This is your EMWP Summer Institute Book Group blog. You are asked to post at least once a week before and during the Institute. Your group leader will post additional assignments and post topics. Check back often. If you have any questions or concerns contact your leader, Cynthia.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Buckets of Ideas

While it was raining buckets and blowing like crazy last night, I finished reading Chapter 2: Establishing the Topic and Point. This chapter was jammed packed with great ideas, not just for teaching kids about composing nonfiction pieces but also for teacher-writers working at their own craft. I liked the way the authors explained how making a point in nonfiction writing has to be stronger than in narrative. They stated on page 23, "Children need to know that all good writing centers around a controlling point or a so what? that makes content meaningful, powerful, and memorable." I suppose I knew that, but I don't think I've been explicit with students about how narrative and nonfiction compare and contrast with each other. I think this will be critical knowledge for students as they manage Smarter Balanced Assessments.


  1. All I can say is that I agree fully. I was impressed by the paragraph on page 16 about authors writing about what they know. Dorfman and Cappelli suggest making "expert lists," which I thought was a wonderful idea. I have done idea pages "People....places...things" per Lucy Caulkins, but not expert lists. Now the challenge is to get past "I am an expert at 'Call of Duty: Black ops." My strategy for accomplishing that task is to show the clas that writing about making the sandwich!

    1. I really like the Try One lessons at the end of the chapters. I think they could be adapted for a variety of grade levels.

    2. You are correct. I plan on reviewing those just before school begins just to have the topics in my mind.