When I started to construct a syllabus for my classroom (a requirement of my writing portfolio that I hope to use in the future) I started by looking up the Content Expectations for Michigan classes. WOW! I've looked at these before, but never with the intent of using them to form a course of study. I was immediately overwhelmed. There are SO many things that I'm required to cover as a teacher! So I decided that I'll just get my ideas down onto paper and then go back and make sure I can incorporate a few Content Expectations into my plans. (I realize that may be a bit backward, but I figure it's a good place to start for my first syllabus).
Here are a few of my ideas so far:
- Invitations to Writing: The more I read about classroom writing routines the more beneficial I feel the daily writing invitation will be. Today my professor was telling me about ways that the invitations can be used to assess reading comprehension and as a starting point for classroom discussion. As much as I want to create my own routines, I think this is something I'm definitely going to steal for my own class. I think it would be interesting to have a student, or pair of students, create an invitation to writing for the class once a week. It would change the student's perspective and allow them to think about writing from the other side of the table. I would encourage them to create invitations with choices, and to talk about a topic that means a lot to them. I think this would work well with older students. This way, students are able to create a topic for their writing community to respond to. My hope is that it will make the student think hard about how to engage an audience with a writing topic. Also, it will fulfill part of the oral presentation requirement.
- Workshops: I would like to have a reading workshop and a writing workshop once a week. I realize that writing workshops are most effective when done more than once a week, but until I see how the timing plays out in my classroom, I'm going to shoot for once a week. I really want to create a community in my classroom where students can speak freely about a work of literature that they've read or a piece of writing that they've been working on. I've read so much about how the feeling of community can breed better, more developed writers because they feel comfortable with their peers.
- Mini-Lessons: I want to feature mini lessons on the revision process in my lesson plans. It's something I was never taught and I want to be sure that my students have an idea of what good writers do when they look over their work.
- Genre: I want my students to understand the concept of genre. There are so many genres that students come into contact with on a daily basis and I want them to see how genre works with the actual written text to send a message. It's an integral part of reading and writing and it needs to be incorporated into any classroom, regardless of age or ability.