I rarely see any formal writing instruction. The children do complete DOL every day. However, I feel like there is a vast gap between the writing instruction I see in DOL and the writing I see while reading their writing contracts. When working on DOL, the students will usually place commas in correct locations, capitalize the first letters in sentences and names, and identify proper grammar. When looking at their work, the students will not usually get any of this right. They are unable to transfer their knowledge from one to the other.
When she does a lesson on writing, she provides too much scaffolding. The CT will structure the entire paragraph on the poster paper on how she wants it written. The children have little/no room to expand their creativity because if the children try to go a different direction, she requires them to rewrite their paper.
The earliest writing that I remember is journaling in first grade. I wrote about myself: my favorite thing to eat, what I did on the weekend, and my best friend. The next thing I remember is DOL in fifth grade. In sixth grade we started writing workshops. We could make a rough draft in class and were expected to bring the final copy in the following day as homework. I would write the rough draft, not do the homework, and scramble a horrid rough draft or a couple sentences during the four minutes before class. In HS, we were taught the five power paragraph structure. My freshman year of college, I was told that everything I had previously learned was wrong and taught myself how to get by, in order to get through college.
After spending time in placement, the single most important element that I want to use in writing instruction is enjoyment. When my CT introduces a writing lesson, around ten student’s will automatically place their head in their arms and disengage from the classroom. To make the learning experience authentic and meaningful, the children need to have positive interactions with it. Although there are many things that I envision in my classroom regarding writing, I believe that writing (and learning in general) needs to be enjoyable.