P.O.W.E.R.ful Writing

This week’s drop of awesome comes from Cam Milleson, the blog’s middle school teacher friend in Kernville, California. Cam’s kids are working on a suspense narrative, so she built the following progress-tracker to keep everyone focused (click on the image to take a closer look):

The inspiration came from Flocabulary’s use of the POWER acronym and Cam put her own spin on what those steps mean for her kids and this assignment. For my world, I needed to apply the technique to argument writing, so I made a more generalized set. Click here to grab your own copy.

Cam says she wanted “to remind students that good writing can be obtained by following a process, and a willingness to do a bit at a time. I set loose deadlines to track if they’re keeping up. Many of my eighth graders lack the soft skills for longer term planning, get overwhelmed, and quit. This helps us to see who’s on track and allows me to spend time with kiddos who need it.”

As her students work through the process, Cam is able to quickly take the pulse of the room. “It’s pretty empowering for the kids to go move their sticky to the next phase, and helps motivate some to keep up. I try to scoop up the rest and move them along.”

Cam was inspired by another teacher’s post on Facebook who “went all out with magnetic strips…Obviously, you can see by my crooked lines, I’ve got an investment of Expo marker, stickies, and a few sheets of colored paper. The strength is the tool, though, and helping kids through the process. I should mention, they are super excited about writing, and I haven’t seen that yet this year…[Now] I hear them on campus saying things like, ‘How are you going to use first-person with that story?’ or, ‘Will this include a cliffhanger ending?’ They are learning about how the choices made affect style. So, so exciting!”

Thanks, Cam, for sharing this idea and reminding us that simple tools are often the most effective. Teach on, everyone!

Image and materials used with permission of Cam Milleson.

6 thoughts on “P.O.W.E.R.ful Writing

  1. Yay! Thank you…this is going to work! 🙂

  2. Baby steps are so important with kids. Especially with middle-school, it’s so easy for them to give up because they look at the whole picture, or the entire project, and get discouraged. Even as adults, it’s easy for us to forget how easy it is to complete something when we take it a little bit at a time.

  3. Absolutely, Jennifer! I, also, have to “chunk” up large projects into mini-deadlines. A valuable life skill!

  4. Hi, Laura! I was just wondering, do you have any materials for building body paragraphs? Thanks! 🙂

  5. Hey, Kelsi, I have models in each of my writing units over at the TpT shop, but I haven’t yet put those together in a blog post or YouTube video. Definitely on my “I really ought to build that” list of project ideas.

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