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Study Driven: A Framework for Planning Units of Study in the Writing Workshop

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No matter what grade you teach, what state your school is in, and what level of diversity is present in your classroom, students have the right to be shown real-world examples of the kinds of writing theyre asked to produce. For Katie Wood Ray, this foundational idea is also the beginning of an important way of approaching rigorous writing instruction. In Study Driven Ray s No matter what grade you teach, what state your school is in, and what level of diversity is present in your classroom, students have the right to be shown real-world examples of the kinds of writing theyre asked to produce. For Katie Wood Ray, this foundational idea is also the beginning of an important way of approaching rigorous writing instruction. In Study Driven Ray shows you that encouraging students to read closely can improve the effectiveness of your writing instruction. Detailing her own method for utilizing the popular mentor-texts approach, Ray helps you immerse children in a close study of published texts that supports their learning, leads them to a better understanding of the traits of good writing, and motivates them to become more accomplished writers. Ray shows you how to set up your writing workshop to facilitate close study. From grounded understandings to informed practice to supportive resources, she demonstrates: how to find a rich variety of texts that give students a clear vision of the writing you want them to do how to strategically select texts to support whole-class learning as well as individual choice how your teaching language gives structure to curriculum development and student learning how good planning turns curricular standards and objectives into sensible units of study why depth can be a more practical and effective curricular goal than breadth in writing instruction Study Driven also gives you the ideas and resources for thirty units of study, ranging from genres to punctuation and appropriate across grade levels. Get students into the habit of studying what they read to help them plan their writing. Give them examples of real-world texts as well as the structure, the space, the time, and the guidance to change and grow as writers. Give yourself Study Driven and find out how.


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No matter what grade you teach, what state your school is in, and what level of diversity is present in your classroom, students have the right to be shown real-world examples of the kinds of writing theyre asked to produce. For Katie Wood Ray, this foundational idea is also the beginning of an important way of approaching rigorous writing instruction. In Study Driven Ray s No matter what grade you teach, what state your school is in, and what level of diversity is present in your classroom, students have the right to be shown real-world examples of the kinds of writing theyre asked to produce. For Katie Wood Ray, this foundational idea is also the beginning of an important way of approaching rigorous writing instruction. In Study Driven Ray shows you that encouraging students to read closely can improve the effectiveness of your writing instruction. Detailing her own method for utilizing the popular mentor-texts approach, Ray helps you immerse children in a close study of published texts that supports their learning, leads them to a better understanding of the traits of good writing, and motivates them to become more accomplished writers. Ray shows you how to set up your writing workshop to facilitate close study. From grounded understandings to informed practice to supportive resources, she demonstrates: how to find a rich variety of texts that give students a clear vision of the writing you want them to do how to strategically select texts to support whole-class learning as well as individual choice how your teaching language gives structure to curriculum development and student learning how good planning turns curricular standards and objectives into sensible units of study why depth can be a more practical and effective curricular goal than breadth in writing instruction Study Driven also gives you the ideas and resources for thirty units of study, ranging from genres to punctuation and appropriate across grade levels. Get students into the habit of studying what they read to help them plan their writing. Give them examples of real-world texts as well as the structure, the space, the time, and the guidance to change and grow as writers. Give yourself Study Driven and find out how.

30 review for Study Driven: A Framework for Planning Units of Study in the Writing Workshop

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rebekah O'Dell

    Please don’t tell Katie Ray that I’m just reading this cover-to-cover now. But the truth is that this is one of the very best professional texts I’ve ever read. Just brilliant in its content and it’s style.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Brian Kelley

