Building a Community of Writers
in a First Grade Classroom

Mattie Davis , Frederick Douglass Elementary School
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Where do I teach?

What are my students learning?

Teaching Practice
What's my approach?

Student Work






Building Rituals and Routines Teaching Writing Conferencing with Students

Teaching Practice (excerpted from an interview)

I continually develop my approach to teaching through a lot of reading and working with people at the University of Pennsylvania, especially with Philadelphia Writing Project, and as I said, reading and observing others. It’s an amalgamation of different things. I think of Sylvia Ashton Warner years ago when I was a young woman. I read her phenomenal text, Teacher. She's having these wonderful conversations with children, letting them explore their world with reading and writing. She illustrated that it’s okay to bring the experience of the child into the classroom because that’s what they’re building upon, that our children are not just tabula rasas. They’re full of good stuff, so let’s bring that good stuff and let them see that school is not just this book knowledge but it’s knowledge. I also watched my mother years ago when she taught pre-school. She would engage her students in inquiry, they didn’t use the term inquiry but it was. Listening to many teachers with years of experience and also looking at the vitality of young teachers. So, all that informed what I do as well, and I’ll go a little deeper with working with phenomenal teachers with the Philadelphia Writing Project.






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Site last updated March 15, 2006