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Teaching Writers to Reflect

Strategies for a More Thoughtful Writing Workshop

By Anne Whitney, Colleen McCracken, Deana Washell
Foreword by Katie Wood Ray

Teach children the skill of reflection as part of your writing workshop. 

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Even if your writing workshop hums with the sound of productive work most days, with time carved out for sharing and reflecting, how do you know whether your students are really learning from their writing experiences, or if they’re just going through the motions of writing? What if you could teach your students to reflect—in a powerful, deliberate way—throughout the writing process?

Teaching Writers to Reflect shares a three step process—remember, describe, act--to help students develop as writers who know for themselves what they are doing and why. The authors argue that teaching the skill of reflection helps students:

• Build identities as writers within a community of writers
• Learn what to do when there’s a problem in their writing
• Make writing skills transferable to more than one writing situation.

With specific teaching strategies, examples of student work and stories from their own classrooms, Whitney, McCracken and Washell help you align the work of reflection with your writing workshop structure.  After learning to reflect on what they do as writers, students not only can say things about the texts they have written, but also can talk about their own abilities, challenges, and the processes by which they solve writing problems.

Additional Resource Information

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Ch. 1: Why Reflection?

Making the Case for Reflection
Teaching Reflection, Not Just Expecting Reflection
Looking Forward: Where Reflection Leads Us
Ch. 2: Writers Remember
Remembering Connects Us to Identity
Teaching Remembering
Strategies for Remembering
Ch. 3: Writers Describe
Specific Language Signals Membership in a Community
Specific Language Makes It Possible to Give and Receive Feedback
Strategies for Describing
Ch. 4: Writers Act
Action Helps Writers Move Forward
Strategies for Acting
Ch. 5: From Reflection to Self-Assessment
Strategies for Self-Assessment
Where Reflection Takes Us