         Numerous examples of student work

§         Numerous personal examples and vignettes

§         Practical teaching strategies

§         Practical ideas for classroom research/curriculum refinement

§         Research that supports (and strategies for using) free writing in the high school classroom

§         Research and practical advice about conferencing

§         Teaching grammar within the context of reading and writing

Sample Materials & Chapters

Foreward by Lillian Brannon

Chapter 1


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For instructors

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ISBN: 9781412925495
$31.95