Friday, January 21, 2011

Conferring in the Persuasive Review Writing Unit

Okay, so the units have begun in your classroom and now you have spent some time looking at the writing and teaching during the workshop.  You are wondering how you might be able to support your writers further.  Take a look at some of these "If... Then..." suggestions.  Keep in mind that these are suggestions to guide you - not "musts," as we want to make sure we talk with writers first in a conference so we can determine their intention for their writing time before we deliver a teaching point.

A few possible ideas for conferring with writers
in the persuasive review-writing unit of study

If you see or research a writer doing this…

Then, you might teach this…
A writer knows what she wants to write about but is not sure how to get started.

Start with the name of what you are reviewing and say how you feel about it (good or bad).

A writer who is started with a few sentences that show how she feels about the subject.  But, she is not sure what else to add.
You can write your review by telling a bit of your story, “When I walked in I smelled…” or by telling the reader what she will experience, “When you walk in, you will smell…” or you can just state it, “The cupcake shop smells great.  The smell of vanilla cake hits a visitor as soon as she opens the door.”

A writer wants to write some details but is struggling to find the exact language to describe the subject.
Leave yourself a note or give yourself the job of finding more information about your subject (if you need to look up a price, if you need to look up the name of the author or the name of the characters).


Use your artifact (like a menu, book jacket, movie ticket, or video game instruction manual) to give you more information to add into your review.

A writer has told an opinion of the subject.
Add a list of reasons to support your opinion.  You may use some of the same kids of reasons as the mentor authors.  For example, food writers often write about the taste of the food, the atmosphere, and the service.  You could try the same thing.


Reread your scratchpad to find some reasons why you liked or disliked your subject.

A writer has added some details but wants to write more.
Add a counter argument to your review.  Take some time to think about what the other perspective might be and argue against it.  You can add words like, “I don’t like this restaurant, but you might like it if you…”


Add in some information that builds your credibility as a review of this subject.


Add a caution, warning, or rating system to the end of your review.

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