Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Literature Bibliography

Me Read? No Way! (Ontario Ministry of Education)
Strategies That Work (Stephanie Harvey)
McGrath, C. (2006). The Pleasures of the Text. The New York Times Magazine. Jan. 22, 2006. P. 15.
Feiler, B. (2005) Where God Was Born, Harper Colllins As accessed Jan. 22, 2006:


Extensive research has taken apart the traditional spelling strategies we have been using since the Agrarian Age. Old fashioned texts and spelling activities are passe in the current literacy research.  The good spellers are good readers and writers. This is what the research shows. The others need access to strategies, such as word walls and personal spellers, which assist them.

Digital technology has not proven to be helpful, since homonyms totally abrogate any gains.  Computer Aided Instruction (CAI) results in a higher engagement for writers, but the tools create new burdens while removing others. CAI studies show that writers do not produce better, more sophisticated writing. Putting text on a computer does not increase reading comprehension, nor better spellers. Spell check brings up too many words and the weak speller cannot differentiate between homonyms. What works best for weak spellers are computer applications which incorporate a personal dictionary. These personal dictionaries can get around the homonym issue.
Spelling includes Word identification, Text comprehension and Writing. We need to be teaching workds, word identification and phonics, which may be more important, especially for the special needs students, by which students respond to reading and writing activities. Students who have difficulty with word recognition read infrequently and read slowly. We must attack this problem with a two-edged sword: increase literacy opportunities and time reading, rather than bashing away at phonics and meaningless spelling activities. Spelling often cannot be taught, but can be encouraged.

(MacArther, Ferretti, Okola, Cavalier, 2001)

Jo Phenix published this sometime ago.
-Peer tutoring for spelling help
-Peer tutoring: editing help
-Direct teaching
-Webbing ideas: creating a vocabulary base
-The act of handwriting = learning (Piaget): write the words
-Word wall word bank
-Personal spelling word bank
-Prewriting prompts
-Writing frames (Quennville, 2001)
-Draw stories or take photos (pre-writing)


Journal prompts

This part reminds me of when ...
I predict ...
I wish the author ...
If I could change one part ...
I think ...
I was surprised when ...
I wonder why ... or what...
The most important thing(s) I learned ...
I didn't understand ...
My favourite ...
I noticed ...
I liked (or disliked, or was bothered by) the part ...
I think (a character) will ...
If I were (a character) I would ...
The setting ...
As I was reading, I was thinking about ...


from Guiding Readers and Writers, Grades 3-6, Fountas and Pinnel, 2001
These authors have 2 chapters devoted to reading response journals including different types of journals with specific student samples, teacher lessons and teacher comments. A minimum is presented below.
a. I question the accuracy of ...

b. I found this book hard to follow when ...
c. The title of this book says to me ...
d. This book helped me to ...
e. This book makes me want to ...
f. After the book ends, I predict ...
g. I noticed that the author ...
h. I think the illustrations ...
i. The author is qualified to write this book because ...
j. To summarize the text, I would say ...
k. I'd like to read another book by this author because ...
The most important word in this book is ____ because ...
l. The big ideas in this book were ...

Guiding Reading

From Guiding the Reading Process, David Booth, Pembroke Publishers, 1998.

a. What were your expectations when you began reading this book?
b. Did you change your mind as you got into the book?
c. What puzzles grew out of reading this book?
d. What did you learn about life from the book - about different places, about history, science, religion etc.
e. Did the author have enough background about the content of the book to help you learn more as a reader?
f. How fast did the author move the plot along?
Who was the voice the author chose as narrator - first person,third person, a storyteller, a different voice, or the author himself or herself? Did this style work well?
g. What was more important, the plot or the characters?
David Booth goes on to list another 30-40 questions to help focus student thoughts and responses to the text.


Retell and Predict

For short stories, this works.... Story Analysis. Students compare 3 stories.
Concept: Making Connections: Two column note forms (see image for example).

A new project

With great excitement, I have volunteered to facilitate a Creative Writing program in two institutions.
I have been rereading my curriculum materials, generating a list of supplies, putting together the opening activities, and generally determining the entry plan for this project.

I have had a training workshop, established security clearance, I have a photo ID badge, and visited the two sites. Code of ethics agreements have been signed and I am nearly ready to put plans on paper.

Opening activities will be introductions, and a request that participants introduce themselves and explain what they hope to get from the hour and a half we spend together.

My first job is explaining that there are many myths around writing, creative writing, and poetry, but
  • poems do not have to rhyme
  • anyone can write
  • not all teachers are horrible people
  • spelling doesn't count (this is why we have editors!)
I teach writing as a process, and work hard to facilitate creating a product, but it isn't the product that is the important part.

What I hope to get from my participants is to learn from them and refine my skills as a facilitator. I love reading and writing. I have read many books written by those who teach writing; Natalie Goldberg, Nancy Atwell, to name a few.  I gave away most of my books to teachers still teaching.
But I have embedded all of these strategies into my teaching practice and can bring them out when I know I need them. A teachable moment.

Activities for readers

Kylene Beers speaks of creating an equal number of questions about each of the following:

Questions to Encourage Reflection About the Plot
• Questions to Encourage Reflection on the Characters
• Questions to Encourage Reflection About the Setting
• Questions to Encourage Reflection About the Theme
• Questions to Encourage Reflection on the

  • Point of View
  • Author's Style
  • Author
Stephanie Harvey's work concludes that we need to:

1. Choose the Text for Questioning.
2. Introduce the Strategy.
3. Model Thinking Aloud
4. Mark the Text with Stick-on Note
5. Allow Time for Guided Practice.

From Strategies That Work, Stephanie Harvey, Stenhouse, 2000

Harvey explains the forms that journals can take. Her emphasis is often on double or triple column journals.
Harvey has posted a two-page handout: Stephanie's Textlifting handouts from the workshop.
She also provides an excellent tutorial in the 7 comprehension strategies which include:
  • Making Connections
  • Questioning
  • Inferring
  • Determining importance
  • Visualizing
  • Synthesizing
  • Monitoring for Meaning.

From Conversations, Regi Routman, Heinemann, 2000

a. Describe similarities and differences between you and a character.
b. Show how event(s) or character(s) remind you of your own life.
c. Write as if you were a character in the book.
d. Make a prediction about what will happen (and then alter or confirm it).
e. Raise questions about what's unclear or puzzling.
f. Summarize key points in the story.
g. Record the key point of the story.
There is an entire page with more of these ideas.


