Rather than typical teacher-led discussion, the project fostered independent conversation between students.
Though teachers were not involved in student online dialogues, the conversations evidenced the same reading strategies promoted in teacher-led discussion, including predication, clarification, interpretation, and others. Back to top Diane Waff, co-director of the Philadelphia Writing Project, taught in an urban school where boys outnumbered girls four to one in her classroom.
The situation left girls feeling overwhelmed, according to Waff, and their "voices faded into the background, overpowered by more aggressive male voices." Determined not to ignore this unhealthy situation, Waff urged students to face the problem head-on, asking them to write about gender-based problems in their journals.
"By confronting these gender-based problems directly," says Waff, "the effect was to improve the lives of individual students and the social well-being of the wider school community." WAFF, DIANE. "Romance in the Classroom: Inviting Discourse on Gender and Power." The Quarterly (17) 2.
Back to top Jan Matsuoka, a teacher-consultant with the Bay Area Writing Project (California), describes a revision conference she held with a third grade English language learner named Sandee, who had written about a recent trip to Los Angeles.
These ideas originated as full-length articles in NWP publications (a link to the full article accompanies each idea below).
Debbie Rotkow, a co-director of the Coastal Georgia Writing Project, makes use of the real-life circumstances of her first grade students to help them compose writing that, in Frank Smith's words, is "natural and purposeful." When a child comes to school with a fresh haircut or a tattered book bag, these events can inspire a poem.
The students then used these words to create phrases and used the phrases to produce the poem itself. He sees metawriting (writing about writing) as a way to help students reduce errors in their academic prose.
As a group, students put together words in ways Fleer didn't believe many of them could have done if they were working on their own, and after creating several group poems, some students felt confident enough to work alone. Joyce explains one metawriting strategy: After reading each essay, he selects one error that occurs frequently in a student's work and points out each instance in which the error is made.
The writers then told the stories behind their headlines.
As each student had only three minutes to talk, they needed to make decisions about what was important and to clarify details as they proceeded.