• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Whenever you search in PBworks, Dokkio Sidebar (from the makers of PBworks) will run the same search in your Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, Gmail, and Slack. Now you can find what you're looking for wherever it lives. Try Dokkio Sidebar for free.



Page history last edited by jane.kiyonaga@... 13 years, 4 months ago
"Why Cauley Writes Well: A Close Look at What a Difference Good Teaching Can Make"
Katie Wood Ray
Lisa Cleaveland certainly deserves the writing award mentionned at the end of this article. What a wonderful, insightful and thoughtful teacher. Instead of teaching her students (grade 1) how to write, she teaches them - by giving them the tools and information they need - to be writers. What great ideas! Lisa invites her students to write about what excites and engages them! She encourages them to be writers - to try all different genres and to work on multiple pieces at the same time - and to understand the whole process of writing. Children aren't asked to finish their work daily, but rather to craft each different piece when they want to . And rather than say "today were are going to revise and edit our work", Lisa shows her students examples of what other writers have done so that they can understand how the end product may look. In addition, she focuses on all the integral parts of the writing process so that the students can understand that there are many different things to do when writing - and that all parts must be done as part of the writer's craft. And Lisa gives time - lots and lots of time - each day for her students to write about what they want to write about. Lisa works around three main themes: that writing is a continual process of decision making, that writing takes time and stamina, and that writing is best when the writer has a clear picture of what he is making. In addition, she has about 11 areas of study with associated goals - a year's writing program! Clearly, if Cauley is any indication, this whole process can be very successful. I have been lucky enough to be in a kindergarten which does writing workshop - although not as detailed as this program. I was continually amazed at children who were ESL with little English in JK were writing full stories with pictures (and other examples - poetry, procedural writing etc.), by the middle of SK. I look forward to starting a writing program similar to Lisa Cleaveland's in my classroom!
Wendy Christensen
In reading the article Artists / Writers Workshop: Focusing in on the Art of Writing by Beth Olshansky, it talks about the writing process as language and art integrated together. Where students will write in response to the art they create. The Artists/Writers Workshop is good for students who learn to write differently then just putting pen to paper.  For some students they might be visual learners (multiple intelligences) and need art to communicate. Students who have difficulty with language might do better if they have the arts to support the writing process. With the Artists/Writers Workshop students are encouraged to make pictures and use the pictures as cues in helping them form the words in their writing. Olshansky explains this process as “During the Artists/Writers Workshop students are encouraged to make pictures first, thus creating multiple opportunities to back and forth between pictures and words” (Olshansky 1). Students are able to support themselves between the two, art and language, starting with what they are more comfortable in to scaffold the other. This way the subject that the student is having difficulty with doesn’t overwhelm them and become not enjoyable. As a student in the article says, “writing used to be hard for me, but now it easy. All I have to do is look at each picture and describe some things I see” (Olshansky 4). It is taking the learning of the language arts to a whole another level of creativity, by the writing process being a creative process of art and writing collectively. Students are able to make personal connections as they create their art and writing, acting as real life writers and artists do. Students will then reflect on the writing process and learn from it. It is up to us as teachers to be creative and come up with learning strategies that assist our students in their learning. ~ Corisa Chamberlain
“Why Cauley Writes Well: A Close Look at What a Difference Good Teaching Can Make.”
By Katie Wood
This is a fantastic article that shows what a great teacher can accomplish.  This teacher does a lot of thinking about the students and wants them to make their own decisions about their writing and allow them to go and write with independence. I am sure that it also depends upon the children’s skills when coming into a Grade 1 class, but I believe that anything is possible when the teacher puts in the effort to get to know their students. Lisa (the teacher) is providing her students with the tools to write – not the specific content of what to write.  In the article it states that Cauley is writing well because he is writing about one of his passions. I think this is so important for a child to be encouraged to write about what they love and are interested in. In our Language Arts presentations we heard several times that both boys and girls were interested more in reading when they enjoyed the topic. It appears that this is important for writing too. This teacher has many books that she uses as examples of processes of writing that gives the students examples of how another author writes. The examples of how she explains how to use punctuation and the potential of “wow” non-fiction are interesting and will be useful for me in the future. I like how she helps the children understand what she is teaching and what they are reading and that punctuation is a “flexible, interesting tool a writer can use to draft a text…”. This certainly seems to be more appealing than being instructed to write sentence after sentence using a certain punctuation mark. I also like how Lisa is aware that she is “nourishing” her own learning while she is teaching the children. I agree with her that it takes many layers of understandings to be a good teacher and I think this article is one step closer to getting all of us there.
Carol Thurston
Artists/Writers Workshop: Focusing in on the ART of Writing by Beth Olshansky
I strongly agree with the techniques this teacher used in her classroom. It makes sense to me that since most of us are visual learners that we use visual tools to enhance our learning. Language is not based on just words. The teacher in this article uses pictures to encourage her students to write. A picture is all we need sometimes to activate our thought process. Once activated our writing process can flow. In addition to the use of pictures we can also incorporate the use of other senses. Listening to music or smelling a specific fragrance can also have the same positive effect on writing and creativity. This teacher is doing what all teachers should be doing, she modified her lessons to meet the needs of her students.