I encourage students to create an AHA response!
They divide their paper in half. On one side they can record facts and important information from the text. On the right half their AHAs.
An AHA can be

  • something new I learned
  • a connection I made with my own life
  • something that startled me
  • an idea I may want to research
  • a place I heard this same idea
  • this makes sense because...
  • this answers a question I thought about....

Fluent Readers:

Several teacher-researchers suggest that a mini-lesson, followed by 20 -25 minutes of independent reading time, and ending with a 10 minute sharing period works best with more expereinced readers.
Examples of mini-lesson topics:
  • Strategies good readers use.
  • How to read books (how to hold, open, turn pages, how to treat books, read illustrations).
  • Choosing books.
  • Using soft voices to read aloud.
  • Pointing to the words while reading.
  • Noticing interesting words.
  • Noticing the dedication.
  • What the author does to make the reader laugh or feel sad.
  • How illustrations help the reader.
  • Why the author wrote the book.
  • How characters change.
  • How characters are described.
  • Comparing characters.
  • Finding point of view.
  • Defining the features of a particular genre.
  • How the setting affects the story.
  • What makes a good beginning to a story.
  • What makes a good ending to a story.
  • How to find the mood of a story.
From the MCPS Literacy Guide.

    Personal Response to the Text

    Questions to Encourage a Personal Response to the Text

    a. What are your first thoughts about this text? What in the text caused those thoughts?
    b. What emotions or feelings did you have while reading the text? Identify the parts that caused those feelings.
    c. Did anything in this text remind you of your own life?
    d. Did this text remind you of any other texts? Movies? Plays? Why?
    e. If you could talk to the author of this text, what would you ask about or comment on?
    f. If you were going to recommend this text to someone, who would it be? What in the text would that person like?
    g. What confused you or surprised you in this text?
    h. As you read this text, describe how you felt. For example, were you bored, caught up, thinking about characters, thinking about how you might react if in the same situation, enjoying the author's writing style, or enjoying the humor or suspense?
    i. Did you like the cover of the book? Why or why not? If not, how would you change it?
    j. Did you like the title of the book? Why or why not, how would you change it?
    From When Kids Can't Read What Teachers Can Do: A Guide For Teachers (Grades) 6-12, Kylene Beers, Heinemann, 2003

    Sample Sentence Starters

    I began to think...
    I love the way...
    I can't believe...
    I wonder why...
    I noticed....
    I think....
    I observed...
    I wonder...
    If I were....
    I'm not sure...
    I felt sad when...
    I like the way the author...
    I wish that ...
    This made me think of ...
    I was surprised...
    It seems like...
    I'm not sure...
    This story teaches...
    I began to think of ...

    Literary Sociograms

    Place the central character/s at the centre of the diagram
    • Let the physical distance between characters reflect the perceived psychological distance between characters.
    • Let the size of the shape representing a character vary with (a) the importance, or (b) the power of the character.
    • Show the direction of a relationship by an arrow, and its nature by a brief label.
    • Represent substantiated relationships by a solid line and inferred relationships by a broken line.
    • Circle active characters with a solid line. Circle significantly absent characters with a broken line.
    • Place the characters who support the main character on one side of a dividing line, and antagonistic characters on the other (goodies vs baddies).

    Reading response questions

    1. I wonder what this means...
    2. I really don't understand this part...
    3. I really like/dislike this idea because...
    4. This character reminds me of somebody I know because...
    5. This character reminds me of me because...
    6. This character is like (name of the character) in (title of book) because...
    7. I think this setting is important because...
    8. This scene reminds me of a similar scene in (title of book) because...
    9. I like/dislike this writing because...
    10. This part is very realistic/unrealistic because...
    11. I think the relationship between ______ and ______ is interesting because...
    12. I like/dislike (name of character) because...
    13. This situation reminds me of a similar situation in my own life. It happened when...
    14. The character I most admire is ______ because...
    15. If I were (name of character) at this point, I would...

      1. What you liked or disliked and why...
      2. What you wish had happened...
      3. What you wish the author had included...
      4. Your opinion of the characters...
      5. Your opinion of the illustrations, table and figures...
      6. What you felt as you read...
      7. What you noticed when you read...
      8. Questions you have after reading...

      High Interest, Low Vocabulary

      • Paul Kropp, et al, Novels coming in April, 2005. Reading levels from grade 3 to 4, Interest levels from age 10 to 17.
      • A Bibliography of High Interest - Low Vocabulary Titles - For Middle Years .
      • Sylvan Lake Municipal Library : Reluctant Readers.
      • Patricia Birtwistle
      • "These books are intended to fill again the gap for young readers who are chronologically past the primary age but not yet ready to read material at the junior or intermediate levels."
      • The BOLDPRINT series are from Grades 4-8. Harcourt Press.

      How to Make Reading Easier

      1. Scan for the numbers, (i.e. dates, percentages, italics, bold print, names, places.)
      2. Read the title.
      3. Read all the subheadings and captions.
      4. Read the picture.
      5. Think about what you already know about the topic.
      6. Identify the main idea.
      7. Look for cognates: words that look or sound like English words.
      8. Look for words you are familiar with.
      9. Look for content clues.
      10. Use other resources, i.e. dictionaries.
      11. Read for understanding. Re-read the text to be sure.
      12. Ask yourself questions as you are reading.
      13. Think as you read: keep an AHA! Chart.

      14. Keep sticky notes nearby, jot Q.


      Choral Reading


      1. unison
      • everyone reads the poem together
      2. two part arrangement
      • one group speaks alternately with another
      • one child reads specific lines, rest join in on other lines
      3. soloist and chorus
      4. alternate lines
      • one pair of children reads lines, then next pair reads next lines etc.
      5. echo reading
      • one person (or teacher) reads a line and the group echoes back
      6. one word at a time
      • each child in turn reads one word of the selection
      7. closure
      • one person reads the poetry line while others chime in on the last word
      8. increasing/decreasing volume
      9. increasing/decreasing tempo
      10. effects
      • accompany choral reading with sound effects, music, movement, gesture, clapping rhythms
      11. divide into groups
      • each group comes up with its own interpretation of the poem
      • each group could also rearrange the order of the lines of the poem
      12. reader's theatre
      • read as part of reader's theatre with one character or a group chiming in verse at intervals
      • read poem as different characters or voices: elderly/ a baby/ a child, an optimist/ a pessimist , Little Red Riding Hood/ wolf etc.
      13. combine selections
      • combine 2 poems (or songs) with one group reading a line or lines from one poem and the other group alternating with the second poem, e.g. In Flanders Field and Imagine (Lennon)
      14. round
      • read in a round with each group starting and ending at different times