    What a gem. I borrowed this book from the PAWLP library, was impelled to take notes as I read--thirteen full pages--and still have resolved to buy the book for myself for my classroom and a place near my desk. As a reference and resource for pieces of writing or places to find pieces of writing for support in your classroom it is the best I've come across. As a reference and resource for lesson planning ideas it is the best I've come across. Katie Wood Ray offers THIRTY thorough lesson plans or wha What a gem. I borrowed this book from the PAWLP library, was impelled to take notes as I read--thirteen full pages--and still have resolved to buy the book for myself for my classroom and a place near my desk. As a reference and resource for pieces of writing or places to find pieces of writing for support in your classroom it is the best I've come across. As a reference and resource for lesson planning ideas it is the best I've come across. Katie Wood Ray offers THIRTY thorough lesson plans or what she calls study possibilities. This is after 186 pages chock full of great ideas, support, and inspiration. Some of the study possibilities she offers span the range of memoir, historical fiction, and practical how-to fiction, to photo essay, how writers use punctuation as a crafting tool, and Editorials, Commentary and all Things Op-ed. This is a seriously thorough and well-balanced book. At the core of her belief is immersion. We can only hope to improve students we teach by immersing them in the texts and in their writing--teaching them to read like writes. Immersion affords us the possibility to read the type of writing we are going to do, talk about it, practice it, and share it. One of the seminal questions we can help all students by asking is "what have you read that is like what you are trying to write?" Her preference for the outline of a typical class period would entail: whole class gathering for teacher-led conversation, demonstration, or inquiry; independent writing and writing-related work (conferencing); talking and sharing about the process of writing. Katie Wood Ray concludes this thoughtful book by covering the issue of time. We are all pressed for time in our schools and districts. I won't go into here, but she makes a very eloquent case for considering trying to make at least some part of these ideas work in your classroom. We don't teach under the same rules, issues, or needs. But can reach the same texts and have the same conversations (which our colleagues) to, perhaps, begin to shift the pendulum back. As far as time goes, until something changes, we have what we have. Read this book--even if nothing changes in your school or district or curriculum I am confident this will help you make at least some positive change in your teaching.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Leslie Snyder

    This book gave me great ideas. Combined with what I've read from Kelly Gallagher, I think I will have a successful year teaching writing!!! This book gave me great ideas. Combined with what I've read from Kelly Gallagher, I think I will have a successful year teaching writing!!!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Terry

    Why isn't this book more widely read? Wood Ray offers excellent direction to teachers - at all grade levels - who are seeking to improve the instruction of writing. Her central ideas include: 1. Texts should be used to mentor students to write real things in the ways real writers write. 2. Writing needs to be 'studied' and not 'taught.' 3. Teachers need to be writers and gatherers of mentor texts, but curriculum can not be determined before the students begin to study. For teachers who want their st Why isn't this book more widely read? Wood Ray offers excellent direction to teachers - at all grade levels - who are seeking to improve the instruction of writing. Her central ideas include: 1. Texts should be used to mentor students to write real things in the ways real writers write. 2. Writing needs to be 'studied' and not 'taught.' 3. Teachers need to be writers and gatherers of mentor texts, but curriculum can not be determined before the students begin to study. For teachers who want their students to write well, this is a text that lays out options for letting this happen. You'll want to spend a summer reading it and thinking, so that when you return, you'll be ready for superior kind pedagogy. It is rare for a book to speak so compellingly to all teachers, Kindergarten to College, but I believe that Study Driven is the wonderful exception.

  5. 4 out of 5

    The Reading Countess

    reading chapters 3,6 in preparation for our writing committee meeting/Edmodo discussion. exposure to various genres essential to writers beginning to tackle the genre of writing it: "they couldn't really understand the function of this kind of writing until they were exposed to it as readers." p. 51 mode vs. genre? process vs product: what do you want to teach in your class? approximation: so important for a teacher to remember "rich heady learning" is beautiful, but when that doesn't happen, approxi reading chapters 3,6 in preparation for our writing committee meeting/Edmodo discussion. exposure to various genres essential to writers beginning to tackle the genre of writing it: "they couldn't really understand the function of this kind of writing until they were exposed to it as readers." p. 51 mode vs. genre? process vs product: what do you want to teach in your class? approximation: so important for a teacher to remember "rich heady learning" is beautiful, but when that doesn't happen, approximation does. It's ok *********************************************************************** I skipped around picking and choosing what was applicable to my kids (and me). Some chapters were very, very useful to me. Some-not so much. This is not my favorite of Wood Ray's books.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    So if you have recently taken a class or workshop on writer's workshop and are having trouble aligning the practice with your curriculum, this is the book that takes the larger framework of the writer's workshop and helps you implement the curriculum by breaking it into units of study. Katie Wood Ray's main idea is having students use mentor texts to answer the question "what have you read that is like what you are trying to write?" This can be used in any genre of writing, from memoir to poetry So if you have recently taken a class or workshop on writer's workshop and are having trouble aligning the practice with your curriculum, this is the book that takes the larger framework of the writer's workshop and helps you implement the curriculum by breaking it into units of study. Katie Wood Ray's main idea is having students use mentor texts to answer the question "what have you read that is like what you are trying to write?" This can be used in any genre of writing, from memoir to poetry to feature articles and other forms of literary nonfiction. Plus, this can also be extended to issues of writing as well, like how authors use punctuation in interesting ways and how authors craft their pieces in interesting ways. The framework that she uses is: gathering the texts, setting the stage, immersion in the genre, close study of the genre, and writing under the influence.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ken

