Marginalia, Graduate Blog

Writing Circles Unit

Danielle Holtz

I haven’t really shared much of my formal unit yet, but I’m very proud of it and hope to share the summative assessment once the students are finished making their books. I am really proud of the writing that I’ve seen and feeling really satisfied with the increase in cooperative group work that has taken place since we’ve begun. Recently the students created mottos for each of their circles and the meanings they gave to them filled me with a lot of happiness. They also created a motto for when the whole group works together. Our circle is called “Rainbow Canyon,” and the motto they created is “In Rainbow Canyon we learn through sharing.” I kid you not. These kids are seriously geniuses. Below is my rationale for the unit along with the essential questions and enduring understandings. I also hope to share some highlights from the lessons in another blog. Enjoy this peek into our circles!

Writing circles help students develop both an affinity for writing and for their own unique voice. Writing circles also help students continue to develop their social skill set, as much of the work depends on group consensus and sharing what you’ve written with a specific set of students. The reason I selected this unit for this particular group of students is because all of them are English Language Learners and a vast majority of them do not identify as writers. I suspect this is because much of the writing they have been doing up until this point has depended on them analyzing and reflecting upon what they have read. If they do not fully understand what they are reading, then the task of writing about it seems impossible. It also takes away ownership over both the writing and their voice. The specific goals of writing circles are: 1) to write about topics you care about 2) to share your writing with an audience 3) to learn what your audience thinks about your writing 4) to learn from your own writing and 5) to listen to and discuss other kids’ writing. My rationale for teaching a unit using writing circles is to inspire these students to explore topics they care about so that they grow to love writing and to appreciate both their voice and the voices around them.


ENDURING UNDERSTANDINGS:
I can share my voice through writing.
My opinion is valuable to others and worth sharing.
Voice is the person behind the words or the personality of the writing.
The purpose of self and peer reflection is to make our work stronger.
ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:
What is the value of sharing?
How does writing speak to us?
How do you share your voice?
What is the value of reflection?

 

Writing Circles Unit

I haven’t really shared much of my formal unit yet, but I’m very proud of it and hope to share the summative assessment once the students are finished making their …

Elementary Education MAT Danielle Holtz, danielle.holtz@loop.colum.edu
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605

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