Peer Conferencing Tool for Writer’s Workshop

  Conferring with student writers is both a rewarding and frustrating task.  The best teachers I know love writing conferences during writer’s workshop because they allow them to better understand the needs of their students and help them teach in the most responsive way possible.  They also help them get to know their students as the amazing people they are. But there’s another side to writing conferences, a darker side,.. Read More

Writer’s Workshop Conferencing Tool

Year after year I hear from teachers about how much they value the writing conferences they have with their students.  But they also confide that there never seems to be enough time to get to everyone and give the feedback young writers deserve.  Exactly!  It’s no secret that it feels impossible to make it to every student writer every day.  And realistically, can we expect that of teachers?  The best.. Read More

J.K. Rowling on Writing

I was recently working with a talented 5th grade teacher who included a video in her writer’s workshop mini lesson.  The video featured an author who shared how and why she always carries her writer’s notebook – to capture dialogue, jot down a character name, recall a funny incident – in the world around her.  The students had such a positive response to the video, and the teacher and I.. Read More

A Resource for Writer’s Workshop

I’ve been using the videos from Annenberg Learner for years to help explain and demonstrate writer’s workshop in real classrooms.  It’s a wonderful resource because it not only provides quality video samples, it also structures the process of viewing the videos in a way that staffs can learn together through a series of readings, viewings, and conversations that inform our beliefs about writing and writing instruction.  Check them out, they’re.. Read More

Common Core 2nd Grade ELA Unit – Incredible!

I am so fortunate to work with some incredible educators, many of whom I consider Common Core experts. They have worked with the new standards for several years, deconstructing each one, analyzing student work, collaborating to design new units, and learning new instructional strategies to meet their students’ needs. Pretty remarkable. One such educator I work with is a talented second grade teacher in a high-needs school. We worked together.. Read More

Wrapping Up a Year Full of Writing: Reflecting On Fourth Grade Writer’s Workshop

This afternoon I collaborated with a dedicated group of 4th grade teachers who were wondering how to wrap up their writer’s workshop for the year.  They reflected on the fact that they spent a lot of time establishing their writing community in the fall, but that their year seemed to end abruptly and without any closure for them or their students.  They wanted to design a reflective experience for their.. Read More

Learn About Close Reading

I’m excited to share that this July I’ll be hosting a 3-day institute all about close reading! We’ll be exploring the strategy and learning how K-2 students can be taught to read closely. But that’s not all! We’ll learn how to relate our close reading lessons to writing across the three text-types in the Common Core. Read all about it: Follow this link to the homepage of the Area 3.. Read More

How to Make Grammar Fun!

Grammar instruction is coming back into focus (in some places it never left) since it’s taken hold in the Language section of the Common Core State Standards. We’ve all seen, experienced, or even taught grammar lessons in isolation that students have had success with. Yet, when it comes to transferring those skills to writing, we don’t see the same results. Why is this so? I wish I had the answer… Read More

Writer’s Notebook – Space for Revision

Writer’s notebooks are all the rage these days and they’ve led to notebooks for all subject areas. They are a fantastic tool for housing student work in various stages of the writing process. But how do you make space for revision in your writer’s notebook? Even if you skip lines or pages, sometimes you need another way. Enter the Revision Sidebar! A sidebar is a nonfiction text feature where additional.. Read More

Real Grammar in Real Time

Say the word “grammar” aloud and you can witness the visceral reactions of different adults around the room: cringing, shrinking, wincing. It’s understandable. Most of us remember grammar lessons in school that involved sentence diagramming or correcting poorly written sentences, and that infamous red pen that every teacher seemed to have fused to their index fingers. But grammar lessons today don’t have to be all bad. In fact, they can.. Read More

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