This post is taken from the foreword to Rozlyn Linder's The Big Book of Details: 46 Moves For Teaching Writers To Elaborate, out now.
By Harvey "Smokey" Daniels
Yikes, I cringe when I think of all the times I scrawled add more detail in the margin of some student’s paper (usually not in red ink, I wasn’t that mean, but still). OK, no excuses, but I was a victim of the benighted times, nobody told me any different, and I hadn’t met Roz Linder yet.
This lively and practical book addresses a persistent problem in our profession. We still don’t show kids how to write. More broadly, we don’t demonstrate how literate people think. Sure, we’re great at assigning, demanding, and commanding literacy activities of all kinds: “Read Chapter 7 for Friday.” “Write an essay on this article.” “Take a position on this controversy and support it with evidence from the text.” But when it comes to the how-to part, where we ought to demonstrate how such mental work gets done, we too often abandon our students and let them guess how a skilled reader or writer might tackle the task. Sometimes we even withhold further “teaching” until assessment time, when we tally up the wrong answers on the comprehension quiz or drench kids’ papers with red ink.
Roz Linder spent a lot of time teaching her students how to elaborate and how to use moves in their writing to convey a point of view. If you want to appear unbiased, she taught them, you might use a third-person point of view. In today's video post, you'll learn how Roz's students took their writing knowledge and used it in their real lives, making for a great, yet slightly awkward, moment in Roz's teaching.
When Rozlyn Linder was a new teacher, her writers didn't get it. She would ask them to elaborate, to provide more detail, but it's hard to explain what a detail is to a young writer. So Roz went on a mentor text mission to see how people elaborate. Watch the video below to learn how she figured it out.
In the foreword to Rozlyn Linder's newest book, The Big Book of Details, Harvey "Smokey" Daniels writes, "It's rare for teachers to open up their own heads and demonstrate their own writing, let alone simultaneously explain what mental moves they are using along the way. And there's an extra challenge: we teachers may feel less confident about ourselves as model writers than we do as readers."
That’s why Roz Linder wrote The Big Book of Details. “To help our students use details and elaborate effectively,” she writes, “we need to find out what they want their writing to do, and then show them explicitmoves to make it happen.”
In this video, get to know Roz and how she reaches students we typically overlook—reluctant readers or timid writers—and who might not catch up unless there are explicit strategies in place.