      Literacy in the modern world

               For many years, 2000, in fact, the church prevented regular folks from learning to read. The bible was not printed in English, it took Martin Luther to rectify that – after much pain and suffering. Liturgy was learned by rote and many, many youngsters learned their catechism by memorization. Church theology was controlled by the priests until 1522. It was Luther who translated the New Testament into the German language, making accessible to commoners.. At this point, people could think about his or her personal relationship with God and come to his or her own conclusions.
               Unfortunately, the ancient Catholic church philosophy was upheld in the slavery movement in the U.S., since slaves who could read could navigate their way to freedom. Literate slaves could use various means to figure out how to get away from their slave owners. Literate slaves could communicate with members of the Underground Railroad. Many of the most famous influencers in the anti-slavery movement taught slaves to read so that they might be free.
               In this, the Information Age, we are providing less information than ever before. Instead of “what Not to Wear” we need “what NOT to type”. China sends 76.4 billions text messages, the US 21.4 billion. Most of these messages have little depth and simply aid in meaningless communications. People in chat rooms communicate at such a surface level that we cannot imagine why they spend the time. Many times such communications end in disaster, rather than the improvement of the human condition.
               The communication pendulum has swung. Text message is a surface communication best used for breadth and quantity of communications, rather than depth of communication, understanding and knowledge. We are moving from “intimacy and substance” (McGrath, 2006) to the most pleurile and simple of communications. Young folks use L8R, rather than later, and “like” instead of, well, what are they really using for? It makes no sense.

      Sarah - a lesson in understanding

      I recall one of my students. Her name, we shall say, was Sarah. Sarah came to my gr. 8 creative writing classroom from a foster home. There are many studies that illustrate the biological, psychological, physiological, mental and emotional benefits of writing, but this one student, Sarah, showed me what it means to put your thoughts to paper.

      Her middle years were spent with her father. A strong man, a contractor who treated her with dignity and respect. Sarah was a tough, strong, essentially not a pretty girl, but she had an inner strength that I saw from within.

      With the other teachers, Sarah was belligerent. She was late to class. But I gave her choices. I told her how happy I was to see her, even late! I recall my father telling me about his math teacher who would say, 'Just on time!' no matter whether they were 5, 10 or 15 minutes late! She was accepted in my class. Her strength of character did not frighten me, as it did others. Mental health issues are not ones about which we should be frightened. We must understand them.

      Sarah had had a good life. She helped her father with his contracting work. She helped him plow driveways, driving the pick-up truck, as they do in rural Canada. Only 14 or 15, she had some sense of control of her life. She was competent, capable. She had a purpose and a family. She had dignity.
      Until her father died suddenly of a heart attack.

      When she came to me she had been kicked out of her mother and step-mother's house and placed in foster care. She simply didn't fit into her mother's life; her persona was too big, her strength of purpose too strong, and she lost her rock and her pillow in her father.

      She had made a few unsuccessful attempts at suicide, and had then swung over to another method to relieve her pain, cutting herself.

      Entering in October, she was an outsider, even in a fairly white, Protestant/Catholic community. With kids who had grown up together in either the bedroom communities outside of Ottawa, or on rural farms and towns. She knew no one, except the kids in her foster home.

      By this time we were working on a poetry unit. Some teachers find it hard to teach, others do not. I fall into the latter category. I taught a poetry style, had them try a few, and then collect poems they liked in that style, or write their own. This gave them some choice and freedom.

      Sarah shone. And she gained some respect. All of her poems were about her late father. The pain she suffered she managed to share with the others. I assuaged her pain, and helped them understand where she came from. At the end of the unit we put our poetry assignments into a folder and bound them. Sarah's were deep, wrenching difficult poems to read. They came from her heart and her soul. In some way, I think she was finally honouring her father's life and this lifted her up.

      I so loved this young lady. As things go, I changed schools, she moved on to the high school.

      One day, I was reading the paper and spotted her photo. She was the feature story on a panel that was planned to talk about teen suicide. They showed her physical scars, but could not possibly show her emotional scars: rejected by a mother and step-father, her anger breaking the family bond.

      I was so happy she could share her story with a wider audience. I met her one day, downtown, at a rock concert. I was between husbands, my kids were with their dad, and she was there with some friends. Covered with tatoos, as well as the marks of her pain, she was happy to see me. We hugged. It was the last I saw of her.

      Sunday, December 27, 2009

      Travel to another world

      I just finished watching the APTN People's Choice Awards. What a powerful message.

      The tributes, expecially, to Buffy St. Marie were fabulous. Buffy is a hero, in my eyes. A mover and shaker in the Indian world, she raised the profile of her people. In the days of protests, she chose her battles, and with a Ph.D in Fine Arts, produces state of the art work. a fabulous website.

      I visited the website: and found a ton of information I could have used back in the day.

      My adult children bought me the latest Buffy St. Marie CD, Running for the Drum, and I am thrilled with it. I saw this information featured on the CD ROm. What a wonderful tribute to an incredible career. I spent many years working with students, and teaching them  native studies. It is part of the Gr. 6 Ontario Curriculum.

      After a five-year stint on Sesame Street, she raised my awareness. In the world of educational children's TV, she introduced many topics on this program that had never before been dealt with. I very much enjoyed watching this show with my kids back in the good old days.

      My favourite field trip was to the International Aboriginal Festival in Ottawa. These are amazing opportunities to share aboriginal culture.

      I urge you to explore the richness of native culture.

      Their unique interactive multimedia CD SCIENCE: Through Native American Eyes is in use by teachers and students from grades 5 through college level. Manitoba school districts have a lot of resource materials. I have ordered many materials over the years, attended many a Pow Wow. But I must go back to my CD.

      Sunday, December 20, 2009

      December Holiday Season Questionnairre

      Students pair up, and interview each other. In this way they begin to understand that there is no right or wrong holiday traditions, and that there are many kinds of families, with varied traditions.

      This works, especially for children in divorced and divided families, for which traditions may have recently changed, or for students in varied socioeconomic groups. I often had children who may have special time with one parent, or the other, or foster students who visited family for a few days. For those who have lost a parent, for example, it is important to honour their new traditions. Marlo Thomas' Free To Be Book has some fabulous stories in this vein.

      Having taught in schools with as many varied religions as can be, we learned to find similarities, and to share our stories of celebration. It can be as simple as having pizza with non-custodial Dad on 'Christmas Eve', to high mass, or for students it may involve candle-lighting ceremonies, and the breaking of bread. Across the traditions, we find similarities and common languages in terms of foods, symbols, celebratory indicators, music, and the giving of gifts.

