Writing Buddies: The Writing/Teaching Life
Overview All writers crave an audience and appreciate constructive criticism. When middle schoolers become Writing Buddies to a group of third graders, they learn how to appreciate the work of young writers while sharpening their own editing skills. Using technology, students exchange writing and writing responses, and engage in thoughtful conversations about what constitutes good writing. The opportunity to engage a professional writer and educator in a Visiting Author Workshop opens doors to careers in writing and teaching.
Assessment Students write reflections on their interactions with Writing Buddies and on the Visiting Author Workshop. Students use rubrics to discuss and evaluate writing.
Software or Materials Used For rubrics, responses and tips on editing: Writers Inc: A Student Handbook for Writing and Learning by Patrick Sebranek, 2000: Great Source Education Group Inc; Writers Express: A Handbook for Young Writers, Thinkers, and Learners by David Kemper, et al, 1995: Great Source Education Group Inc; For information of young children as writers: Kids' Poems: Teaching Third and Fourth Graders to Love Writing Poetry by Regie Routman, 2000: Scholastic Prof Book Div; If You're Trying to Teach Kids How to Write, You've Gotta Have This Book by Marjorie Frank, et al, 1995: Incentive Pubns; For examples of good writing by adolescents: Merlyn's Pen: Fiction, Essays and Poems by America's Teens Volume 2, ed. R.James Stahl, 1998: Merlyn's Pen Inc.
Web Sites The Write Source; The Academy of Amercian Poets; Education World Curriculum: Awesome Authors and Illustrator Visits; Boston Women's Heritage Trail
Keywords Service Learning, Mentoring, Literacy, Teaching Careers, Writing Buddies, Writers and Teachers, Poetry, Visiting Authors Workshop, Poetry Workshop
Final Words Writing Buddies helps older students become more proficient writers by reading and responding to the writing of other younger students. It offers an opportunity for middle schoolers to explore mentoring and to begin thinking about careers in writing and teaching.
Teacher Tip Careful choice of cooperating site is a must when setting up a cross-school project! Connecting with an author who knows the community is another plus.
E-mail contact Maggie Lodge firstname.lastname@example.org
Teacher Bio Maggie Lodge has been a teacher and administrator in middle and high school for thirteen years. She currently teaches 7th grade Humanities at the John W. McCormack School in Dorchester. She was a founding teacher at the Harbor School, a Boston Public pilot middle school. Prior to working in Boston, Maggie was the director of the Pathway School at Chelsea High School, an RJR Nabisco Next Century School serving former high school dropouts.
Subject Areas English Language Arts, Humanities
Grade Levels 7 - 9
Students Partnerships between third graders and middle schoolers