Carl Anderson at UWCSEA

We were fortunate to have Literacy consultant, Carl Anderson, working with us at Dover for the week, 17th Sept to 21st Sept 2012. During that time, Carl conducted a full day workshop for teachers K1 to G5 and then lab-sites and grade level meetings for the remainder of the week.

Teachers observed Carl's conversational approach to conferring with student writers. With each conference, there was a predictable structure which consisted of finding out what the child was doing as a writing by talking to them and looking at their writing, and then helping the child to understand how to do their writing work better. During the conferences, he used published texts and his own writing to provide a model of his teaching. He talked about supporting writers in three areas:
  • As an initiator of writing
  • As a writer who writes well
  • As a writer who has a writing process which works for them
Carl shared with us the aims of developing lifelong writers who can:
  • Communicate meaning
  • Use genre knowledge
  • Structure their writing
  • Write with detail
  • Give their writing voice
  • Use conventions

Teachers were asked to feedback on their week long Professional Development and these were some of the things they commented on:

Focus on the writer not the writing
Conferring and giving specific feedback is essential in Writing Workshop
Conferences last about 5 mins with an aim to confer with about 4 students within a workshop
Record keeping which is manageable and helpful with approx. 3 writing goals for students
Try to build a repertoire of conferences relevant to the grade level
Teach children that they have a role in the conference
Conferences will have a focus relevant to the part of the writing process they are in

Following Carl's work with us, teachers are feeling excited about trying some of the new conferring strategies they had learned.

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