I love when a professional book comes along that embraces my philosophy and passion for writing with students. I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of Melanie Meehan’s upcoming book Every Child Can Write from Corwin. One of my biggest beliefs is that there should be a place at the table for all writers and we as teachers have the power to create that space.
As part of the BLOG TOUR for this book (Stop 1, Stop 2) I wanted to focus on Melanie’s insights into environment. As she states, “Environments matter. Instruction and learning happen within environments, and it’s our job to set them up to be as conducive to achievement for everyone as we possibly can.” She shares a message from her 4th grade teacher friend, Missie Champagne, who told her class, “Everything in this room is made for you or by you.” Imagine how empowering that message is for students to hear, that this room is personalized for you! The intentional choices we make to set up our environments might not be obvious to every child-we need to help them see that this space reflects and reinforces the learning and the goals we have for success.
Melanie has 3 big ideas for environment:
- Striving writers benefit from an organized environment, and they need routines in order to maintain that organization.
- Our classroom spaces should contain only materials that foster student learning and independence.
- The more we create, provide, and encourage the use of tools for independence and repertoire, the more learning will happen in our classrooms.
She then meticulously shares ideas for how to set up the environment and create routines that help our students move toward greater independence. She shares tips on how to reduce clutter, maximize the physical space for working, and how to choose materials and tools to promote more self-directed learning.
She really encourages us to look at our classroom through a different lens. Do our spaces reflect our priorities? Would someone be able to recognize our recent learning emphasis? Does this help students learn? Do students know how to use this? DO they use this? So often we see ideas in other classrooms, on social media, or TpT and wonder if we should try it. Being reflective and intentional in what we want our students to learn and do will guide our decisions regarding environments, and Melanie’s book can help you to become more reflective and intentional.
She also has a chapter on routines that can help you be just as reflective. She has examined some of the roadblocks to independence that inhibit writing and offers some support for teachers.
Melanie has 3 big ideas for classroom management and routines:
- Transitions work best when everyone gets to where they belong during instruction and independent writing time.
- In order for instruction to be effective, students must not only listen to it, they must understand it.
- Independent writing time should involve independent writing.
Now you might look at these and think, “Duh, that seems pretty obvious,” but we know it doesn’t always happen, especially for our striving writers. Melanie offers tips to help involve the students in the set up of routines and expectations as well as help teachers anticipate the inevitable challenges and barriers for students’ success. Teachers will definitely come away with more tools in their classroom management toolkits after reading this chapter.
The rest of Melanie’s book offers ideas and inspiration for supporting all writers with many of the “pitfalls and potholes” that inevitably occur, especially for those students who keep you up at night with worry and concern. She’ll help you establish entry points, bridges, and pathways for all writers to succeed.
Tomorrow, Lynne Dorfman will continue the conversation as the next stop on the blog tour, followed by Fran McVeigh. Please plan to join the #G2Great Twitter chat all about Every Child Can Learn, on Thursday, October 4th at 8:30 EST,.
For a chance to win your own copy of Every Child Can Write, please leave a comment by October 7th. I will use a random number generator to pick the winner’s commenter number.
Please leave a valid e-mail address when you post your comment so I can contact you to obtain your mailing address if you win. From there, a contact at Corwin will ship the book to you. (NOTE: Your e-mail address will not be published online if you leave it in the e-mail field only.)
If you are the winner of the book, I will email you with the subject line of EVERY CHILD CAN WRITE within five days of receipt. A new winner will be chosen if a response isn’t received within five days of the giveaway announcement.
24 thoughts on “Every Child Can Write Blog Tour Stop 3”
I love the focus on environment. This has implications for teaching writing, but also for teaching in general. I love the quote that says everything is made for you and by you. That’s what makes a classroom a community! Really looking forward to reading this book!
Every post I read about Melanie’s book and the possibilities for teaching striving writers has me thinking about teaching striving learners in all curricular areas. She is a master teacher and amazing coach and I cannot wait to read her book.
Lisa, I can easily imagine you applying these ideas to all content areas!
Paula, I love how you pull out the big ideas in these chapters. Two words are sticking with me: reflection and intentionality. So important! Thank you (and don’t use me for the giveaway!)
I think those two words really capture Melanie’s big ideas.
So many great books and authors!
This is such a great introduction to this section of Melanie’s book. It’s so much fun to watch how the content plus our own writing produces such wonderful texts!
I agree, Fran. It IS fun to watch.
Such good advice to create a writing environment. I know I will be reading this book soon.
Maybe you’ll win a copy here, Elsie! Good luck!
I just love the ideas around reflection as a tool for helping us be more intentional in our classrooms. I think it’s rmpowering!
Me, too, Laurie. Without it we can’t make informed and intentional moves in our teaching!
I believe that students need to have ownership in the classroom: items on the wall is their work. They help mount displays. Everyone has a role to play and is entitled to a voice. I believe every child can write and it is important to celebrate where they are.
I’m with you you! I love your advice to CELEBRATE where they are!
I’d like to know more about this environment.
This appears to be a book so rich in practical and supportive suggestions! Well done Melanie!
Reflection & intentionality… YES! I am LOVING all of the posts about this book on the blog tour. The book sounds amazing.
Love the synthesis of the big ideas Paula. The one that has been a focus of mine is the intentionality of tools to support transfer and independence. Looking forward to reading more!
You are such a great model of intentionality, Susan.
I am so excited for Melanie to get her amazing and practical ideas out to the world. I can’t wait to read it. Even after 30+ years, I can still use reminders of how to be responsive to the needs of my writers.
I’m eager to read Melanie’s book! Creating a space where writers create stuff is important, and yet challenging at the same time. I’d like to learn more from her ideas.
I cannot wait for my copy to arrive. If I win an additional copy I have the perfect first year teacher who will be blessed by her own book! Wonderful text!!