Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Teacher Thoughts: Collins Writing (A Brief Overview)

It's been awhile since I wrote a Teacher Thoughts post!

Ironically, I'm avoiding grading tests and writing assignments in order to write this post.

But, I digress.

This year, I have had the privilege of attending some writing workshops with Dr. John Collins.  Not only is Dr. Collins an incredibly engaging speaker (he's HILARIOUS), his writing program is a teacher's dream.  Let me give you a brief run down:

Dr. Collin's has 5 Types of Writing.
Type 1- Quick, timed writing assignments

  • Students are required to write a specific number of items
  • The assignment is timed
  • Students earn participation points ONLY (in other words, it's not graded)
  • Responses can be correct or incorrect, participation is the key
  • Often  used to check understanding of topics covered in class

Type 2- Timed writing assignments; Quizzes

  • Similar to Type 1 in that they are timed
  • Can be a list or short writing assignment
  • GRADED- correct responses are the goal
Type 3- Longer Writing assignments using FCAs 
  • FCA stands for Focus Correction Area
  • Pick 3 FCAs on which students should focus their writing (On a recent comparison essay, my students had the following FCAs: Total of 10 similarities & differences, 4 paragraphs w/ paragraph components, Complete Sentences)
  • FCAs are each assigned a point value for grading 
  • Point values are determined by the teacher based on importance
  • Dr. Collins has each paper valued at a total of 100 points (Mine are usually 50-80.)
  • Students should read their own paper aloud in a 1 foot voice
Type 4- Same as type 3
  • The difference between Type 3 and Type 4 is that in Type 4, students get to have another student review their papers before handing in
  • Students should read partners' papers aloud in a 1 foot voice
  • Students should sign their names to their partners' papers after review
Type 5- "Perfect" Writing
  • These are pieces that are drafted, edited, and revised for publishing
I plan to get more in depth on Collins Writing in further installments of Teacher Thoughts.  I think that was enough for one post.

Fellow teachers, have you heard of/used Collins writing in your classroom?


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