The Reading and Writing Project
‘Learn to write by writing’ – this motto summarises the approach of Lucy Calkins, the author and teacher who founded the ‘Reading and Writing Project’. Four years ago, primary school teacher Robert MacLeod and Head of Primary School Colin Mortensen adapted this teaching exercise and implemented it at the Phorms Taunus Campus for the first time. Ever since, the project has been helping young people become enthusiastic and competent readers and writers. The approach is simple: continuous brainstorming, phrasing, reworking and revising yields a finished text, which is then presented and read out loud. Robert MacLeod first gives his students new input during a mini lesson, after which the children have several minutes to write everything down. Once they are capable of writing for a certain period of time without stopping, MacLeod increases the amount of available time, slowly working towards a smooth flow of writing. ‘My year 4 students have already learned to work on their texts for 50 minutes without interruption,’ the Canadian explains. It is also important to him that the children choose their own topics, revise their work independently wherever possible, and reflect on their process by constant inquiry and exchange with a partner. His project also teaches the students how to write a wide variety of texts, enabling the budding writers to experiment with argumentative, descriptive and lyrical texts.
Here you can read the pieces of Fia and Kia:
From: Fia, year 4 , Phorms Taunus Campus
I have written to ask you if I could get a miny garden. I would be delighted to share it with you too. Having an awesome garden could solve many difficulties and be helpfull in many other ways. I am sure you would thrilled to have one. Wouldn’t you? This letter is here to prove that. Please try to read this letter and understand why this is asked of you.
Well first of all having a miny garden could give you more free time. Seams crazy right? But this statement should certainly considered for obvious reasons. Their is no doubt you love free time. Who doesn’t? But you are drawing more now. More free time could make drawing more to drawing much more. Because we will be orginized: Wake up ??? plats. Come from school water plats. Not only will we be orginized but we will also be responsible. When we are responsible we do helpfull things. Like your dayly chores. And as you can see that will get you more free time because you won’t do all of your chores. You won’t need to. So voila. More drawing and free time for you. I know you want orginized and responsible kids because you say a lot of times that “we should be on top of things”. And you are happy when we do what you ask. But free time isn’t the only important thing for a happy life. So keep reading…
Another problem is a manner and behavior problem. You are always telling us to “clean your room, Have good manners”. Dad prefers a clean house and gets kind of grumpy when our house is messy. Sorry no offence dad! Well people feal connected to nature and like seeing plants. So a house feals comfortable with plants as it does when it is clean. Well people come and think wow their house was very enjoyable they must be responsible then they think “they are nice to hang out with”. So belive it or not a garden will give us a better reputation. But don’t leave for there is one more thing.
House rules! Our one house rule is Kindnes and Respect! Well we are not so good at that. A garden will help a little because the more time we spend gardening the less we spend on fighting and electronics. So we are kinder to each other. We obey the house rules, I’m sure you have noticed that Santi watches youtube videos all day. Well with garen work on his shoulders he will play a few hours less.
I do know that plants cost money and that we are saving money to go to the weddings in fall but I would like to take time to point out that each tomato plant is a tomato (tomatoes) less to buy and a pack of tomatoes costs less then a bunch of pots, seeds and others but a lot more tomatoes grow from the plants we plant then the amount we get from a pack in the store. Oh and don’t say that’s not good. You and I have had expirience with 40,000 cherry tomatoes. I’ll leave it at that.
One last problem. A space problem. Well first of all I have the biggest room with the biggest window on the sunny side. You see how that fits? 2nd of all we have a bare balcony that is also on the sunny side so in spring they can move there.
I would like you to get a miny garden because it will provide you with more free time, it will give us a better reputation and we will obey our house rule. How about we stop buy at a plant shop, get some plants (or at least consider it), become experts and start planting. I hope you agree with this letter and understand it.
From: Fia, year 4 , Phorms Taunus Campus
Dear Mr. Gehrig,
I’m writing to you to propose that we should have a classpet in each class. Class would be more enjoyable with a classpet. How would you feel when all your pupils would be overjoyed? Good right? How would you feel if you would have a classpet when you were a student? Or did you actually have one? I hope you will agree with me after you read my 3 reasons. Let’s start with my first reason.
First of all, we could study our pet in science if we should study animals or pets. We wouldn’t always have to go to the library or the ICT lab. We also wouldn’t have to spend our freetime at home to research. Of we wouldn’t have to research at home we would be more cheerful. This will lead to a better focus because we wouldn’t think about bad thoughts. Let’s move on to my next reason.
Secondly, we would work faster if we are allowed to play with our pet after we have finished our work. We could finish more things in each year because we all want to play with our pet. You just have to give shorter time for working on these things. That will lead to being smarter. If we are smarter we get good or better grades. If we get good grades we would get a good job. This will lead to a good future. More pupils would come because they want a good future too. That’s why we would get more money. Let’s move on to my next reason, which is conected this reason.
Thirdly, cause like I said we would get more pupils in this school. I am going to tell you the other reason. We would get more pupils in this school because we are the only school, I know, who (would) have classpets. If we get more money for the toys, books or for building the new schoolbuilding. We could also give more money to the teachers or yourself. If the teachers get more money they would be happier and want to stay. This would lead to teachers that would do a perfect job, because they would know what to d and wouldn’t always have to ask (what to do).
I know you will say that it will cost to much money to buy the puts, but I have an idea how we could earn the money. Student council should organize theatershows, backsales or cocktail sales to earn the money. We could also sell things we find in school and don’t need anymore. If you have any more reasons why we shouldn’t have classpets just ask me and I will find a solution.
Here my 3 reasons again (in short form) for why we should have classpets. 1.) We could study our pet in science if we should study animals or pets. 2.) We would work faster. 3.) We would get more pupils in this school. If you agree. What you could do first: First you could reasearch which animals or pets are good for a class. If you have any questions just ask me. Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. I hope you will agree now.