My search for a new co-author of TWT was like a person’s search for a spouse or partner. I was not searching for Ruth’s replacement because each of us is unique. However, I knew I needed to find a new writing partner who would stay true to the Two Writing Teachers’ mission, which Ruth and I wrote in June 2007. I wanted to find someone who had been blogging and possibly even Slicing. I had to connect with the person when we spoke on the phone since we’d be cultivating an important relationship as writers, educators, and hopefully as friends. I needed to find someone who truly believed teachers of writing must be writers themselves. Would it be possible to find all of that in one person?
I was humbled by the incredible group of teachers, literacy coaches, staff developers, and writers who were interested in joining me on the next part of my blogging journey at Two Writing Teachers. I thought I’d hear from a handful of people. Instead submissions poured in from all over North America! As I read the answers to the questions I posed I came to realize I couldn’t continue blogging with just one co-author. Instead, I would re-launch the blog with a team of people.
Once I made the decision to re-launch with a group of co-writers, I had to find the right mix of people. I wanted to work with some classroom teachers and some coaches. I wanted a team who worked with primary, upper elementary, and middle school students. I wanted to find people from different geographic areas. After careful consideration, I put together a team of dynamic educators and writers. Together, we’ll spend the next few weeks brainstorming ideas to make sure this blog continues to be a resource for teachers of writing.
In July, Lynne Dorfman and Rose Cappelli introduced me when I delivered the keynote speech on the final day of the Pennsylvania Writing and Literature Project’s summer institute. Their introduction was mentored after The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown. What touched my heart the line where they said, “But the important thing about Stacey Shubitz is that she is a teacher of writers — young and old.” Therefore, I am using a line from Brown’s book as inspiration to help me tell you a little more about each of these impressive educators.
- Anna Gratz Cockerille is a literacy coach, staff developer, and writer who resides in New York City. She recently co-authored Bringing History to Life with Lucy Calkins, part of the 2013 series Units of Study in Opinion, Information, and Narrative Writing. Anna has taught writing workshops and worked with writing teachers from New York to Sydney and lots of places in between. But the important thing about Anna Gratz Cockerille is that she is due to become a mom for the first time in early November.
- Betsy Hubbard is a K/1 looping teacher from Michigan. She has a passion for poetry, which she shares with children and adults through Chalk-a-Bration. Betsy welcomed new Slicers this past March as the head of the Welcome Wagon. But the important thing about Betsy Hubbard is she makes an effort to notice and love everyday, every student, and every moment.
- Beth Moore is a staff developer for the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, traveling around the country to support teachers with reading and writing workshops. She is a co-author of Units of Study in Opinion, Information, and Narrative Writing: A Common Core Workshop Curriculum. Beth and her family currently live in Vermont. But the important thing about Beth Moore is that she loves to learn — about anything and everything.
- Dana Murphy is a K-8 literacy coach from Illinois. Last March, she brought the Slice of Life Story Challenge to her district. This year some of the teachers from Dana’s district have rolled out the Challenge with the children in their classrooms. But the important thing about Dana Murphy is that she is the mother of Maddie and Katie, which she thinks is the best job in the world.
- Tara Smith is a sixth grade teacher from New Jersey who helps her students transition from elementary to middle school. She believes in empowering her students’ voices. Tara infused the Slice of Life Story Challenge into her classroom all year last year — and is doing it again with her present classes. But the important thing about Tara Smith is she loves the work she does.
Please come back next week, starting on Monday October 7th, to learn more about each new co-blogger who will introduce herself more extensively. Until then, I hope you’ll leave a comment welcoming Anna, Betsy, Beth, Dana, and Tara to TWT.
Finally, even though there are now six of us, you can expect many things to stay the same here at TWT:
- You’ll still be able to locate this blog by pointing your browser to https://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com.
- The Slice of Life Story Challenge will continue to be hosted here every Tuesday year-round and for all 31 days of March.
- The Writing Teachers will continue to be a place:
- For teachers to be fueled with a passion for teaching, writing, and living.
- For teachers to see the latest in research and ways to apply it in their classrooms.
- For us to “practice what we preach” by sharing our own writing.
- To bring writing teachers together to share ideas and stretch each other’s thinking.
- To reflect on our teaching — celebrating when it goes well and working it out when it doesn’t.
Literacy Consultant. Author. Former 4th and 5th Grade Classroom Teacher.