      The student interviews another asking:

      1. What are the special foods you eat at this time of year?
      2. Do you travel over the holidays? Tell me where and with whom.
      3. Will you see friends and family?
      4. Do you plan any parties? Tell me about them.
      5. Do you have special music?

      6. Do you have a special ceremony (lighting the mennorah, fasting, sharing meals, attending church, synagogue, or mosque).
      7. Are there any decorations you place in your home?
      8. Which is your favourite part of the December School holidays?
      9. What kinds of stories do you read or listen to at this time of year?
      10. What are the colours you associate with December?
      11. What are the symbols you associate with December? (Muslims look for the moon, light is a symbol common to many religions, candles, etc.)
      12. Do you give gifts? When, where, how many?

      Thursday, December 17, 2009

      Holiday Celebrations

      Diwali Festival of Light was Oct. 28, 2008
      Essential principles of Diwali
      1. Light over darkness
      2. Goodness over evil
      3. Enlightenment of blind faith
      4. Prosperity over poverty
      The are pancultural principles. I have always found in my multicultural classrooms, that we have more in common with each other that we thought.

      Holiday Traditions Activities

      We have been talking in class about our FESTIVALS and Celebrations. Our classroom represents many different nationalities and religious practices. Our December unit begins with our traditional celebrations Questionnaire. Many of us celebrate in a variety of ways. We interview each other and compare and contrast our celebrations.

      Language Arts


      Brainstorm vocabulary words, write "I remember..." stories [timed writing], Crossword/ wordsearches, Mad Libs: teach nouns, verbs, plural nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs.
      Read: The Blind Beggar-Poet story, Christmas with Mary Cook [life in the 1930's], Muslim Child, by R. Khan, Ramadan Story, read: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, p. 222 Impressions series: Cross the Golden river, listen to Stuart McLean's Xmas CD stories.
      Spelling: this is a list of vocabulary words we discuss. These words are used throughout the unit and are available in case they need to be used.


      Art -- Felt fridge magnets based on various symbols of student's traditions , snowman mobile, stained glass windows,
      What multiculturalism means in terms of:
      Music: different eras, kinds of instruments, types of music, analyse the difference between secular December songs and Christmas carols, songs of other religious groups: dreydle song, Wassail Songs [Medieval practices] etc.
      Dance/Drama: cultural rituals, dances, art works related e.g. Totem poles, masks, etc.
      Poetry: Acronym, Diamonte, Alliteration, Shape Poems.

      Integrated: music/dance/drama: Choralization to a specific poem.


      People are basically
      the same.
      Yet each of us is unique.
      We speak
      different languages
      We believe
      in different faiths.
      We eat different foods.
      We have different
      beliefs and values.
      All of these differences
      make up the wonderful
      world we have.
      But remember,
      these differences will
      only make our lives richer
      and more rewarding
      if we can learn to respect
      each other.
      By: Joanna Wong

      Social Studies

      Multiculturalism Unit: Box of Treasures
      Begin by brainstorming. Identify the following:
      1. different ethnic groups in your community
      2. different languages spoken by students and staff in your school
      3. significant Holidays celebrated by students in your class
      4. ethnic treasures and artifacts of different cultures


      What is it really about?
      What does the word multiculturalism mean to you
      Do you support a multiculturalism policy? Why or why not?
      What are some of the negative aspects of racism?
      How do you think we can eliminate racism?
      Think of as many ways as possible.

      Wednesday, December 9, 2009

      Children and Grief

      There are many ways to help children deal with grief. Losing anyone or anything is especially difficult for children. Losing a loved one is most difficult, but loss is experienced by children who are losing a family unit to divorce, for example. Adults, of course, regularly experience loss and from losing a childhood pet, we learn how to manage our emotions in a healthy way, for the most part.

      As adults, we must model the normal bereavement process for children. Ceremonies, and chances to aknowlege our loss is important. We must allow them to experience their emotions. Anger is a fairly common problem. What I saw in my students was anger displaced onto one another, or onto those closest to us in families. Children awake in the morning, and experience that sense of grief as they realize daddy will not be there to drive them to school. Then, they cannot find their favourite running shoes. Mom nags to hurry faster. Slowly, but surely, that bottle of emotions is over flowing and the emotions become displaced upon the people around us. A sister who takes too long in the bathroom. The more tired, hungry, or sick kids are, the more they are affected by emotions.

      Who else would we lash out at, but those with whom normal interactions become places where grief and anger can rise to the surface. We need to find healthy ways for kids to relieve these emotions. For some, music or art, or exercise, helps assuage our grief.

      I worked with Expressive Arts Therapist, Elke Scholz, on an 8-week Bereavement group with children in Muskoka. It was a powerful experience!

      Making a collage in honour to a loved one.
      Creating a poem, or a song.
      One of my students wrote a eulogy for a grandparent. I helped her to write down what she felt, and the ways in which her poppa was an integral part of her life. The Catholic priest would not permit her to read it during the service, but she did read it at the wake. Everyone in the class grieved a little that day, and felt the better for it. Mom turned up to take her to the funeral and we all gave her a hug.

      Kübler-Ross wrote about the five stages of grief:
      denial, bargaining, depression, anger, acceptance are all inter-related. In her later years she reflected more about these stages, and recognized that they are not sequential, nor linear, nor do we move through them at the same speed, in the same way, nor are we ever finished grieving.

      Often, in the school system in which I taught, when a teacher passed away unexpectedly, staff would be anxious to attend the funeral. Teachers from various near-by schools would then cover for those, combining classes, and sharing the burden. During these times we then re-experienced our own grief and the losses we had felt in our own lives.

      Elke Scholz work in expressive arts- photos from the group

      1. Respect their needs to talk or to be silent.
      2. Deal with the issues as they arise. Talk to the Trauma Response team if you have students who are directly affected.
      3. Listen to their concerns.
      4. Let them you know you are upset, too.
      5. Model the means by which you deal with your grief.
      6. Do not tell them the answers if you do not know the answers.
      7. Clear up faulty misperceptions, if they arise. (During 9/11 kids were afraid to walk home.  Kids were afraid for their pets, relatives, etc.)
      8. Have them talk to their parents about their feelings. Parents need to know.
      9. Let them tell their stories. Draw pictures, create poems, write letters.
      10. Make a fear box. Cut out pictures from newspapers & magazines that represent their fears.
      11. Write down your fears. Assign them a number from 1 - 5. have them talk about these fears with their families.
      12. Help others. Give a donation to one of the relief agencies.

      This video demonstrates how emotions are bottled up inside. By adding a kind word, a kindred spirit, or a listening ear, we can help others deal with grief in their own way, in their own time.

