Pittsburgh Concord Pre K-5 creates a culture of writing

Pittsburgh School District  |  Posted on

image- Pittsburgh SD ConcordThere’s power in the author’s chair. Even the youngest writing students at Pittsburgh Concord Pre K-5 feel it. When students sit in the author’s chair and read their writing to the class, they understand that there is an audience for their work, and that others can help them clarify their thoughts and improve their writing.

When Michael Perella became principal at Concord, he had a good reason for putting an instructional focus on writing. “It’s is one of those skills that is essential in just about every profession,” says Perella. “Using the writer’s workshop model, which includes the author’s chair, students learn how to organize, develop, and share their thinking in order to communicate effectively.”

Writing has become an important part of the curriculum at Concord. Because there’s a specific time in the day for writing and a place where students can participate in the writing process, Concord students are becoming more comfortable with expressing themselves through the written word. Teachers report that students are taking more time with writing, exploring new words, and taking risks in their writing that they may not have done before. Students are also learning to accept feedback from both teachers and their peers, and use it to make improvements to their work.

Danilla Woolley, literacy instruction support teacher, is on staff to help teachers become more proficient at guiding students through the writing process. The teachers meet regularly to review student work, discuss best practices for teaching students how to write, and to review standards that will impact the writing portions of state-mandated exams.

Principal Perella added a unique twist to the writing program at Concord. Because the school has a growing number of English language learners, he has created a more inclusionary writer’s workshop model. “Every student is a language learner,” says Perella. “At Concord, it’s about everyone learning to write and writing to learn.”

Watch the video: https://vimeo.com/185636043