Understanding Writing: Ways of Observing, Learning, and Teaching

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Thomas Newkirk, Nancie Atwell
Pearson Education Canada, 1988 - Education - 312 pages
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Writing teachers must be observers. At the heart of writing-process instruction is the art of informed observation.The Skilled teacher needs to determine what students can do, what changes they've made, what patterns of assistance they receive from other students, what themes dominate their writing. And teachers need to observe themselves-to reflect on what they see and do.

Understanding Writing is a book about observing. It contains no recipes for success. What it does contain are thirty chapters, most written by classroom teachers, that provide insights into student growth. The book is rich in examples of student work, from Kevin's self-portrait (complete with a point on his head) to Laura's eloquent poem, written after the shuttle explosion.

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About the author (1988)

NANCIE ATWELL teaches seventh-and eighth-grade writing, reading, and history at the Center for Teaching and Learning, a K-8 demonstration school she founded in Edgecomb, Maine, in 1990. Nancie was the first classroom teacher to receive the NCTE David H. Russell Award and the MLA Mina P. Shaughnessy Prize for distinguished research in the teaching of English.THOMAS NEWKIRK is a professor of English at the University of New Hampshire and the former director of that school's freshman English program. He has studied literacy learning at a variety of educational levelsfrom preschool to college. Newkirk is the coeditor of Taking Stock: The Writing Process Movement in the 90s (Boynton/Cook, 1994), and the editor of Nuts & Bolts: A Practical Guide to Teaching College Composition (Boynton/Cook, 1993).

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