      Sunday, December 6, 2009

      Ontario Winter Games

      How very exciting. The Ontario Winter Games are coming. It will be held in Rosseau, Baysville, Huntsville, Gravenhurst and all sorts of places in My Muskoka. Cast of thousands! Athletes will be staying in a wide variety of accomodations. There are maps of the venues, as far as Sudbury!

      The Ontario Winter Games are scheduled for March 4 to 7, 2010. Opening Ceremonies, March 4th, 2010, Gravenhurst Wharf. Cross-country skiing will be held Jan. 16 and 17. This will prove to be a good practice run for the  G8 2010. With similar numbers expected. Much less security, mind you! 

      This is a great opportunity for teachers to learn with their students. I wrote a PowerPoint slide show framework for the kids to use for their research.

       They expect 3,300 athletes, coaches, officials and up to 10,000 spectators. Holy smokes. An estimated $4 million in economic benefits for the local economy. You can register as a volunteer, before Dec. 20. Your local face for the 2010 Ontario Winter Games  <= These are the folks hired to coordinate it all.

      Ice Storm '98

      Ice Storm ´98

      This is a collection of stories or letters students wrote for me to convey messages and to explore their feelings about the Ice Storm of1998.I  was living in Osgoode and we were without power for 11 days. Our street had 3 hydro posts down and it took awhile to get our power back, despite the efforts of teams and teams of Hydro crews, imported from other regions, working long, long hours. We ate in the Osgoode Recreation Association (RA)hall, served by the mitary and volunteers with power who lived in the city of Ottawa. We were grateful for a warm place to eat and use thefacilities. Our house was on town water. We had a pellet stove which we used to try and keep the pipes from freezing. It was less than adequate heat and we had to dump antifreeze in our plumbing.
      My son I sent to live with his father (my ex), along with the cat. Our food we should have left in the freezer as it was very very cold and would not have thawed. But I sent food along to my ex-husband and his wife, who had power in a nearby suburb. Eventually, we moved in with neighbours who had a fireplace in a large, open concept living room. It was still rather cold and we slept overnight with a friend in Ottawa. Oce the schools opened up we were grateful to get back togehter, talk about our experiences, share our fears, nightmares, and funny stories. Many families found generators and were able to manage in their homes. They brought neighbours over for food, shelter and warmth. Those with animals to care for worried over keeping them warm and fed and sheltered. It was a major task. Everyone stepped up to the plate, however, and our local store: general store, LCBO, gas station, video store, had brought in extra batteries and generators where they could.
      I recall rising that first morning very early on. It must have been 5:00 a.m. and I could see a transformer sparking blue in that gruesome otherworld silence. As I stood by the window, I saw a firehall truck come by. Our precious firefighters, who worked long and hard caring for us all, were driving down the street with beacons and searchlights looking for dangerous lines across the road and damage. The sounds were frightening: cracking of branches, and later on the cracking noises of whole trees falling and smashing to the ground. It was dark for days, as it rained all week and there were no lights on anywhere nearby. As the thermometer dipped below freezing last in the week after the rainfall, it was a damp kind of cold!
      Our daily trips to and from the city, once we moved in with friends, were very emotional. Many, many crews were working on the hydo lines. The ice that caked the trees was frightening. The wilted hydro towers, trees cracked by the weight of the ice,workers toiling in the wet, rain and the frigid temperatrues were disheartening and disturbing to see. I still get the heebie-jeebies when we have freezing rain and prepare accordingly. Now, living in Muskoka, my new husband and I have a seamless generator. For this I am grateful and I feel much more secure. The hurricane or tornado that hit us August 2, 2006, left much damage and further assaulted my sensibilities.
      But that is my story.
      I taught these students at Rideau Valley Middle School and by the Spring the pain was not over. They were concerned, with getting their property cleaned up and dead branches cut up and prepared for pick-up. We were experiencing lots of scratches and bruises but the worked hard and learned to work in family teams to help achieve a goal. Students were strong in having survived -20 degree C temperatures in January, 1998. It was marvellous how well we worked together, supoprted one another and healed from this process. There is much research to support this strategy (autobiography in therapy) and I laud my students who shared their work. At the time we even created artwork and gif to put with our stories. They have since been lost as I changed schools, school boards, computers and regions.
      The process was one which we developed over time. We wrote first drafts, edited and revised second and third drafts, with the help of peers and volunteers. Eventually, we posted them on the school website (they were since removed). It was a moving process that took months and helped in the healing process. Much the same as the process used in The Freedom Writers, by Erin Gruwell, with a lot less pain, but as much impact.
      Class of 1998 Jennifer Jilks (Mrs. Martin in those days!

      These were grade 6 students in class 6-6, my homeroom at the time.

      Ice Storm Letter

      Hello. My name is Alasdair. I'm in Grade 6 and 11 years old. I have two sisters and two parents. My interests are Star Trek and math.
      The Ice Storm of ´98 was horrible. Trees were encrusted with ice, which caused them to break and fall. The same thing happened to power lines, which resulted in no power for 13 days. In some places, it lasted even longer. People either stood at home and froze, went to special shelters, or, in my case, went to a relatives´ home that had power. Animals probably either starved or died quite a bit.
      The clean-up was even worse. It had to start around March, when it was much warmer.During the ice storm, people already put up new power lines, so that was out of the way. But we still had to cut down trees, or tree branches, that were damaged in the ice storm. Birds nested in the wood piles, but they were scared off by cars that drove near the piles on the side of the road. The storm also caused lots of flooding in Ontario, Quebec, and a bit of New York.

      by Alasdair

      Dear Greg,

      This winter we suffered from a great storm called the ice storm. The trees are down, the yards are messy and all the birds are losing their homes. I am doing a lot of cleaning and I didn´t have much free time. But the good news is most of the workers are starting to clean up all the trees. One more thing, we also lost power for two weeks. That means no T.V, no radio, no Nintendo, no food, or light, can you imagine? But at least we survived.

