Following The Yellow Brick Road To Writing Success
By Leigh Anne Shumate, Principal of Grace Lower School
“Follow the yellow brick road.” – The Munchkins, Wizard of Oz
As we guide Grace School students down the yellow brick road of writing success, they come to discover that the most exciting parts of learning to write is seeing their progress and implementation of new strategies and techniques over time.
At Grace School, our writing curriculum exposes and provides students to a variety of writing genres. Woven throughout the genres are lessons regarding organization, grammar and mechanics, word choice, figurative language, and voice.
Each day students record their mini-lessons and strategies for becoming better writers in their writer’s notebook. These serve as an organizing tool for the writing process – prewriting, brainstorming, drafting, revising, editing, proofreading and publishing.
At Grace School writing assessment happens daily. Teachers make adjustments based on their observations of student work. Assessing writing is complex. Classroom teachers confer individually with students in order to provide guidance and support. Information gathered during student conferences is used to determine personalized mini-lessons. Additionally, student work is analyzed and used to identify grade level strengths and individualized goals for future mini-lessons and opportunities for enrichment.
“You’ve had the power all along my dear.” – Glinda, The Wizard of Oz
At Grace School, students discover the power of sharing their voice with others. They have the power to create an idea for a story, add details and can even write a story across multiple pages with multiple chapters. Grace students have been taught strategies giving them the ability to capture a reader’s attention and hold onto it by including action and detail throughout the stories. Students have discovered they have the power to share their writing with the world.
“Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”– Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz
At Grace School, students use a rainbow of figurative language to develop a voice of their own. Choosing words carefully allows them to paint a word picture, making stories more interesting for others to read. Students use imagery and a storytelling voice to convey emotion and tone. With description, dialogue, thoughts, and meaningful elaboration, students develop characters that make readers laugh and cry, taking their audience “somewhere over the rainbow, where skies are blue.”
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is
the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I will try again tomorrow.”
– The Lion, Wizard of Oz
Students demonstrate courage as they compose research papers organized into chapters, with each chapter telling different kinds of information about a central topic. They use facts, definitions, details, and text features to elaborate on their thesis. Grace School writers demonstrate perseverance by writing daily, revising and editing stories multiple times, paying close attention to form, structure, and word choice. At Grace School, students discover that great writing requires the courage to take risks and to persevere through what is often a lengthy process.
“Now which way do we go?” – Dorothy, Wizard of Oz
When students graduate from Grace Lower School, they leave knowing how to navigate the yellow brick road of writing and understanding that the process is both rewarding and challenging. At Grace School, students follow the writing process from brainstorming through publishing, understanding that all writers revise and edit their work in order to produce the best possible product. They have discovered that following this process produces writing they are proud to showcase and publish. Students know how to persevere, and mostly importantly, view themselves as writers.