I was a little nervous when I saw the word “worksheets.” I think the writing workshop is effective because it gives students a chance to explore and learn in their own way, not through repeated practice on a worksheet. However, I think the kind of worksheets Ray meant are very important. Students need to have copies of things they have learned as a reminder/record of their learning process. I also think keeping track of what you do each day and what you plan to do tomorrow is very beneficial, especially for older students who work more independently. Likewise, I think it would be beneficial to record what you are learning during conferences, in order to remember to apply this learning in your writing pieces. I enjoyed looking at all the sample worksheets the two teachers provided their students. I think they were helpful reminders for the students. I especially liked the “try-its.” I think these would be very fun and challenging for students. I like Ray’s definition of a worksheet as “a piece of paper that is used to help manage or support a writer’s work in the writing workshop.”
When Ray and Laminack began talking about spelling drills, I automatically thought of the days when my mom would make me write every word I missed ten times each every day after school to ensure I made a good score on Friday’s spelling test. As I read Carl and Jason’s stories, I immediately noticed the spelling over everything else. But does it really matter if you spell all the words right if you are not writing what you really want to express? I know I purposely avoided words I did not know how to spell in elementary school. I regret this now. I should not have let the convention control me. “We learn from the company we keep,” is so true. I agree that students should be learning through experience with children’s literature, not constraining guides. There is not one specific path students have to take in order to conquer writing. Students can learn to write and spell through reading and discovering the spelling pattern for themselves. I agree that the method/strategy students used to come up with the spelling of a word is more important than if it is wrong or right. I have seen many of the ten spelling strategies listed in my practicum in a first grade classroom. My students use the word wall as a main source. The chart with the different types of language and ways they can be applied in the classroom is a great resource! Writing is so similar to language and they should be taught in similar ways.