      Our school was closed and we were off for two weeks. There were not many trees down at our school but it still looked different.
      You might be interested in our hockey system. It is great it gives every kid a chance to do something they love.

      by Jordan

      I Survived The Ice Storm of ´98

      It is an experience I will never forget. I will start with the bad things first, my yard was demolished,there was a huge clean up, no water and no electricity. It was like the pioneer days.
      During the ice storm you could hear trees clashing and clanging at night. It was really scary. Now for the good stuff , when are neighbours trees fell down we helped pick them up, so they did the same for us .
      During the ice storm my mom worked at the fire hall and we donated food to the fire hall, and people would come to the fire hall and have a good meal. We ended the ice storm by a big warm BONFIRE. So I'm proud to say , I survived the ice storm of ´98.
      The Chilling End

      by Erika

      How are you? I don´t know if you heard that we had a big ice storm here in January. When the power first went off on January 5th nobody really thought anything of it. When my grandma told me that it might be off until January 8 it boggled my mind. If we had known the power would be off for the next two weeks we wouldn´t have believed it.
      Everthing was covered with about 3 or 4 inches of ice. Whenever we went outside we could hear branches cracking. Community Centers opened up for people to come get food or maybe even sleep there.
      The effects of the ice storm are bad. Trees are cracked and broken. Some houses and barns were damanged when trees fell on them. People died from cold. Some died by carbon dioxide poisoning. Others died when thier house caught fire by burning candles. People lost income because they couldn't go to work.
      What we are doing now is cleaning up branches. Pretty much every spare minute of my dad´s life is spent up in a tree with a chainsaw. Yesterday they came and took away our branches but what will we do with the rest?

      by Beth

      The Ice Storm

      1998 it was the worst ice storm that many people can remember. Hydro workers worked night and day. My family was fortunate in three ways. First of all, we only had little shrubs and bushes and not many branches fell off. As many other houses who had many big trees had thousands of branches to pick up. The trees were covered in ice one inch thick which made it much harder to pick up. On my deck there was ice one foot thick.
      The second way why I was fortunate: many of the villages had telephone poles break. Some people had telephone poles fall on their houses. In my subdivision, all the wires are underground. People were in the dark for a long time. We were in the dark for two weeks.
      The third way why I was fortunate was we have a wood stove which would heat the whole house. We also cooked on it. We had Coleman lanterns which came in handy. So we were lucky. I guess Mother Nature wanted to show us the old days.

      by Philip

      ICE STORM ´98

      Hey, it´s Courtney I am almost 12 years old. I am in grade 6 and in Rideau Valley Middle School. I like to listen to music and hang out with my friends. I have alot of friends.
      So what did you do in the ice storm? I lived with a wood stove and cooked my food on that .
      Are you going to clean up? cuz if I do I get a pool, well I already have a one but we didn´t get it yet. So did you lose you power for along time? I did I lost it for maybe three weeks, my sister lost it for four.


      The Ice Storm

      The ice storm went on for a couple of weeks .Trees and tree branches fell constantly.You could go skating on your back yard .School was closed because the road was icy. Animals died because they froze.
      Many trees died. Telephone wires broke poles fell. Plants collapsed.
      We had to fix the house. We had to collect trees and branches cut down. We had to fix poles and wires.

      by Andrew

      Hi! I´m Matt M. and I´m in grade six. I like football, racing, and sports. I have 3 brothers Nick 10, Joe 8, Brody 4. My mom and dad are named Jen and Dave. I also have a dog named Balloo. He is still a puppy.
      My school building is huge. We have almost 500 kids in this school. My subjects are L.A., S+S, Phys. Ed., science, arts, math, and French. We have 5 classes a day. In arts I´m in design and tech. About 3 months ago we had ICE STORM ´98 and my family was without power for almost 3 weeks. It was just plain scary, knowing that you couldn´t go outside without hearing a branch crack. Luckily we didn´t have a lot of trees to cleanup.


      Dear Emily,

      I guess you haven´t heard about the icestorm from me.
      Well it was January 6 and I was sleeping and the tree above my room was falling on the roof. I ran into my parent´s room because I couldn´t fall asleep. I looked out the window and saw hydro trucks and weird lights coming from my neighbor´s yard. I fell asleep on the floor with my sleeping bag. I saw weird lights and wondered what they were. Dad thought that they were strobe lights on top of our roof. I went to see what time it was but I couldn´t read the clock. THE POWER WAS OUT!!!!!!!! In the morning we made supper, I mean breakfast, on the barbeque. Oh and Dad almost got hit by trees that were falling towards the deck. Almost 4 days in we called Uncle Mike to see if he could find someone that had a generator. He did! He skidooed into the hunt camp and brought it out to Grandpa´s house in Arnprior. We finally got our power back on January 18 at 7:30 pm.
      The effects were bad we had a World War 3 in our yard. Mum said that we should have had Evan down on the March Break to help.
      The clean up is worse. It has taken from February to now. We are still working !!!

      Bye, Your Cousin, Stephanie

      It was dark, everything was dark not a light on in the town. The ice storm had taken out all power and we were left in the dark. Nothing to do but wait. Wait for power, hot food and water. People had different ways of coping. I handled it like this.
      In the morning I would play with the dog and wait for B.B.Q. eggs. In the afternoon, I would go out side and look at the damage. At night I would wait in the dark until I was so tired that I would half to go to sleep.
      All the people were affected by the ice storm, but the way was it caused, some say El Niño and some say just bad luck. I guess we will never know.


      Dear Great-Grandma

      Hi! How is everything down in California? I can bet that you are nice and warm. I am writing to you to tell you all about Ice Storm ´98. You’re lucky because you just missed it. You guys were sitting in the nice, warm sun, while we were sitting in the pitch-black [practically] almost freezing to death. But then we got some kerosene heaters and warmed up a little bit. Then we were invited over to my other grandma’s house, where they had a generator. Almost all of my relatives were there. My two aunts, one of my uncles, and 5 of my cousins. With all of that body heat, we kept warm. Sometimes we went to warm up our house, and to warm up our dog. We cooked our food on a Coleman stove. To warm up our house we had to wait a half-hour for the heater to actually warm up. One touch and the heater would blow out. My sister knocked it out 4 times.
      I hope you like our stories and letters. We found that the ice storm affected all of us most profoundly. The clean up later in spring, brought back memories, as well as wearing a lot of us out! This letter/story writing exercise helped release some of those pent up feelings. The house in which I was living was out of power for eleven days and it was the most stressful time one could imagine!

      Autobiography as therapy

      Saturday, December 5, 2009

      Field Trips 101

      Unscrambling crowd control! Lots of things that you need to know about creating a great elementary school field trip. We attended the International Aboriginal Festival in Ottawa with gr. 6 students.

      Tuesday, December 1, 2009

      Ancient Egypt

      This video demonstrates the coaching process as I taught my students to videotape their project. They created the project, and made the iMovie.

      These two gr. 6 students created a project based on a gr. 6 Ancient Civilizations theme. Another group filmed it and created an iMovie. They took information from a poster, did some more research, made a mask.

      Monday, November 30, 2009

      Bullying in the workplace

      It was 2003 or 2004. According to our teacher's Collective Agreement, if a principal wanted to discipline a teacher, s/he has the right to Federation representation. My principal, we called her "The Princess" behind her back, accosted me in the hallway. The Princess had been named this in her previous school, be her previous staff, with whom I served on Federation Executive. We knew her reputation.

