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Nurturing Independence From the Start

My nephew, Tuck, has just turned eighteen. Since he could walk, he could also cast and reel a fishing pole. His father and grandfather taught him how to choose the best bait, how to find fish, how to catch, land, and decide on keeping or releasing. Tuck even knows how to filet his catches, and he makes great ceviche, as well as several main courses. He now teaches his father tricks of the fishing trade, as he is a first mate on two different charter boats. Most of us have heard the proverbial wisdom that if you give someone a fish, they eat for a day, but if you teach them to fish, they eat for a lifetime. Tuck is living proof that not only does he eat for a lifetime, but also he teaches others and shares his knowledge that much further.

This week, the authors at Two Writing Teachers share ideas for building independence in your writing workshops. Here’s a preview of the posts to come:

  • Later today, Lanny kicks off the series with a post about the importance of approximation.
  • Tomorrow, Marina follows with a post about the importance of why, both for students and for teachers.
  • On Tuesday, Beth writes about the structures of writing workshop and ways we can teach them to students.
  • Closely related to structures are routines. Stacey follows up on Wednesday with a post about the importance of establishing routines early on.
  • Independent writing projects are an important way to build independence, and Kelsey’s Thursday post shares ways to weave them into writing workshops.
  • If you’re interested in positive mindsets for writers, you won’t want to miss Betsy’s post on Friday about growth mindset.
  • On Saturday, Kathleen shares ways to inspire students to keep writing at home without mandated homework.
  • And I, Melanie, wrap up the series with the importance of repertoire in the writing lives of our students.

We will host a Twitter Chat on Monday, August 12th at 8:30 EDT, and we invite you all to join it. Find and join the conversation at #TWTBlog!

Giveaway Information:

This giveaway is for a copy of No More “I’m Done!” and No More “How Long Does It Have to Be?” by Jennifer Jacobson. Thanks to Stenhouse Publishers for donating a copy of each of these books — one book for a primary educator and one book for a secondary educator. (You must have a U.S. mailing address to win a print copy of this book.)

For a chance to win this copy of  No More “I’m Done!” or No More “How Long Does It Have to Be?”, please leave a comment about this or any blog post in this blog series by Sunday, August 11th at 6:00 p.m. EDT.

BE SURE TO WRITE DOWN THE GRADE LEVEL OR GRADE BAND YOU TEACH SO WE CAN PUT YOU IN THE RUNNING FOR THE BOOK THAT MATCHES THE GRADE BAND YOU TEACH. Betsy Hubbard will use a random number generator to pick the winner’s commenter number. The winners will be announced in the ICYMI blog post for this series on Monday, August 11th.

Please leave a valid e-mail address when you post your comment so Betsy can contact you to obtain your mailing address if you win.  From there, our contact at Stenhouse will ship the book to you. (NOTE: Your e-mail address will not be published online if you leave it in the e-mail field only.)

If you are the winner of the book, Betsy will email you with the subject line of TWO WRITING TEACHERS – NO MORE BOOKS within five days of receipt. A new winner will be chosen if a response isn’t received within five days of the giveaway announcement.

Melanie Meehan View All

I am the Writing and Social Studies Coordinator in Simsbury, CT, and I love what I do. I get to write and inspire others to write! Additionally, I am the mom to four fabulous daughters and the wife of a great husband.

32 thoughts on “Nurturing Independence From the Start Leave a comment

  1. Thank you so much for helping us facilitate our students toward independence…what a great way to focus workshop right from the start! 1st grade teacher


  2. We practice a workshop model but my kids are so driven by grades. I’m always excited to think about ways to motivate them by what really matters as a writer. I teach 6th! 🙂


  3. This is exactly what is on my mind right now. I am a new teacher with a brand new ELA 5th grade charge next week! I can’t wait to learn pearls of wisdom from the gurus! I am teaching in Texas for the first time after working in NY. Standards are different, but the goals are essentially the same- teach kids to read and write independently and mindfully.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am looking forward to reading your posts and finding inspiration for the start of the new year. As a kindergarten teacher, I have always felt that first week is golden for building confidence and creating writers who love to write.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love your reflection on and writing application of “if you give a man a fish”! Sounds like Tuck got hooked and advanced to chef! Just what we need to advance our writers‼️


    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m looking forward to the series of posts on writing workshop. I’m looking to include writing workshop into my schedule this year. I’ve been blessed to have an extra 50 minutes with each of my classes and intend to use this time exclusively for writing. Thank you for the posts!


  7. Looking forward to these posts. I’ll be moving to 4th grade with my same group of students. Some didn’t become quite as independent as I’d have liked last year, so excited to see where they go this year.


  8. Creating independence in writers is even challenging for fifth graders! I teach fifth grade and am looking for ideas to help them write non-stop.


  9. I always get a lot out of your August series, and I’m looking forward to reading this one. I’m especially interested in ideas for weaving in independent writing projects. I teach 4th grade.


    • This article is right on time for me as I’m transitioning from teaching only mathematics back to teaching common branches. I look forward to reading the nuggets in the rest of the series.

      Liked by 1 person

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