“Why Cauley Writes Well:
A Close Look at What a Difference Good Teaching Can Make”
I found Katie Ray’s article interesting and reaffirming. I was lucky experience an environment conducive to a similar writing process. The teacher focused on individual passion and interests and taught her students that the writing process begins with interests. Much like Ray’s statement “interest and curiosity breed engagement”, this teacher believed that in order to effectively teach writing, she needed to find ways to integrate writing concepts into each student’s work, rather than integrating their work into the concepts. She would allow all her students to engage in writing, whether it is independently or in groups, carrying one piece through all the stages or beginning many pieces or composing songs, poems and comic books. As long as the students were writing … she was satisfied. During the daily writing block, she would walk around and communicate concepts to the students individually, assisting them with writing at their own individual stage. She says that this process is possible because the students are engaged, in topics of their choice. Much like Ray, this teacher believed that in order for us to “expect them to care deeply about how they write, they must care deeply about what they are writing.” In this type of environment the students welcomed the teacher’s input and would often ask the teacher for help and ways to improve their writing. Teaching writing in a whole group instructional method is still the most common method of teaching. I have experienced many situations where the teacher tells the students what to write about, and the level of engagement is low and often results in undesired, unproductive behaviour. I think that allowing and encouraging students to write from their interests will make assessment and evaluation more difficult, and will make the instructional process more varied and more difficult to track; however after reading this article and actually experiencing this in a successful situation, I feel that encouraging students to write from interests and passion produces the most conducive environment for writing.
Jenny Gordon

 Writing: Writing Process 



"Why Cauley Writes Well: A Close Look at What a Difference Good Teaching Can Make" by Katie Ray was a very interesting read for me.  So often children are deemed to be either good or bad writers.  However, we rarely seem to take note of the type of teaching these students are receiving.  This article discussed the reasons behind Cauley's ability to write so well at such a young age.  His teacher and her attitude and approach to writing was a major source of Cauley's ability to write so well.  Lisa, Cauley's teacher, was able to develop a strong and independent writing ability with in her entire class based on her amazing and dedicated approach to writing.  Using interests as a foundation for writing, Lisa was able to keep her students engaged in writing and the process of writing.  She also used classroom resources to help students gain ideas and methods of writing. She encourages students to take note of the various writing methods that different authors and texts use and incorporate these into their own writing.  Finally, Lisa suggests that in her classroom writing is a process and is also surrounded by dialogue before, during and after the process.  Children are encouraged to talk about their ideas, enhance their writing through dialogue and discuss their work once they are finished.  I feel that this process of good teaching will develop strong foundations in writing with students that will become useful throughout their academic careers.

Maryann Chilton




 After reading “Why Cauley Writes Well: A Close Look at What a Difference Good Teaching Can Make" by Katie Ray, I realized the importance of student directed learning. I had always thought it was an important factor in all learning, but have not had the chance to observe a good program being implemented. However, reading this article made it clear how much students can do when they are given the opportunity and afforded the guidance to do what they are passionate about. I thought that Lisa's teaching program was phenomenal in nature, in that she was able to help the children identify different forms of writing and then allow them to choose how these new forms would translate into their work. Instead of a set lesson on "narrative" or "cliff-hangers" etc and a pre determined topic, the children were able to think of an idea (after some questioning and guidance of where and how to find inspiration and ideas) and then create a piece in a way that they felt best suited those ideas. I think that giving the students the freedom to be in control of their writing is really what made her program such a success in the classroom. The students loved what they were doing because they chose something they loved to write about. It seems like such a simple and obvious approach, but it is rarely (in my experience) a choice that is given to students. I hope that I can take the opportunity to set up a program that will allow for students to think critically at such a young age, and truly become immersed in the writing process. It is obviously a difficult task to achieve but this article provides the inspiration to strive for a student directed approach to teaching. 




It is not often that I read an article I enjoy, but this article was the exception.  While reading it I kept saying to myself “I need to write this down”, “That’s a great idea”, or “I should find those books”.  What I enjoyed most about this article was the idea that everything the students did were things they were encouraged to do, but not forced to do.  Information was presented to students from real examples and books, and they class would discuss what made that book interesting or unique.  Students actively participated in discussing the books, and were then encouraged to use that approach/style in their own writing.  It seems as though this approach really clicked with the students: they could use new skills in their own writing, where they felt it added to what they wanted to say.  Students wrote about topics that interested them, and were encouraged to write in ways that reflected different genres or styles: picture book, review, sports article etc.  This approach to writing in the classroom would have so many outcomes, and would provide students with the opportunity to learn a variety of writing styles. 



My own writing experiences have been similar to Lindsay’s.  My teachers told me what to write about, how to write it, and how long it should be.  What I hope to do in my own classroom is something similar to this article and the experience Jenny shared.  I want my students to enjoy writing, and the best way to do that is to give them opportunities to write about what they want to write. 

- Fiona Daly




Probably the number one reason that I enjoy this article is the fact that the first step that the author highlights to effectively get your students to write well is the fact that student's such as Cauley, were writing about subjects that they feel passionate about, in this case snakes. Theres nothing more frusturating then having students write about subjects that they have no interest in, its like making them do math without knowing the steps to take to solve the problem. As much as teachers want student's to think of a subject and write about it, I think a student must tap into what they allready know best, their interests. If a student is pressured into writing about a subject they don't like, that student will always associate writing as something non-enjoyable. If you start off in the right foot and give that motivation that a student needs, such as Cauley, theres no telling what they can accomplish.


Jay Mercier





Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.