Listen in as third graders talk about what makes good writing:
it uses words that help me imagine what’s happening
it has a hook
it has details
it has description…but not too much
it uses punctuation
it has facts
it sounds good…every sentence doesn’t sound like every other sentence
you can tell the main idea…you pretty much know what it’s about
it uses paragraphs
it has transitions
This class of writers has time to write every day. Their teacher has written with them and shared his writing as well. By March they have a pretty good idea about what makes writing interesting. If we categorize their responses, we see that they have mentioned the following: Focus (it has a main idea; you can tell what it’s about), Ideas (content), Organization, Word choice (description, details, helps me imagine), Sentence variety ( it sounds good), and Conventions (punctuation, spelling). The writers didn’t mention Voice, but that’s a discussion for another day.
Nevertheless, using their knowledge of what makes writing interesting can inform their roles as peer conferrers. More on that tomorrow.