My 5th grade class is in the middle of their second writing project. The project is a multi-genre writing project that I wanted to last about 2-3 weeks. The project started off really strong. Students were asked to used a couple of strategies that had been used before and they went really well. I also introduced a couple of new techniques that also went very smoothly. I felt my students had a strong beginning to the writing process. However, the further we go into the project and my involvement is not as predominant, I become more nervous. In the beginning of the project I was in front of the class guiding them through their writing, now I am conferencing, asking questions, answering questions, and some times just observing. I now this is the way it should be, however, I always feel like there is more that I should do during this time. I feel this way, but at the same time I now that as a teacher it is my job to also teach independence. I need to learn to be comfortable letting students do this kind of independent work. My goal is to figure out the best ways that I can help students during this time. The past week while I conference with students I have other students waiting to meet with me. While they wait they are wasting valuable time. I want a procedure that will alleviate this. I just haven’t found that procedure yet.
Another thing that I am really struggling with is to figure out how much time students should spend on their rough drafts. For this project I ask students to make one writing piece that includes three different writing formats. An example would be a magazine that has a cover, article, pictures with captions and an informational poem. I know this type of multi-genre project takes time, but how much time is to much time? Last week some students were finishing up their notes and others began writing. At the beginning of this week, some are still starting their first writing piece while others are on their third format and about ready to begin revision. I plan to give the rest of this week for rough drafts and next week to final drafts. Students have 20 minutes a day. Is this too much time or too little? I want to finish the project and still have time for some smaller writing activities before EOGs are upon us.