As we are thinking about demonstration texts for our UoS, it's helpful to think about making sure that our models are inside of our students Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD).
As I was digging through notes from institutes past, I stumbled upon the following notes from a February Institute in 2009 entitled: Using Touchstone Texts to Teach Reading and Writing Well. This particular small group section was led by Emily Smith, who is now a Senior Research Assistant and Lead Staff Developer at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project.
She gave the following tips for writing models (or demonstration texts) for young writers:
1. Write forward as best you can (and then write backward) with your students in mind and some of the predictable problems in the UoS.
2. Look at a piece of student writing and try to replicate the writing moves that run through the piece in the demonstration text. Make your text assessment based: What are your observations of students and their writing based on conferring, and reading their pieces? What trends and patterns are evident in the whole class?
3. Focus on different qualities in your student models depending on the needs of your students. Instead of just focusing on how to elaborate, write through the lens of structure to improve or lighten (write backward) the writing.
Look at the demonstration text below. Which grade level or age group could you imagine using this text with? What moves are evident in the piece? What could you imagine teaching in a conference, small group, mini-lesson etc.?