Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Working on Writing Fluency

Have you ever had a student tell you they were *ready* to edit with the teacher during Writer's Workshop and you read the VERY FIRST sentence of their writing and it doesn't make any sense?

I attended a Smekens Education Writing Workshop led by Courtney Gordon and learned about a unique tool to help students with their writing fluency called "audience on a stick." Now, my students must read their writing piece orally to their audience member when they think their piece is "done." The tool allows students to hear their writing mistakes and fix-up their own writing BEFORE they come to conference with me. (Sing hallelujah)
Some examples of the unique audience members students created: Darth Vader, a Colts football player, Mojo from Class Dojo, and an African Penguin. 
Students used a piece of 8 1/2 x 11 construction paper cut into fourths, art supplies, and a extra-long, jumbo popsicle stick (purchased in the craft section of Walmart) to create a colorful real life or fictional audience member. I explained that we would cut a "bubble" around their animal or person so they didn't need to use the entire space I've given them. I used clear packing tape to affix the audience member to the popsicle stick.

We keep the audience members in a pencil cup next to our Writing Workshop materials. Students can choose to use their own audience member or one their classmate has created. The unique choices of audience on a stick members keeps students engaged with the fluency tool long after it was first introduced.
Clockwise from top: A student self-portrait, Pikachu from Pokemon, fantasy animal lion/cheetah, a pet cat, and our classroom collection of audience on a stick members. 
As a bonus, students can use the "audience on a stick" tool to help them with their reading fluency as well as their writing fluency. It's a win-win situation.

If you get the chance, check out the Smekens Education Website for more great classroom resources from Courtney and her fabulous colleagues.

I'd love to hear how you are using "audience on a stick" in your classroom. It would make my day if you would send me a Tweet @addsparkle88 or tag me in an Instagram pic at addsomesparkle88.

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