Wednesday, January 30, 2008

It's the First Assignment...

...and it's already late. What a great way to start the semester off. In my defense, I wasn't able to get my book from Denise until this morning. I will be reading and posting my response shortly.

Okay, so the introduction...probably should have skipped that. It seriously made me doubt the reputable-ness of the text book. The title 6 + 1 Traits of Writing doesn't especially strike me as all too brilliant to begin with. So when the first and second paragraphs explained how "Debbie targets her lessons to areas of great need," I wasn't especially reassured. I figured by now that it was rather self explanatory that teachers focus on things the students are struggling with most in writing, but maybe I was wrong. I also loved how they showed the progress that students made through using this program. The original was usually barely comprehensible and only three sentences long. Of course, only a few months later, the VERY SAME student was writing structured paragraphs and perfect grammar. Remarkable! They kind of reminded me of Chef Tony and his knife infomercials: "Watch the Miracle blade slice through this brick!" Incredible! I gotta get me some 6 + 1 Traits.

But I must say my opinion of the book significantly improved into chapters one and two. I especially liked that it distinguished the difference between "editing" and "revising," a difference that I wasn't entirely clear on, and I have a degree in English. I think this not only gives an accurate label to two important words in the writing process, but it also provides a clear purpose for doing both things. I also really liked how chapter two focused so heavily on exact assessment, providing great examples and going into detail about how they should be assessed. Providing classroom activities to help the students was another great feature. I hate reading education text books that provide little to no scaffolding or planning for the teacher. Not that I'm lazy, but it's nice to have some direction when I'm trying something new.

I found an interesting resource link all about writing. It gives plenty of ideas and activities to help students improve their writing skills during editing and revising. It also provides scenarios to encourage creative writing. Click me for fun and excitement!


  1. I definitely agree with your review of the introduction, Maggie. In addition, the book really does pick up in chapters one and two. It really is nice to have examples of applications given. I don't think it's about laziness, I think it's proof that there's a way to actually use a theory. I also agree that the examples given in the book were, though likely authentic, extreme. I know showing mediocre improvements is not exciting for the authors of the book, but I am still a little skeptical of the results. As should we all-- small improvements should still be celebrated, and no system is going to magically charge all our students' writing. Nice bibliographic resource, too.

  2. Maggie, I wish I could see what you are going to do at the Obama rally that will make others regret being with you?!?! Anyway, I believe we are supposed to respond to the posts for class so I will do so. My favorite thing about the 6+1 text was also Culham's distinction between editing and revision. Not being a English major in college I thought I might have been out of the loop on this distinction having never heard these two things seperated and defined differently. I also must say that I am happy I skipped the intro since everyone seems to be ragging on it. Oh the fruits of not doing my work and slacking. Lastly, I would be willing to bet my life that you and Meaghan always read each others blog first before anyone elses. Am I right?