      I was teaching in a portable at the time, far from the madding crowd. The Princess spoke harshly, and loudly, told me I was to appear in her office immediately. My legal response was, "Not without representation." I was the Shop Steward and I knew the rules. She said, "Fine. We'll do it here." In the hallway she proceeded to chew me out, not for the first time, for an apparent misdemeanour that could not wait.

      Two of my staff were just behind us, in the photocopy room. They heard her yelling at me. Parents in the school volunteering were not uncommon, and I worried that they might be listening to this verbal abuse. It had kept up for two years. It was continual, unavoidable, unpredictable, and demeaning. It lowered my self-esteem. I felt humiliated. I felt suddenly disempowered and totally in shock, having been an executive member for 20 years, a workshop presenter, a published author, a mentor, and leading Curriculum Technology expert. Eventually, my emotional illness began to become a physical illness. As a single parent, with many irons in the fire, my physical body was telling me that it could not accept this torture any more.

      I tried yoga, meditation, massage, exercise, speaking to Federation colleagues, counsellors. The bullying kept up. From teaching my favourite grade 6 class, out in the portable where we could do science experiments and take advantage of the out doors.

      This is an issue that is near and dear to my heart. having been bullied by my principal, which is not uncommon. A quick search after listening to a CBC radio show, demonstrates this fact. Across the world. Bullying in schools is not a new issue. It seems to be getting more press, and rightly so.

      Yes, I was bullied by a principal. She bullied me, female staff, prevented my Professional Dev't, she bullied and called the police on the Parent Council chair, thinking funds had been tampered with. She was a walking time bomb.

      I documented it in great detail. I took it to my union; they did not understand. I had witnessed to the final incident, who were willing to attest to the culminating incident.

      I wrote a letter, documenting in 7 pages the harassment, and sent it to my superintendent.
      The Sup't forwarded this to the health and safety officer who promised me help.
      Suddenly, there was no bullying according to the Health and Safety document, according to management, because gender and race was not involved. The bully's husband was a principal of program in the board office.

      I was traumatized and took a month off work.
      I still have issues with authority.
      Yes, it is PTSD. I retired early with a huge financial penalty.

      I hope something can be done. Bullies in school grow up to bully in the workplace. And people who are afraid of being unable to keep their power, bullying when managing. In hindsight, I could have gone to the Ontario Workplace Safety Council. The Board did not seem to care that I needed to use up LTD time, and needed to avoid the bullying in this way. It was not my style. They preferred paying for an occasional teacher to be in my classroom. When I used the Employee Assistance Plan to speak to a counsellor, they told me that principal bullying was on the increase.

      Bullying of Academics in Higher Education: Teachers want principal ...[PDF]

      Principals and Teachers: Bullied and Bullying Bullying teachers don't want parents regularly complaining to the principal or berating the principal's superiors; it's a simple matter of self-preservation.

      Bullying at Work | Teachers TV
      30 min - 19 Nov 2006

      The Bullying Prevention Handbook: A Guide for ... - Hoover -

        Teachers who bully students: A hidden trauma - Twemlow - Cited by 20
      Rural elementary students', parents', and teachers' ... - Stockdale - Cited by 46

      Bully Principal Costs Fortune

      6 Apr 2009 ... Teachers deserve a safe and healthy workplace, too. Bullied Teacher Wins $225000
      . Bully Principal and District Supporters Costs Employer

      Sunday, November 29, 2009

      Teachers deal with fear

      Remember, we are teachers, not guidance counselors, not parents, priests or psychologists. Find out who to talk to - on your student's behalf. I think, as teachers, we must remember to respect the children's feelings, as well as the parent's spiritual beliefs. During the aftermath of dealing with a family who had lost a child, I had disclosures from students who have families involved in terrorist activities.

      A principal in Toronto opened up a school to her families on Dec. 27th (2/3 of her student population were of Sri Lankan descent) and she let the children come in and play with friends, play games in the gym, whilst the parents went to temple to pray and deal with their grief.

      Kids do not need to be reminded of it. Kids may or may not be affected by it. They just want to be kids. It may be fairly removed from them, it may not. The parents must take the lead in helping kids through the grieving process and teachers must respect this process.

      During Ice Storm '98 (10 days in my community without power!) we talked about it, wrote about it, dealt with it.

      We wrote pretend letters to relatives about what we had felt and what we faced. it was healthy. As with Play Therapy with younger students, my gr. 6s were able to face fears, express fears. Younger kids can, and will, express fears in their play. Listen to them.

      During the aftermath of 9/11, very few kids were directly involved.  Those who were involved, as with kids who are going through bitter family divisions, found school to be a place of sanctuary. They found school to be a place where everything was "normal" and they could just be kids.

      1. Talk about your feelings. Have them tell their story about as much as you want. Draw pictures, create poems, write letters.

      2. Make a fear box. Cut out pictures from newspapers and magazines about their fears, paste around the box. Write down a list of fears and put it inside.

      3. Create a worry list. Make a list of your worries from 1 to 5. Number 1 is the biggest. Talk about this list with someone you trust. Your mom, your sister, your   guidance counselor, or your friend.

      4. Help others. Give food, clothing, or toys to people that need it. Suggest that your school family donates money to a related cause.

      5. Put a flag outside your house. It helps remind us we are all working together.

      6. Remember that we have all survived a   traumatic experience.

      Tidy up song

      This is the song we sang between activities. Our transition song.

      We adapted a 'tidy-up' song in 2004: rewrote the words together to make it suit us. I don't know where the song came from. I wrote it down having heard it on TV. I would sing it every time I wanted them to tidy. It is a great class project. A student video-taped the process.
      At the time, the board would not allow us to put the kids on tape.

      Saturday, November 28, 2009

      Friday, November 27, 2009

      Alien plasticene art

      Core French learning activity for elementary students. Plasticene 'aliens' with names, costumes, and identities were developed. The students created, in French they introduced their critters and give them cartoon-like personalities. They each took a photo of their alien, with students teaching the finer points of digital photography to each other.

      Thursday, November 26, 2009

      Elementary art idea

      What a massive undertaking.

      This was an art project created by the Primary team of teachers. Teaching staff researched an artist, created a learning activity, and presented it to a different class each week. They rotated homeroom classes gr. 1 - 3, with each teacher presenting the same lesson. The culminating activity was setting it up in the gym. The volunteer reception was held there with Junior students doing the videotape, interviewing visitors and staff, and reporting on the event.

