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.
12 thoughts on “Quick Tips for Writing Teaching Points”
This is great, Stacey. I especially appreciate the remind of what language to use when introducing a teaching point. I often forget that part and just launch into whatever strategy I want to teach that day.
I also loved the Sketchnotes and that is on my “to learn” list! (Ever-growing!) I really like the idea of leaving an artifact for the teaching point but need to think on what those would look like for my specific points. Does anyone have the class keep a collection of points in their notebook? There is so much to think about and return to in this post! Thanks Stacey!
Reblogged this on Teach2Know.
Fantastic post! I love your teaching point doodling. This would be great to do at the start of a unit. Brain storming possible teaching points.
Oh, good stuff! Hashing out all of our processes takes us to new depths, doesn’t it? I can see us creating a similar anchor chart together as teachers in our own notebooks. And, I agree with Stefanie, turning our doodles and notes into presentable guides is a skill we must also learn.
Thank you, Stacey!
. . . and “Make sure that you can do the teaching point in your own writing!”
Those are key!
Great post, Stacey, with fabulous supports from your graphics!
I’m finding that it’s “fear” of doing it wrong that makes folks uncomfortable /less comfortable with their own teaching points. There is no book of “teaching points”. To minimize the fear, teachers must do 2 things from your chart. “Try out the teaching point in their own writing
I agree Fran. This is what our teachers struggle with most. They worry they will do the wrong thing.
As Jen Serravallo once told me, it takes 2 years to get really good at conferring. In that time we have to give ourselves permission to miss the mark. Same goes for writing our own teaching points. Once we do it enough times, we get it right. With frequent practice comes steady progress.
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I never have thought about creating an anchor chart with the teaching points prominently displayed to keep us ALL on track. Thank you!
I appreciate how you shared your thinking first, Stacey. I think this is especially helpful for teachers whose ideas pop into their heads randomly. Getting it all down on a brainstorming sheet (love the little graphics) leads to better organization later.
It may not truly be the point of your post, but I love how you turn your artsy doodle notes into a professional, well-structured guide for teachers. That’s another process for some of us to absorb!
The Teaching Points Guides is good though. I really have to focus on repeating the point a number of times during my lessons. Sometimes we forget how powerful & necessary a simple strategy is.
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