Writing Workshop Architecture Assessment Mentor Texts and Charts Sample Lessons
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“Why have charts become second nature and an expected artifact of our teaching? It might be because, above all, charts teach children to be independent problem solvers, and is there anything more important than that?”Matinelli and Mraz


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Nothing gives away a workshop classroom more than seeing teacher created charts plastered around the room. Charts have become an expected artifact of workshop teaching. Though they are bright and colorful “decorations”, charts serve a greater purpose besides making a classroom pleasant to observe. Charts capture student’s attention, increase retention, and promote independence.

When teachers create their own anchor charts with their students, they are creating visual aids. Eye-catching visuals capture student’s attention and increase their capacity to recall information. “When information is presented in only spoken form, 10 percent is recalled after seventy-two hours. Add visuals and 65 percent is recalled in the same time period (Medina, 2008 as cited in Martinelli & Mraz, 2012). In addition to promoting engagement and assisting with recall, charts encourage student independence. Charts are meant to aid children in solving typical problems that arise as they work. For example, a student may be struggling to come up with an idea for writing, even though the teacher recently taught idea generation strategies to her class in a minilesson. If the teacher had also created a chart based on this minilesson and posted it in her classroom, the child would be able to refer back to it, recall the strategies, and quickly return to work. His problem would be solved independently of the teacher.

We are happy to include examples of various teacher created charts in this module. We view these charts as mentor texts. Just as you view a mentor text and search for the underlying craft lessons, we hope you will view these charts in the same way. We expect you will immediately notice the content or teaching points in each chart, but would like to suggest you also attend to the underlying processes used to create these visual aids. Paying attention to the things that make these charts so powerful such as the use of color, pictures, and symbols. We hope you will find these mentor texts useful for teaching minilessons and supporting your work with students.

(click on a link to view the section content of Charts)

Charts Process & Procedures Writing Charts
Informational Writing Charts
Narrative Writing Charts
Opinion Writing Charts