Saturday, July 16, 2011

Atwell Workshop DVDs

I have mentioned Nancie Atwell's Reading in the Middle and Writing in the Middle DVDs a few times but still have not done an official post of them as a resource. I highly recommend buying the DVDs as the bundle unless you only teach one of the two subjects. Each of the resources comes in a folder with a DVD, a CD with additional resources (including reproducible forms and student examples), and a facilitator's guide. The folder also outlines the titles and times of the different clips, ranging from around a minute to fifteen minutes in length. The reading set contains more than 20 resources on the CD, while the writing set contains more than 45. The facilitator's guide shows how the DVDs and CDs complement each other well, in addition to providing a sample organization and discussion questions.

Both DVDs start and end similarly, showing Atwell setting up her classroom and then reflecting on the end of the classroom. There is some common language in these introductory and concluding clips before shifting to the specific content. A large portion of the video footage is from the start of the school year when Atwell is establishing procedures, but there are also some features that show the progression later on. I love that it showed glimpses from different points in the school year.

Even though I watched the DVDs in the spring when I received them, I just viewed them again to take notes about each section as a future reference, as well as notes about when I might use the resources to supplement the facilitator's guide. With this next school year I will utilize this resource in various contexts. First, I will use it as support materials for a reading and writing workshop training that I will be doing in August. Additional clips will also be beneficial for my colleague that will be filling in for me next year, and I will also use them for the children's literature courses that I will be teaching next year for pre-service teachers. Last spring I showed one of the book talk clips to the children's lit class.

It is always nice to see concepts in action, especially when it is a teacher so highly regarded as Nancie Atwell. I appreciated seeing her calm, yet firm demeanor to set up the ideal workshop environment. This is a great resource to complement the other Atwell resources already available through Heinemann, as well as her Scholastic book, The Reading Zone. We are able to see how her years of experience, teaching intentionally and learning along with her students to determine how to continually improve, have fostered the respectful, stimulating environment of readers, writers, and thinkers shown in the DVDs. This is one of those resources that has value for a range of previous experience, from those who are just familiarizing themselves with workshop to those who are veterans.

One additional aspect is that all royalties from the sales of these resources goes toward tuition assistance for students at the school that Atwell founded in Edgecomb, Maine, the Center for Teaching and Learning. That of course made me happy!

1 comment:

  1. This sounds great (of course, it's Nancie Atwell!). I'll just have to find a way to purchase this for our department!
    PS love the new look to your pretty and welcoming.