Free Resource for Conferring with Writers

Today I found a surprise in my inbox. The California Department of Education’s Smarter Balanced team selected my Confer and Learn: Writer’s Workshop Conferencing Tools as a featured resource in the Smarter Balanced Digital Library! Pretty neat, eh? You can learn all about this resource here and try it free! Let me know how it works in your classroom by commenting below. 🙂

Teacher Appreciation Abounds

For those of you who may not know, it’s Teacher Appreciation Week. I hope you’ll take the time to send a message or extend a kind gesture toward a special teacher in your life. We all have them either through our own educational experience or in the lives of our children. I hope you’ll brighten the day of a teacher you know! A very talented teacher I am lucky enough.. Read More

The Best Resource for Common Core Writing is Finally Here!

I am beyond excited to share a remarkable and extremely valuable resource that’s available free online. It’s called Understanding Proficiency, and it’s fantastic! Of course, I’m biased because I was one of the lucky educators who helped develop the content for the site. But I think you’ll quickly see how valuable the materials are for teachers, administrators, coaches, you name it! It’s the resource I’ve wished for since the Common.. Read More

LitCentric Resources are in the Digital Library

I got some great news last week…there are 5 new resources in the Smarter Balanced Digital Library from!  If you teach in a Smarter Balanced state, and your department of education has purchased access to the Digital Library, then you should be able to download my resources free of charge.  Here’s what’s available so far: Peer Editors Feedback Form: A Writer’s Workshop Conferencing Tool for grades 3rd-10th Crafting a.. Read More

Mahalo Oahu and Maui Educators

As happy as I am to be back on the mainland with my sweet little family, I find myself longing for the island life!  It was such a pleasure to not only visit Hawaii (I mean, how can you go wrong?), but to meet with such thoughtful practitioners who willingly gave up part of their very brief summer break to work with me and my colleagues to learn about performance.. Read More

Do You Have What it Takes to Create a Performance Task? Yes You Do!

Performance Tasks play an important role in next-generation assessments of Common Core State Standards.  This leaves teachers wondering: What defines a quality Performance Task?  How do Performance Tasks used in on-demand assessments compare with those used in the classroom?  What is a Performance Task anyway? The answers to these and many more questions can be found in the professional learning experience I’ve created here at  It’s easy to follow,.. Read More

Thank You Mendocino County Teachers!

Another busy two days presenting for the Building Educator Assessment Literacy project from WestEd and Stanford SCALE.  I had a wonderful time working with dedicated teachers and administrators in the Mendocino County area, along the coast of California.  Beautiful weather, beautiful people, and beautiful collaboration.  Thank you! I’m looking forward to working with you all online in the coming months as we work to implement performance tasks and the formative.. Read More

Smarter Balanced Performance Tasks: 3-5 Rubrics

As part of the Building Educator Assessment Literacy project sponsored by WestEd and Stanford SCALE, I’ve been providing workshops on the Elementary English Language Arts performance tasks from Smarter Balanced.  It’s been a great experience working with such a talented team and with such receptive audiences. One of the sessions we conduct in the workshop is a breakdown of how the 3-5 Informational and Opinion full-write rubrics are designed and.. Read More

Thank You Shasta County Teachers!

The last two days have been a whirlwind experience for me as a presenter, and for the teachers I was presenting to.  Whew!  We dove deeply into the performance tasks of the Smarter Balanced Assessment System to analyze how the work is organized and scored, what students are expected to know and do, and what all this means to our curriculum, instruction, and assessments.  My co-presenter, Nancy Veatch, and I.. Read More

The New Bloom’s Taxonomy

Most of us probably “grew up” in college education courses in which Bloom’s Taxonomy was referred to, again and again and again.  So much so that we started to roll our eyes (even if only secretly) every time a professor pulled out the infamous triangle.  But with the Common Core upon us, Bloom’s is gaining ground again and has a new partner in crime called Webb’s Depth of Knowledge.  Stanislaus.. Read More

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