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Back to School Themes and Reflections

“Back to school” paints a picture in my mind: yellow school buses, black and white composition notebooks, new shoes, fresh backpacks. Each back to school season is unique because each group of children are never the same. There are some themes, though, that I come back to time and time again as the new year begins and a new group of writers sit before me.

I looked back at all the August and September posts I’ve written since joining TWT and noticed some themes that emerge each year. Every back to school season, there are topics that I write about because they are the most important ones to me at this time of year.

Building Community

Writers need to feel valued and safe in order to share their words publicly. A big part of my job in the first few weeks of school is to create a welcoming environment where every student is invited to be part of our classroom community.

Posts I’ve written on this topic:

Creating Classroom Environments: Places for Writers to Grow

Writing Mantras for the New School Year

A Change Will Do You Good 

This Is The Year I’m Going To Make Share Time a Priority


Authentic, Meaningful Writing

Because I am a teacher who writes, I believe in the power of writing. I believe that writing can enrich your life, far beyond a grade you will get on a report card in school. I try to always center my teaching around the idea that writing matters and writers write for real purposes and authentic audiences.

Posts I’ve written on this topic:

Make Your Mark By Blogging 

We Are Writers Here: Starting With What Matters Most

An Invitation to Make Writing That Matters

Writing Because You Want to: Nurturing Independence From the Start 

Getting to Know My Writers

As I strive to develop a caring classroom community, I look for ways to get to know my students as people and as learners. Before I can begin to teach them, I need to know where they are starting their journey as writers.

Posts I’ve written on this topic:

Where Do We Go Next? Use a Checklist! 

Write Them Back! 

Communicating with Families

Each back to school season offers the chance to teach families what happens in writing workshop. Inviting families to share their own writing and have conversations about learning is a powerful way to increase engagement in writing and show first-hand the power and purpose that comes when you write.

Posts I’ve written on this topic:

A Parent’s Guide to Writing Workshop

Family Dialogue Journals

Growing as an Educator

Being a teacher means being a lifelong learner. Each summer, I try to find ways to grow professionally so that each new school year, I am a little further along in my quest to be the best teacher I can be.

Posts I’ve written on this topic:

Post-its and PD

Writing: A Path To Becoming an Intentional Educator 

Finding Your Voice, Telling Your Story 

Questioning Traditional Homework Practices 


These themes are the ones that I come back to again and again as I launch writing each new year. What topics and themes come back each year for you? What ideas do you circle back to each new school year? Let’s have a conversation! Please share in the comments.

One thought on “Back to School Themes and Reflections

  1. Love the idea of themes for the year. How about “Empathy;” “Words from the Wise,” with a focus on quotations); “Building Character”; “Transitions”; “Building Good Habits”; “Choices” or “Good Decisions.”


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