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In The Beginning: Young Writers Develop Independence

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Catalogue Number:  000120
Producer:  Stenhouse Publishers
Subject:  Professional Development
Language:  English
Grade Level:  Educators
Country Of Origin:  U.S.
Copyright Year:  2004
Running Time:  30

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While literacy development begins long before children are of school age, the kindergarten classroom marks an important moment as students embark on their lifelong journey as writers. In the Beginning: Young Writers Develop Independence offers a close-up view of master teacher Emelie Parker's writing workshop at Bailey's Elementary School for the Arts and Sciences in Falls Church, VA, a school where nearly all students enter kindergarten as English language learners.

In the Beginning captures the sights and sounds of a busy kindergarten classroom as Emelie works with her students. Viewers will observe a skillful teacher who knows how to listen, record, and tailor her instruction to writers at widely varying levels of development. We see how Emelie creates a workshop environment that nurtures her students while holding them accountable for their learning.
This video explores many of the essential teacher-student transactions that support young children as they break into print including teaching skills in context, word work, and conferring with young writers. The camera follows one student, Jesse, from start to finish in a segment that reveals how simple and powerful the publishing event can be for a child.

Throughout, we see the crucial, ongoing link Emelie forges between her students' reading and their writing. In the Beginning offers a rare view inside the mind of an accomplished teacher as she makes a million moment-to-moment decisions during a hectic kindergarten day, while never losing sight of her primary goal: to help her students develop into independent writers.

About the Authors

Ralph Fletcher is a friend of writing teachers everywhere. Born in Plymouth, Mass., he received his bachelor's degree from Dartmouth College and his master's degree from Columbia University.

JoAnn Portalupi likes to introduce herself as a mother, teacher, writer, and artist. Each of these roles informs the work she does in the field of teaching writing.


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