Study group discussion: Of Primary Importance – Part II

February 26th, 2009

A group of teachers from Riverside Elementary School in Dublin, Ohio, have been reading and discussing Ann Marie Corgill’s book, Of Primary Importance since December. This month, two second-grade teachers share their reflections on the book. First, read about how the group started its work.

Debbie’s reflections:

I started out with the Personal Narratives. We shared some stories from Ralph Fletcher’s book Marshfield Dreams – When I Was A Kid. My class made a list of things that they were experts about at the beginning of the year for their writer’s notebooks. We continue to add to that list for reference and ideas.

They picked one idea to write about for their personal narrative and then we edited and published. I loved the ‘comment’ page we included at the end of the book. The children shared with each other and read the comments readers gave them. We shared with our first grade reading buddies also. We would like to arrange a time with all of second grade where the kids can browse the other class’s personal narratives and make comments.

I think that being able to read the comments others have made, drives home the idea that you are writing for an audience. As a beginning teacher many years ago, I read books by Donald Graves for my writing workshop. I feel that Of Primary Importance reinforces many of those ideas I continue to hold valuable for my writers in my classroom, i.e. the writing folders, the sharing of the writing, the ease to implement the writing process for young children, having supplies out and available for them to access.

Anita’s reflections:

After reading Of Primary Importance, I wanted to try to slow down and dig deeper with my students. I’m also working on giving them more time and choice with their work.

I have encouraged students to write several stories and choose thier favorite one to publish. We will celebrate their finished piece of writing at the end of the unit.

As a team we have have also discussed how the celebrations can extend beyond invidual classrooms. We are brainstorming ways for the entire second grade can share their writing with each other.

Entry Filed under: Literacy

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