If you want to teach me to write, first you have to love me. ~AVI

Sunday, March 25, 2012

SOLS 25 ~ Pondering Possibilities

       I am so immersed in getting ready for the week ahead, I almost forgot about my SOLS. While perusing through some materials to assist with writing mini-lessons I was reminded. It dawned on me that it was getting late, so I quick needed to decide on a focus for tonight’s post.
The following quote and accompanying text from Day by Day written by Ruth Ayres & Stacey Shubitz are speaking to me tonight:
Writers don’t need to be given formulas; they need to be shown possibilities.
I am thankful for the March writing challenge and the balance that it maintains for my students and I. Like so many classrooms across the country, we are weaving in some ELA and Math test preparation. While we are determined not to teach to the test, we are doing some work in the testing genre.
One of our anchor charts is the “Answer Sandwich” recipe, the formula for a well-written paragraph responding to a prompt. Like so many recipes, there are variations and different names, but the staples are present in each adaptation: topic sentence, supporting details, & conclusion. Be sure to include evidence from the text in your supporting details! You can’t go wrong with these traditional steps. How about the creative cook that likes to kick it up a notch and incorporate his or her own flavor? Sure the writers who have a distinctive voice or stellar word choice will spice up their offerings, but really this is a tried and true formula. Perhaps it’s the tollhouse cookie of writing: pretty standard, can’t go wrong with this recipe. Most cooks have the ingredients on hand for these “go-to” recipes.
As I mentioned, I am thankful that we are participating in the March challenge with the Two Writing Teachers. Our slice of life stories allow us to slow down, to live like writers, to tweak the recipes, or maybe even set aside the cookbook.       


  1. Thanks for that quote about forumlas. It was a very timely reading for us! In Australia we are fast approaching the national testing date and forumlas for writing are aplenty.
    What I take from your post is the need to stress that these are not maths forumals (ones that are made and NOT to be tweaked), they are instead cooking forumlas- designed to be tweaked to suit the cook.

  2. I was just thinking about the possibilities for writing this morning - I know that I don't seize enough of them throughout my week.

  3. Great analogy! I love the freedom that comes with the challenge, and sometimes, more than freedom, it is a challenge to not write the same way every day... to try new "recipes" or even create our own! :)