    Good basic premise here for those interested in inquiry teaching. Ray's focus is on reading like writers, assigning papers grounded in the real world (as opposed to the 5-paragraph essay school not-so-real world), studying along with the kids, writing along with the kids, and emphasizing process. It's all good, but the book gets bogged down in "possibilities." In fact, she uses the word so many times that I begin to crave more actual case studies with results and fewer bulleted "possibilities" a Good basic premise here for those interested in inquiry teaching. Ray's focus is on reading like writers, assigning papers grounded in the real world (as opposed to the 5-paragraph essay school not-so-real world), studying along with the kids, writing along with the kids, and emphasizing process. It's all good, but the book gets bogged down in "possibilities." In fact, she uses the word so many times that I begin to crave more actual case studies with results and fewer bulleted "possibilities" after a while.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Eliza

    I love the idea of immersing (speeling? lol)the kids in study. I would love to spend time studying seperate genres indepth, but time is sooooo limited. Im thinking of picking a few of the genres and going from there. I would love to use this to vertically align the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades, dividing up the different genres but dunno if that would work. I mean, I wanna do ALL of the genres! Argh!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Patti Christell

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Katie clearly demonstrates how planning units of study and allowing students to drive the instruction really helps students take ownership and acquire the skills they need to become proficient writers.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Barstow-Malinowski

    This is how I will teach writing workshop. I love the idea of immersing students in a genre before they even attempt writing in it. Students will see how the genre is written and then are not freaked out when they actually begin writing. Genius!!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dana Berglund

    Great book. I'm itching to use some of the ideas from it in my class next year. An interesting way to plan out a year of writing instruction, using much more focused types of writing rather than huge ideas of genre. Great book. I'm itching to use some of the ideas from it in my class next year. An interesting way to plan out a year of writing instruction, using much more focused types of writing rather than huge ideas of genre.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Carrie

    Great practical ideas for learning how to run a smooth and successful Writer's Workshop! Great practical ideas for learning how to run a smooth and successful Writer's Workshop!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    Okay all my teacher friends. This is the best book I've read this year. Lots of new ideas and very teacher friendly. Not the usual dogma! Okay all my teacher friends. This is the best book I've read this year. Lots of new ideas and very teacher friendly. Not the usual dogma!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kelley

    This book was an inspiration and a complete guide to show how you can use inquiry in your writing classroom. Excellent examples/ideas of how to go about this.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

    An important tool in my thinking about teaching writing this year.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    Excellent book! This helped me focus and organize how I am planning to do my classroom's literacy workshop. Excellent book! This helped me focus and organize how I am planning to do my classroom's literacy workshop.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Brent Darling

    Chapters are short and to-the-point. Lots of good information.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Outstanding resource for deep work in writing workshop.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tabitha A.

    This book actually works! I read differently as a result of this book

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jen Munnerlyn

    This book has been ordered for the 2009-10 school year on the advice of Katherine Casey who led the NESA Literacy Coaching group meeting in Jordan in November, 2008.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jolynn

    About to take the plunge and use this to guide writer's workshop with my students. I'm excited about the possibilities and know I'll learn a lot about myself as a struggling writer as well. About to take the plunge and use this to guide writer's workshop with my students. I'm excited about the possibilities and know I'll learn a lot about myself as a struggling writer as well.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    This book and a session at HKIS’s Literary Institute with Matt Glover forever changed me as a writing teacher and gave me the motivation, tools, and background knowledge to create my own units of study for writing. Katie and Matt opened my eyes to the difference between mode and genre and how important it is to gather stacks of texts that represent the kind of writing students will do. Stacks of mentor text give students vision for what they will write. These stacks need to contain real world wr This book and a session at HKIS’s Literary Institute with Matt Glover forever changed me as a writing teacher and gave me the motivation, tools, and background knowledge to create my own units of study for writing. Katie and Matt opened my eyes to the difference between mode and genre and how important it is to gather stacks of texts that represent the kind of writing students will do. Stacks of mentor text give students vision for what they will write. These stacks need to contain real world writing. And students should be asked, “What have your read that is like what you are trying to write?” I am an elementary teacher and this is a must-read book for those who want to improve their teaching in the area of writing. It is also the answer to those who are frustrated by The Units of Study.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tina

  25. 5 out of 5

    Diana G Rodriguez

  26. 4 out of 5

    Melanie Swider Wenz

  27. 5 out of 5

    Maggie

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cucu

  29. 4 out of 5

    Miss Shecka

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rick

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