Coming to Know: Writing to Learn in the Intermediate Grades

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by Nancie Atwell (Heinemann, 1990 ISBN 043508500X. Order Online.) Professional Book.
This review by Carol Otis Hurst first appeared in Teaching K-8 Magazine.
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Review

Nancie Atwell has compiled a series of articles about reading in the content areas in Coming to Know: Writing to Learn in the Intermediate Grades. The book has four sections: Researching and Reporting, The Power of Learning Logs, Reading and Writing, and Teaching and Learning. It's all good, but one of the most useful chapters for me, at any rate, was Chapter Six: Knitting Writing: The Double-Entry Journal in which Charlene Loughlin Vaughan assigned double entry journals for science and social studies. Using spiral bound notebooks, she instructed third grade students to use the left page for drawings, notes, diagrams, observations, word clusters, mapping and metaphors and the right page for "cooking" those ideas. A quick look at the right pages shows her what her students have and have not learned, helps student and teacher to set up learning goals, and formulate questions for further research. They also use the double-entry journals as "holding tanks for data to use during the writing workshop." I'm going to try it with my next group of researchers.

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