Friday, April 4, 2014

FEATURE FRIDAY: Don't Write About Your Writing!!! And Other Great Writing Tips

The most wonderful part of being a contributor to TeachersPayTeachers is learning even more about teaching, and meeting other wonderful writing teachers!

ARE YOU a TEACHER - ARE YOU a WRITER? How about Some Writing Tips? Here you go, hot off the press.

 I want to share with you a small but invaluable activity I came across that was so simple, so clever and so TRUE that I began to laugh when I saw it.

Literary Sherri
Sherri - "Literary Sherri" - A Teacher Bio
An amazing, lovely woman, a 20-years'+ teacher, Sherri Munger-Tyler works harder than most and like me values students, their leaps of understanding, the importance of the scaffold method, new ideas, and yes, her own education (she has three degrees to her name). And she loves writing and literature products and creating useful items others will love. 

FANTASTIC Writing Tip From Our Featured Teacher - Don't WRITE ABOUT YOUR WRITING!!!

Don't Write About Your Writing: Mini-Lesson (Common Core Aligned)

Sherri knows a thing or two about "writing about your own writing."  She made the product you see above. I saw it, I smiled. This is a 12-page product and can be accomplished easily in one class period. 

Have YOU written about your own writing? If you're a teacher, do your STUDENTS write this.....?

1. What I mean to say is...
2. The reason I wrote this is. . .
3. In my opinion . . .
4. The purpose of this paper is to . . .
5. What I plan to do is . . .
              Or other "writing about writing phrases?"

Sherri's product lists all of the ways writers can overwrite and end up explaining their writing, as opposed to explaining the point at hand. (Just SAY it!)

It gives examples of overwriting, or "explained writing" as well as an appropriate improved version - MY personal favorite thing to do. Explain and show, is what I always say!

It provides students the opportunity to differentiate between examples. It's a short product and incredibly thorough product, essential and immediately successful in helping students correct their tendency to explain.

A TAKEAWAY TIP From Gina @ the PerfettoWritingRoom, and ....

One that Sherri agrees with Too!!

Literary Sherri

My students ALWAYS ALWAYS ask: "Ms. Perfetto how long does this have to be?" 

           Long enough to have a beginning, middle and end. 
           Long enough to do what you need to do.

           Long enough to accomplish the task, but not longer.

Once students have a PAGE number in their head, the paper might just be filled with fluff and overwriting. Yikes!! ( I should mention, I always tell them to please stop asking me that. They ask anyway. . .)

WE Will leave YOU with a Question: 
How do YOU answer students when they ask you "How long does this have to be?"
Do you have a clever retort?


  1. Love this post! I always get asked..."Mrs. Miller, how long does it need to be?" Ugh! It's a huge pet peeve of mine. I'm going to start replying with..."Long enough to have a beginning, middle, and end," since that's what we work on most with 4th graders. Love your blog, btw! I'm your newest follower on Bloglovin'! :)

    1. Kim I never scared my students or told them "It had BETTER be at least four pages!!" So I don't know WHAT happened along the way that when they came to me they were crazed over the page number...obsessed almost. I love your blog too and I'm following you. (If you want, pop in on Fridays, I'm giving tips from successful sellers, it could be a very warm a happy place to be.

  2. My response is "At least 82 pages."

  3. HA!!! Ha! I checked my email, and I had no idea what you were talking about, and then I realized in was in regard to the post and I literally laughed out loud.YES 82 pages indeed!
    You're great!