Tuesday, November 02, 2010

COMING THIS WEEK: DAY BY DAY: REFINING WRITING WORKSHOP THROUGH 180 DAYS OF REFLECTIVE PRACTICE

Great news for any fans of Ruth Ayres' and Stacey Shubitz's fabulous blog, 2 Writing Teachers.  Their new book, DAY BY DAY: REFINING WRITING WORKSHOP THROUGH 180 DAYS OF REFLECTIVE PRACTICE is due out tomorrow, November 3!

When I visited Stenhouse a few weeks ago, I was given an advanced copy. What a treat! Being delayed in the airport with a few hours on planes, I had a good chunk of time to dig into the book immediately.

I have to admit, I didn't read the book cover to cover.  It is not really meant to be read that way, I don't think. The authors give you way too much to think about on each page to race through the whole thing at once.  It is a book we'll all want to carry around with us.  It will help us reflect and refine as often as we want.

I love the idea of this book! I remember the first year I really dug into writing workshop. My friend, Karen Szymusiak was doing the same thing.  Even though we taught at different schools, we relied on daily conversations to get us through each day and to refine our work with kids in the workshop.  These conversations were critical and they still are.

The introduction serves as an invitation. The authors say, "This book is for anyone who believes in the power of writing workshop and wants to continue to refine his or her practice.  We realize that the teaching of writing is complex, and it is not only nice to know you are not along on this journey, it is a necessity.  If you have ever wished for daily doses of encouragement, tips, challenges, advice, and understanding during the school year, this book is for you."

The authors suggest three ways to read the book. .  It is organized by chapters.  The chapter is organized into cycles--a certain aspect of teaching writing such as writers' notebooks, celebrations, and minilessons. Ruth and Stacey suggest that readers can read by chapters, by cycles  or every day all year (thus the 180 days.) I think there are many, many ways to read this book. For me, it is one I see myself going back to again and again and again.  I imagine it will be tabbed and highlighted and dog-eared as I think through various aspects of my teaching and learning.

Ruth and Stacey give us lots to think about and the book follows a perfect pattern. Each new idea is introduced with some type of story or classroom experience. Each short piece helps readers think about various components of the workshop.   At the end of the short piece, the authors offer a challenge for teachers--something to think about or try share. Then the authors give us a few questions to use for our own personal reflection.

Really, the idea of this book is so brilliant!  A way for teachers to reflect on the workshop every day of the year. Anyone who believes in writing workshop knows that as a teacher, you are always learning and refining.  This book values that teachers are learners, thinkers and professionals. It also acknowledges the fact that we need time to rethink and refine our work.  And it provides a way to do that. This would be a great book to read with colleagues. To really help us remember and rethink why we do what we do.  To think through the decisions we make each day. To help us think about our practice so we do the best we can for our students.

3 comments:

  1. I've read the first two chapters on line and can't wait to get my copy! I agree..the idea of this book is fantastic and,based on what I have read, will be a great resource for teachers! Super excited for it's official release!

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  2. Franki:

    Thank you for your kind words about Day by Day. We're glad you received it so well.

    You're certainly right... it's not meant to be read cover-to-cover. After each discussion comes a challenge and two or more questions, which means we want readers to try something out and then stop and think about their practice before moving on.

    My best,
    Stacey

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  3. Wow...thanks, Franki, for the generous review. It's exciting to know you find Day by Day valuable.
    Happy teaching,
    Ruth

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