Contributing Writers

One of the things I value most as a member of the TWT family is our respect and appreciation for each other. Each of us brings something different to the blog. As a result, each of us connects with our readers in a unique way.

After nearly three years of being outstanding collaborators on Two Writing Teachers, Anna Gratz Cockerille and Tara Smith have decided to transition from co-authors to contributing writers. To find out why and what that means, please read their words below.   

A note from Anna:

It was not an easy decision to wrap up my tenure as co-author at Two Writing Teachers at this juncture. I have been honored to contribute to such an important resource for writing teachers and to be part of a community by whose reach I am constantly amazed. During the two and half years I wrote for TWT, my personal life was rife with changes. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a more tumultuous time. I gave birth to one son, lost my father, had another son. My husband and I bought a house, moved, sold the house, moved again. In my career, I moved from staff developer to coach to editor to mostly stay-at-home mother. It is mainly because of this last role that I must bid farewell for now to Two Writing Teachers.

In 2015, the One Little Word I chose to motivate me for the year was time. So much of what I wrote in that post is even more relevant now. As I have decided to dedicate myself predominantly to being home with my children, the bulk of my time goes to caring for them. I have to be more vigilant than ever about how to spend the time that remains.  In that post, I quoted Scott Ginsberg: “So, every time you say ‘yes’ to someone else, you’re also saying ‘no’ to yourself.”  Saying good-bye at this time to Two Writing Teachers is so that I can say “yes” to my children. But that does not mean it is an easy or light good-bye.

I must take this opportunity to thank my co-authors. I have learned so much from your work ethic, your partnership, and of course, your writing wisdom. I thank Stacey in particular, whose vision, steadfastness, and dedication are without a doubt the reason the blog is the success that it is. I also thank all of you, our readers, who read us, respond to us, write with us. TWT wouldn’t be what it is without you.

As with many good-byes that are made with affection and great respect, this is more likely than not only a temporary parting. I will remain as a contributing writer to the blog, and I hope to publish articles from time to time when my schedule and the needs of TWT match up. Until then, adieu, and thank you.

A note from Tara:

It has been both a pleasure and an honor to be a part of the Two Writing Teachers team for the past several years.  Our community of educators is enriched by the ideas shared here, the conversations they engender, and (above all else) the way our new learning impacts the children we teach.  We grow as educators when we collaborate and this blog is a fabulous example of the power of collaboration.  The running of Two Writing Teachers, as many of you know, requires both collaboration as well as an enormous amount of behind the scenes work. I have arrived at a point at which I am no longer able to contribute to the day to day operations of the blog in an equitable way.  Luckily, thanks to the generosity of spirit of the TWT team, I will remain a part of our community by contributing a post a month.  I look forward to continuing to participate in the great learning that takes place at TWT every day, and to “see” you on Tuesdays to share slices of our lives.  

We have been blessed by Anna and Tara’s contributions. Anna’s expertise for explaining the Units of Study is unparalleled. Tara’s talent for reaching middle school writers is inspiring. As contributing writers, we’ll continue to learn from them, but on a more limited basis.

Even though the co-author team is presently smaller, you can expect many things to stay the same here at TWT:

  • We’ll continue to host a quarterly blog series around a specific topic. (Our next blog series, Teaching Writing with Mentor Texts, will begin on May 3rd.)
  •  The Slice of Life Story Challenge will continue on Tuesdays year-round (and for all 31 days of March).
  •  This blog will continue to be a place:

o   For teachers to be fueled with a passion for teaching, writing, and living.

o   For teachers to see the latest in research and ways to apply it in their classrooms.

o   For us to “practice what we preach” by sharing our own writing.

o   To bring writing teachers together to share ideas and stretch each other’s thinking.

o   To reflect on our teaching – celebrating when it goes well and working it out when it doesn’t.