I found Empowering Writer materials about two years ago. I was so impressed with them I flew to Connecticut to see if the materials would be a good match for Texas. Our first workshop for my district will be on March 31st. Everyone who looks at my children's writing samples wants to know how I taught them to write like they do.
What state are you from?
My daughter is using the Empowering Writers approach with 7th grade classes. I teach 4th grade, and we are both convinced that this approach works. Too many writing programs are more of the same thing. Unlike programs that show you what quality looks like, this program gives you the lessons you need to have your students produce quality writing.
I teach 3rd grade in NC, but we would adopt the program at least k-5 possibly k-12. No formal decision has been made yet and I hoping to see some materials before we make a final decision, probably by April. I have enough resources and experience to make things work, but we need consistency across the grades and new teachers need a clearly defined program. The training I've had in writing is based on using the students' work to guide where you go next. This is easier said then done for some teachers. Thanks for your feedback!
I thought you might be from North Carolina. I know Empowering Writers is very popular in that state. We do not test writing in Texas until the 4th grade. Do you test in third there? Out third grade teachers do very little writing because our children can not be promoted to 4th grade without passing the third grade reading test. The pressure is so intense for that test that writing is usually just overlooked. This makes it harder on the students in fourth where we test reading, math and writing.
I would love for our district to start using Empowering Writers in every classroom. We have so many teachers that don't have any idea how to teach writing. I felt like I was a strong writing teacher before I started using Empowering Writers. I know now that I am so much better at teaching writing than I was. If you enjoy teaching writing, you will enjoy this approach. It just makes so much sense. My kids beg to write everyday. It is probably the favorite subject for most of my class.
Martha, I also teach fourth grade in Texas. I went to the Empowering Writers website. The materials do look great. Could you tell me which ones you use the most or would recommend to start with? Thanks
I teach 4th grade in NC, and have used Empowering writers the past two years. We are just now beginning to use it in younger grade levels. I do like it a lot and know that it has improved the scores for my students who already have the basics. My problem lies in the students who do not have the basics, this tends to confuse them.
Where are you in Texas? I am from Odessa. (West Texas)
Barbara Mariconda will be here on March 31st. I believe this will be the first workshop given in Texas. If you don't mind giving me your regional service center number, I will let her know. Empowering Writers will be offering workshops in Texas starting this coming school year. I would recommend buying the Most Wonderful Writing Lessons Ever and the Comprehensive Narrative Guide.
I actually went to Connecticut to see if these materials were a good match for Texas. They are!!!!
I am student teaching in a 4th grade classroom (in NC) who used Empowering Writers. I was very empressed, and even learned how to become a better writer myself. I would reccommend this program We'll find out how well it worked when we get their Writing EOG scores.
I just saw your message. Barbara was here on March 31st, and our teachers loved the workshop. We hope to have her back in August. Empowering Writers has offered me a job next year as they begin to bring their materials in to Texas. Ask your principal to be on the lookout for materials regarding Empowering Writers. At this time I am still teaching fourth grade here in Odessa. I'll let you know if I hear that there will be a training close to you. Martha
Empowering Writers does not use the writer's workshop approach. They have a website you can go to by just typing in Empowering Writers. I have used a writer's workshop approach and have found the Empowering Writers method much easier to manage. The quality of the student's work improves much faster than with the writing workshops. If you are interested in hearing a training on Empowering Writers, Region 18 will be having one the last week in September or the first week in October. You might check with them for times etc. Martha
I just discovered this website today because of looking for writing material. I'm interested in Empowering Teachers. I've been a writing resource teacher for many years but this is new to me. I teacher 4th grade in the state of Florida where our students have a state test in both narrative and expository writng styles. This year our narrative scores were much lower than expository because we focused on personal narrative and they were given a fictional narrative about telling a story about a "smart pet." Also, my job will change this fall and I will be teaching ony writing as part of a fourth grade where children come to me for a 90 minute block three times a week. In the past I went from classroom to classroom every 45 minutes. I've been given "the candy story" so to speak, and want to have fun, be creative, give children the love of writing, and do well on the state exam. Will this program help? Any other suggestions for materials or guides would be welcomed.
I wish you could look at the book sitting on my kitchen table right now. It is the Comprehensive Expository Writing Guide. It is also published by Empowering Writers. It is wonderful!!
Through the years I have also used a book called "If You Are Going to Teach Writing You Have Got to have This Book". I don't know if it is still in print. It is full of ideas for writing. The other book I mentioned though gives you specific lessons.
It sounds like you have quite a job for next year.
The Expository Guide has 435 pages in it. There are examples, student pages and lesson plans. If you get a chance to see one of these, let me know what you think. I haven't seen very many books that address expository writing in the depth that this one does.
I just read your post, and we have the same problem in our school district.
I teach 3rd grade language arts, and the emphasis is on passing the READING portion of the test, so unfortunately WRITING gets left behind! I am guilty of this!!
This year, we third grade teachers got so tired of hearing the 4th grade teacher complain that my kids can't write, we decided as a grade level to do something about it.
We are splitting up the 3rd graders using a 3 way switch. The other language arts teacher will be teaching reading, and I will be teaching writing and spelling. I already have the Lucy Caulkins program (Which is great),but after hearing so may great responses about empowering writers, I also ordered books from this writer. I haven't gotten them yet, but am anxiously awaiting the shipment any day!!
Anyway, as I said, I will focus on teaching writing, and the other teacher will do reading. In January, the goal is for both of us to reinforce reading FCAT skills till the test in February. This way, the students will have a whole year of writing and only miss out for 1 month, as opposed to missing out on writing for 9 out of 10 months!!
I am very excited about this approach, and hope it works for our school!!
My major suggestion would be to attend a workshop if you have not already done so. I attended after I had ordered the Narrative materials (which are great), but the presenter just put it all together for me and also gave alot of helps! LOVE IT!!
I use Empowering Writers with my 7th graders and love it! I do, however, have one issue... it would be wonderful if there were a student workbook to use with it and a more comprehensive answer key. There were situations where the discussion, examples and questions really needed more explanation in the teacher text.