Synthesizing: The Step Between Research and Writing

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Synthesizing is that step we can’t skip when teaching our writers to craft research writing. It is within the wait time between the research and the writing that students gain their best understandings. Here are five strategies to help your writers fill that wait time with meaningful ways to get their gears in motion in a mixing of new thinking.

Out of the Classroom and Into the World: Workshop by Katherine Schulten

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What are the educational issues calling your name? How can you use writing to share about your teaching experiences?  A Long Island Writing Project workshop, facilitated by Katherine Schulten, inspired me to keep sharing my teaching stories.

Three Reasons Spelling Lessons Aren’t Transferring into Writing Workshop–and What You Can Do

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The same kids who are successful with spelling patterns during word study time are sometimes not applying that spelling pattern to their independent writing. Why?

Six Ways To Make Charts More Student-Centered

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From the planning process to the creation, read to find out six ways to make kids the center of your charts–the center of learning.

SOL Tuesday

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Beginning the day more thoughtfully and mindfully leads to more thoughtful and mindful decisions as the day unfolds. Begin today with writing!

Seven Realities of Launching Workshop in Kindergarten

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This week, I welcome Katie Bristol as a guest blogger. Katie teaches kindergarten in Simsbury, CT, and she is my go-to person whenever I have a question about the youngest members of our school community. While her post may seem specific to kindergarten, her insights are important to educators who work in all grades. Follow Katie on twitter @bristol_katie.

Conferring Carl on Writing Conferences

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Want to improve your conferring? Carl Anderson’s new book, A Teacher’s Guide to Writing Conferences, will help you learn the ins and outs of conferring well with young writers.
Read the Q&A with Carl, then leave a comment on this blog post for a chance to win a copy of your own!

Coaching Writers in the Small Group

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Coaches of young athletes often offer tips, reminders, and suggestions from the sidelines in hopes of eliciting the best possible performance from the team.  As teachers of writing, we can borrow this structure in our small group settings.

Getting to Know Your Writers

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The decisions I make from the classroom library to family connections are intentional and responsive to building a community of writers and learning about the students who make up this community.

SOL Tuesday

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WRITE a slice of life story on your own blog.
SHARE a link to your post in the comments section.
GIVE comments to at least three other SOL bloggers.

Listening Bit by Bit

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Using video and visuals helped this young third-grader lead his class in a lesson on rehearsal and planning.

Finding Your Voice, Telling Your Story

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In what ways have you pushed yourself to try a new type of writing or to share your ideas in a public way? In July, I pushed myself to write a keynote speech and learned lessons along the way.

Overcoming Anxiety About Displaying Student Writing

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You see the beauty in your kids’ work: every misspelled word, every cross-out, every taped-on flap. You know that all that “messiness” is evidence of good work that kids are doing. Hard work. 

But outside your classroom, the rest of the world might not see it that way.

From the Classroom to the World: How a Young Writer is Making Her Voice Heard

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Find out how Amelia Poor, age 12, learned “at a really young age how powerful writing can be.”

Amelia’s journey will surely inspire you and your young writers!

SOL Tuesday

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  WRITE a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE a link to your post in the comments section. GIVE comments to at least three other SOLS bloggers.      … Continue reading

Unexpected Benefits of Flash Fiction

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Story compression did not require many instructional minutes, but the ratio of instructional value to the time it took was so worthwhile!

Write Them Back!

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Do you receive letters from your students at the start of the year? Do you write them back? In what ways do you get to know new students? How do you keep track of the information and use it as a guide for helping your writers grow?

Partnerships Can Provide Purpose and Power

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All writers seek feedback.  All writers write for an audience.  All writers question themselves. And for these reasons, writers long to bring their work to another person– another set of eyes, another pair of ears.  Hence, the writing partner in writing workshop.  When working well, partnerships can help grow the confidence of each writer in our classes by providing support, authentic peer feedback, and a sounding board for ideas.  Here are a few ingredients to consider when creating a community of writers…

Building Word Superheroes: With Permission and Invented Spelling

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Teaching students to take the risks necessary to be inventive spellers means I have to respect the stage of development of the student. I can’t expect the students to know (or use) something I haven’t taught.  It also means communicating to parents about what it means to use inventive spelling and its role in developing writers and readers.

SOL Tuesday

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For the last two weeks, I have had the privilege of visiting classrooms and talking about kindness. After watching the Kid President video, 20 Things We Should Say More Often the teacher and… Continue reading