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Using the Workshop Approach in the High School English Classroom

Using the Workshop Approach in the High School English Classroom
Modeling Effective Writing, Reading, and Thinking Strategies for Student Success

  • Cynthia D. Urbanski - University of North Carolina, Charlotte, USA, North Mecklenburg High School

February 2006 | 192 pages | Corwin
With this book, teachers will discover how they can strike a balance between preparing their students for state tests and teaching them the lasting thinking, reading and writing skills that they will need to be successful in college and the business world.

Combining theory-supported and student-tested practices, Urbanski offers readers a road-map to implementing an effective workshop-based curriculum in High School English.

Foreword by Lillian Brannon
About the Author
1. Running and Writing
The Workshop Culture – A Study of Coaching

Conclusions and The Mission

2. Who Writes the Rule Book Anyway? Accountability, Tests, and the History of Rhetoric
A Bit of History

And What About the Other Parts of My Curriculum?

Testing and Accountability


Suggested Reading

3. Coaching and Teaching By Doing; Modeling Thinking, Writing, and Reading
A Horror Story in Two Scenes

Scene I: Sunday Night Back in the Dark Ages

Scene II: Sunday Night One Week Later

Modeling; A Simple Concept With Huge Benefits

Modeling Gives Us Fresh Experiences to Draw From

Modeling Can Transform Our Classrooms

Modeling Fosters Authentic Learning

Modeling Will Supercharge Our Planning Time

Modeling In Our Classrooms: What Do We Do?

Modeling Concepts for Writing

A Lesson in Modeling Writing

Modeling Concepts for Reading

A Lesson in Modeling Close Reading and Analysis

Conclusions: Pulling It All Together and Coming Full Circle

4. Warming Up the Writing Muscles; Two Tools for Invention
Free Writing

What Is Free Writing . . . Really?

Why Does Free Writing Work?

Application: Helping Our Students Discover the Magic

A Lesson in Free Writing

The Last Word on Free Writing

Daybooks. A Place to Store Free Writing and Thinking


5. The Practice Field; Building Strength and Confidence in Writing and Literary Analysis
Types of Practice

Reader Response and Invention

In-Class Revision and Drafting

Types and Progression of Assignments as Practice


6. Race Day: Evaluation and the Idea of Grammar
Grammar in Context

The Bottom Line On Grammar

A Grammar Lesson

A Word of Caution

For Further Ideas

A Word About Standards

Watching the Race: Evaluating Student Writing

Grading Practice Writing Without Eradicating Its Purpose

Grading Response Journals or Daybooks

Grading Published Pieces

Portfolios: Looking at the Whole Season and Student Growth Over Time


Suggested Reading

7. Responding as a Spectator: The Writing Conference
Why Conference Anyway?

A Trek Through a Conference Log

Writing Conventions/Skills in Context

A Fifty-Minute Tutoring Session Translated Into a Ninety-Minute Class

Basic Behavior in a Writing Conference

A Close-up Look at a Conference


8. Becoming Independent; Writing and Literature Groups
A Scenario: Student Writing as Class Literature

Student Response to Groups

How to Make Groups Work

Model Functional Groups

Provide Structure and Incentive

Help Students Find Their Own Structure

What About the Kid Who Doesn’t Buy Into Group Work?


Writing Groups

Literature Groups


Suggested Reading

Epilogue – Why Teachers Coach

"Both new and veteran English teachers will learn new strategies that will enrich their students' lives while greatly improving their writing clarity, voice and precision."

Charles M. Longbottom, International Baccalaureate Program Coordinator
North Mecklenburg High School, Huntersville, NC

"This book offers motivation and inspiration for preservice and novice English teachers and provides reassurance and encouragement for the veteran teachers who feel burdened by the standardization of education. It takes into account the high-stakes accountability of our current environment and documents results from research based practices. The examples and lessons reassure us that effective teaching does not have to give way to 'teaching to the test'."

Nelda R. Cockman, Clinical Assistant Professor
College of Education, University of North Carolina, Charlotte

"Drawing from her experience as a coach, the author demonstrates the importance of modeling in the classroom by reading and writing alongside her students, taking risks, and building a strong community of learners in the process. This book will inspire good English teachers to become great literacy coaches."

Robin Boswell, Middle School Language Arts Instructor
Concord Middle School, MI

"It is possible to balance test preparation with advanced thinking, reading, and writing skills. This book shows you how."

Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, May 2006

Sample Materials & Chapters

Foreward by Lillian Brannon

Chapter 1

For instructors

Please contact your Academic Consultant to check inspection copy availability for your course.

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ISBN: 9781412925495