Recently, I spent several days consulting with teachers about conferring. I provided teachers with time to examine their conferring notes and student writing so they could use those items to create writing goals. (It helps to have writing goals so you can confer strategically with students.) Once teachers created writing goals for all of their students I encouraged them to look across their students’ writing goals to find goals multiple students had in common. From there, I asked them to craft teaching points for each goal so they had teaching points ready-to-go for conferences and strategy lessons across several units of study.
As I circulated around the room, I found some teachers who needed assistance crafting teaching points. While they were comfortable delivering teaching points written by others (e.g., the ones you find in the second part of the If…Then…Curriculum book in the TCRWP Units of Study), they were uncomfortable crafting their own. While I was able to provide some quick tutorials for writing teaching points, I realized I needed to do more to help these teachers become comfortable with writing teaching points.
First, I jotted some notes to capture what I know about writing teaching points.
Next, I took my notes and put together a guide for writing teaching points. Here it is:
Chances are you knew these things. I think what makes most people nervous about writing their own teaching points is worrying if they’ve got it right. The more you do it, the easier it will come to you. And soon enough, you won’t need to write teaching points down. You’ll be able to come up with them on-the-fly while you’re conferring with kids.
I am a literacy consultant who has spent the past dozen years working with teachers to improve the teaching of writing in their classrooms. While I work with teachers and students in grades K-6, I'm a former fourth and fifth-grade teacher so I have a passion for working with upper elementary students.
I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).