      Wednesday, November 25, 2009

      Powerpoint projects with kids

      Superhero owerpoint roject
      There are many ways to integrate PowerPoint into curriculum with junior, intermediate and senior students. These are only a few subject areas in which technology infusion would enhance a project.
      The educator must be careful that they do not use it too much. Teachers balance a huge curriculum and must pick and choose their opportunities.
      • Biography on an Influential Writer
      • English - Language Arts / Writing (Composition)
      • Interactive Map of South America
      • Social Studies / Geography   
      • Musical Theatre
      • The Arts / Music
      • European Influences
      • Social Studies / History
      • Venus Transit Social Studies
      • Social Studies / History   
      • Adding Hyperlinks and Navigation
      • Educational Technology / Multimedia Education  
      • Artist's Critique
      • The Arts / Visual Arts
      • Book Review
      • English - Language Arts / Literature
      • Emerging Civilizations
      • Social Studies / World History  
      These lessons are all available on-line at Kidz On-line.
      Teachers can either teach the basics, or they can send students to on-line tutorials. These are seemingly boundless! I prefer to create a simple template, which scaffolds the process. Students can take the concept as far as they can and many of my fearless students manage to figure out all the bells and whistles. It is a good way to encourage children to think succinctly. Many, when presenting projects, read the entire text. In fact, some adults do the same thing. As student participate in research projects they may better understand the rules about PoiwerPoInt presentations. They need to keep the text succinct; readers do not want to read paragraphs.
      Other things to remember:
      • no more than 10 bullets per page
      • unifying content by clour and design i.e. sub-topics
      • graphics that enhance - rather than overwhelm
      • consistent backgrounds, colours and text
      • suitable font formal vs casual
      These are examples of "SuperHero Projects" my gr. 4/5 students created in 2004.

      Abbey Emily  Kaisa Kara Pauley Philip Jenn Jordyn

      These templates took a lot of time to create, but simplifies the task for students to enter and edit as they choose. 
      See also:

      PowerPoint Tutorial | PowerPoint Tutorial 2 | Kidz On-line Training | PPT FAQs | PowerPoint templates | Creating Classroom Presentations PowerPoint in the Classroom(amazing resources and information) | Tutorials in Print | PowerPoint Tutorial | Technology for Teachers: PowerPoint
      You can find templates and more templates | Storyboard template |

      Tuesday, November 24, 2009

      Narrative Writing

      Rationale—Narrative Writing offers students an opportunity to express themselves imaginatively and personally. The emphasis on style invites students to show their flare for creative writing.

      Time—Three class periods of 75 minutes
      Definition— Narrative Writing is an imaginative composition; such as a poem, script, short story, or personal essay. Narrative Writing is noted for its emotional connection with the reader and its entertaining purpose.
      Description of the task—You will use writing process to produce a piece of Narrative Writing in the form of poetry, personal essay, short story, or script.
      Final Product—You will submit a polished personal essay, short story, poem, or script. Attached to the final product should be your Writing Performance Sheet.
      Expectations covered in the task:
      Students will

      • demonstrate an understanding of literary forms, such as poems, short stories, scripts, and essays
      • use a unifying image, emotion, or sensation to structure descriptive paragraphs or poems
      • use literary forms suited to various purposes and audiences
      • edit and proofread to produce final drafts, using correct expression
      Assessment and Evaluation:
      The rubric provided will be used to evaluate the final product. Listen carefully while the teacher goes over the rubric before you start. Your teacher will indicate to you whether or not the Checklist and Writing Performance Sheet will be assessed.

      Narrative Writing Task:
      Write a personal essay, short story, poem, or script on one of the following topics: friendship, a special moment, or your future.
      Purpose: To entertain the reader.
      Audience: The audience is an adult reader who wants to be entertained by the personal or imagined experience of the student writer.
      Length: Approximately one to two typed pages in 12 pt Times New Roman or Palatino font.
      Due date: _______________
      What you need to know before you begin:
      1. Successful Narrative Writing comes from the heart as much as from the head. Write about a topic or experience for which you hold intense feelings. Strong feelings help you find the words to express yourself.
      2. Experiment with form. Once you have selected a topic, free write in one form; then, try another form to see if it is more appropriate to your purpose of entertaining the reader. Get a writing partner’s opinion on which form is more effective.
      3. Narrative Writing must have impact on the reader. Polish the final product so that the reader is delighted by powerful language.
      4. Know and understand the features of good Narrative Writing. Effective Narrative Writing has:
      • impact (writer captures and sustains the reader’s interest throughout),
      • credibility (writer selects details that are sufficient, credible and specific enough to support the intended effect),
      • appropriate form (writer presents fully expressed ideas or feelings in an order that makes sense and in a format that suits the purpose and audience),
      • superior style (writer strives to express ideas, feelings and supportive details in superior words and strong sentences that suit the purpose and audience), and
      • polish (writer polishes words, phrases and sentences so the reader is delighted by powerful language and not distracted by errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation).

      Process to follow to complete this task.
      1. Select one topic: friendship, a special moment, or your future.

      2. Brainstorm for details by imagining the situation you wish to write about.
      a. List details that come to mind immediately. Do not reject any detail yet.
      b. Add details that appeal to the senses.
      c. Add details that suggest body sensations.

      d. Add details of colour.
      e. Add details of weather.
      f. Add any other precise details.
      3. First Draft: to clarify ideas, feelings, details in a double-spaced rough draft. It is easier for most writers to write freely.
      4. Print a copy of your readable rough draft if you are working on a computer for this task.
      a. Complete the Checklist for Narrative Writing on your own before you work with a writing partner.
      b. Do not show the Checklist to your partner until after the end of the writing conference.
      c. Conduct a writing conference with a writing-partner regarding your rough draft.
      d. Read the readable rough draft aloud to your partner.
      e. As the partner listens, s/he should be filling out a blank Checklist for Narrative Writing to assist discussion after you have finished reading your paper.
      f. Discuss the differences between your two Checklists.
      g. Conference with another student if you wish another opinion about your rough draft.

      6. Revise your printed rough draft based on the feedback.
      7. Revise and proofread by using SCRAD: seek opportunities in your writing to
      Substitute (words, ideas),
      Correct (errors in spelling, grammar, and major errors),
      Rearrange (move sentences or words elsewhere if the move makes the writing clearer),
      Add (words or details or sentences to improve the clarity and interest)
      Delete (unnecessary words or sentences)
      8. Word process the final product, if possible, and submit double spaced.
      9. Attach a completed Writing Performance Sheet to the final copy.
      10. Your teacher may ask you to submit ALL rough work by hand or on computer from the start of the assignment to finish.
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