Search Results for: small groups

Urgent Small Groups: Eating the Whole Cookie

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Recent longitudinal studies have shown that students who in early years perform as strong writers do not remain strong writers into middle school.  Rather, they slip to the middle of the pack- or worse, they become unmotivated to write.  Why is that? And what can we do about it?

Student-Led Small Groups: Beyond the Fundamentals of Writing Workshop

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Small group instruction allows for efficiency and strategy sessions with more than one student. Allowing students to lead these groups and sessions gives purpose and opportunity to not only further the understandings of the leader but impacts your community of writers as they grow.

Teaching Small Groups in the Middle School Writing Workshop

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For many middle school teachers, planning and teaching small groups in writing workshop feels a little like the Rubik’s Cube; like this famous puzzle, there is a sense that small groups are doable (somehow, maybe?), yet the orchestration of all the many parts can make them feel overwhelming and perhaps even insurmountable.  If you feel this way, know that you are not alone.

Small Groups: Writing Workshop Fundamentals

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Our blog series on writing workshop fundamentals continues through the weekend. Take a look at how you can benefit from incorporating small groups into your daily writing workshop routine.

Coaching Writers in the Small Group

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Coaches of young athletes often offer tips, reminders, and suggestions from the sidelines in hopes of eliciting the best possible performance from the team.  As teachers of writing, we can borrow this structure in our small group settings.

Reminders About Small Group Instruction

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Whenever I pull a small group for a lesson, there are some important guidelines I try to remember and follow.

Tools to have on hand for Small Group Instruction

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In a recent post about small group instruction, I wrote about ways to group students who need instruction on a similar strategy. Sometimes, we form small groups ahead of time through careful planning. However,… Continue reading

Ideas for planning Small Group Instruction

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Small group instruction is a powerful way to reach and teach more students in your classroom!

Three Quick Tips for Small Group Strategy Lessons

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Have you been super busy the past few weeks? I know I sure have been! So, I won’t take up any extra of your time. Here are three quick tips for small group… Continue reading

New Blog Series: Tailoring our Teaching / Assessment-based Strategy Groups for Expository Writing

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When I first began teaching using a workshop model, I spent forever planning my minilessons. I wanted to make sure that my language was exactly right, and that I got to each part… Continue reading

Publishing Small Moment Stories in Kindergarten

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I had the pleasure of spending a couple of hours at P.S. 171, my old school, yesterday when I was in NYC taking care of some wedding planning. During the time I was… Continue reading

Fitting It All In: Solving Predictable Problems

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For many of us, especially in middle school, trying to fit all the pieces of writing workshop into, say, a 41-minute schedule, can feel daunting. How can we teach a minilesson, get our kids working, confer with individuals and small groups, provide a mid-workshop interruption, and facilitate a teaching share…all in that tight time frame?

Demonstration Texts, Part Deux

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Thinking about your demonstration texts this way can give you some inspiration for multiple ways to teach the same minilesson, to the whole class, or to small groups as follow-up.

When Writers Choose the Genre: Nurturing Independence from the Start

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We don’t just want writers to be independent writers in our classrooms, we want them to be independent writers in the world! To do that, we need to offer frequent opportunities for them to begin with ideas, then choose genre — instead of the other way around.

Approximation vs. Mastery: Nurturing Independence from the Start

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As our students write this year, it will be important for us to remember that they are still learners, and as such, they will be approximating. It will be unlikely they will reach mastery. Understanding this can actually improve our teaching…

Why Independent Work Time Matters

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In the spring of 2019, sitting with a small group of 6th grade writers, I shared a video of Jack Ma, speaking on the future of education.  “Education is a big, big challenge… Continue reading

Launching the Year by Connecting to the Known

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Brows furrowed, I stared worriedly at the red marks on my rough draft.  Shifting uncomfortably in the red leather chair, I brought my eyes upward to meet the gaze of the woman sitting… Continue reading

Taking Stock: Moving Forward

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As teachers, how might we reflect on our own practice in a way that could make a difference for our students next year? Here are a few lenses for setting some goals…

Revising for Meaning

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At the heart of all great writing is meaning.  Writers select details carefully and deliberately, depending on the message we wish to convey to readers. How can we let meaning guide revision? Read here about a few ways…

Time to Write

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Donald Murray, author of the seminal text A Writer Teaches Writing (Houghton Mifflin, 1985), teaches us that one of the most important things to a writer is time, time to write.  But with the many time constraints faced by teachers, how can we be thinking about time in ways that make a difference for our students?