That’s a wrap on our first blog series of 2015-2016, Creating Classroom Environments to Launch the School Year. This was also our first blog series as a newly expanded team, and included first official posts from the brilliant Deb Frazier and Kathleen Sokolowski.
Here’s a quick recap of the series, in case you missed a moment of it or would like a handy reference.
- I kicked off the series with a post on ways to set up your classroom environment to launch writing partnerships right from the start. I suggested planning ahead so partners can quickly connect in the meeting area and making space for partner conferences during independent writing time.
- Next, Betsy posted about classroom charts designed to launch a strong year of writing. She described charts that support independence right from the start, goal-setting, and crucial start-of-the-year skills, like stamina and choosing topics.
- Dana posted about introducing writer’s notebooks. She suggested creating excitement and fanfare around the distribution of the notebooks, perhaps by refraining from giving them out immediately and holding an appropriate ceremony for distribution. She reminded us to provide plenty of great notebook mentors, with the teacher’s own being the most important of all.
- Beth taught us all about paper choice in her post. She included brilliant visuals and descriptions of the ideal paper to offer to writers at a huge range of levels, from the emergent to the fluent. She included tips for organizing paper choices in the writing center, and teaching points that will help kids to choose their paper with increasing independence.
- Stacey posted about displaying student work and encouraged us to begin the year with empty walls. Spend more time planning units of study or organizing your classroom library than creating wall art, was her sage advice. Instead of going for cuteness, go for openness and an invitation for students to create the kind of classroom in which they’ll feel proud living.
- Kathleen shared her post on creating spaces in the classroom for writing and writing inspiration. She shared tips for the set-up of spaces that encourage independent writing and for spaces where students can access the tools they need to do their best work, like materials and technology. She also shared ways to create spaces for students to study beautiful published writing and for students to share their work.
- Deb posted about setting up for technology use. She shared lovely visuals and gave insightful tips on creating spaces for students to benefit from technology as a group and as individuals. Learn how to integrate technology in your classroom as seamlessly as you integrate pencils and writing paper in this post.
- Tara posted about setting up for the middle school writing workshop. Because students often come from different writing workshop experiences in elementary school and because the schedule and expectations are so different in middle school, Tara’s post is a must-read if you are a middle school writing teacher. Learn how to organize tools and space to encourage consistency, independence, and maximum efficiency.
We hope you join us tomorrow on Twitter to think about all things classroom environments at 8:30pm EDT. #TWTBlog. Click the image below for a preview of the questions. We’d love to hear about ways you’ve set up your classroom. Photos are always more than welcome! Looking forward to chatting with you tomorrow.
Anna is a staff developer, literacy coach, and writer, based in New York City. She taught internationally in places such as Sydney, Australia; San Pedro Sula, Honduras, and Auckland, New Zealand in addition to New York before becoming a staff developer for the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University (TCRWP). She has been an adjunct instructor in the Literacy Specialist Program at Teachers College, and teaches at TCRWP where she helps participants bring strong literacy instruction into their classrooms. Anna recently co-wrote Bringing History to Life with Lucy Calkins, part of the 2013 series Units of Study in Opinion, Information, and Narrative Writing (Heinemann). She has been a researcher for Lucy Calkins, contributing especially to Pathways to the Common Core (Heinemann, 2012) and Navigating Nonfiction (Heinemann, 2010).