Learning with Saint Louis and Brenda Augusta

Some of My Learning from Working with Saint Louis and the Continuum
I was able to work with a group of educators from Saint Louis today who were delving into the use of their writing continuum.  Brenda Augusta (from Connect2Learning – the same company as Sandra Herbst – who visited us in June) was able to work with the staff and students to model the use of the continuum.
Here are some of my learnings:
1.       The message is more important than all other parts of the writing.  We need to value the message and allow the other (also important but not FIRST) elements to come later.  This means that spelling, punctuation, other conventions and even genre takes a second place to the importance of a clear message that conveys the meaning intended by the author.
2.       The continuum (no matter how good it is) has to be able to shift as the learning shifts.
3.       Sometimes there is nothing better than explicit instruction.  And finding the balance between explicit teaching and inquiry learning is tricky.
4.       If we want rigor (and we do) we have to show students examples of quality so that they can create it too.
5.      The continuum is a powerful tool for writing but also for descriptive feedback, giving us wording for next steps and transferring power to students so that they can control their improvements.
I would like to thank Brenda Augusta for a full day of thought provoking work.  I’d also like to thank Trudy for welcoming me in to the learning and the entire staff of Saint Louis for taking the risk to continue.  Special thanks to Mariette who ran herd on this, to Marnie who made lunch, to Karen who made gluten free delights, and to Lael who helped set up, clean up and keep everyone on track.
So, I learned these five things (and others) – what would you like to learn from the work of this group?  Or, if you were there today, what would you like to share about your learning?


2 thoughts on “Learning with Saint Louis and Brenda Augusta

  1. Thanks Mary. I think a key learning for me is writing as communicating a message – so in kindergarten initially the communication may be with materials, later on the message/story may be initially expresses with materials but may be followed with actually printed student work/”writing”.

    • I agree. I think that was part of the power of the second day of learning. The same process of communication was seen with very different tools being used. However, it was the similarities that prevailed over the differences.

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