Author Archive

When to Pop Out of the Notebook

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As much as I LOVE notebooks, even I have to admit there is a time in every writer’s process when it is time to pop out of the notebook and onto a laptop or lined paper.

End of Workshop Share & Reflection Time

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Kids learn more when they are given time to reflect on their learning, self-assess, and check in on goals they are working toward. That’s what the end of workshop share and reflection time is for, and too often it gets cut short, or left out completely.

Tuesday Slice of Life Story Challenge on #TWTBlog

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Welcome to the Slice of Life Story Challenge on this great Tuesday. We are so glad you are joining us today.

A Short & Sweet Minilesson Formula

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There is a formula that I use, time and time again, to adapt my own minilessons. Yes, this formula helps me keep my minilessons to about ten minutes and makes planning more streamlined, but more importantly this formula helps me with one of my personal goals as a teacher: student engagement.

Join Us! The Tuesday Slice of Life Story Challenge on #TWTBlog!

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No shadow No stars No moon No care November It only believes In a pile of dead leaves And a moon That’s the color of bone Tom Waits, ‘November’ Do you wish your writing… Continue reading

Conferring with Writers is Like Coaching Skiers: Strength ID and Enhancement

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Many years ago, one of my first jobs was as a ski instructor at a local ski resort. During our instructor training, we were taught a technique called “strength identification and enhancement.”

Come Join the Tuesday Slice of Life Story Challenge on #TWTBlog

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“In November, the smell of food is different. It is an orange smell. A squash and pumpkin smell. It tastes like cinnamon and can fill up a house in the morning, can pull… Continue reading

Writing Information Books with Voice and Beauty: Diving Into Information Writing Blog Series

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When I was a kid, our town library had a whole special room filled with children’s books. It was one of my favorite places in the world. That was where I fell in love with Corduroy,… Continue reading

It’s Tuesday! Join Us for #TWTBlog’s Slice of Life Story Challenge.

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“October extinguished itself in a rush of howling winds and driving rain and November arrived, cold as frozen iron, with hard frosts every morning and icy drafts that bit at exposed hands and… Continue reading

Writing Mantras for the New School Year: Part of #TWTBlog’s Throwback Week

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Did you know that talking to yourself can be really helpful? It’s true! Researchers have long known that positive self-talk can be an incredibly helpful tool. The power of positive self-talk is something that… Continue reading

Working Together to Support All Kids: Getting all the Adults in the Classroom on the Same Page

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s a literacy coach, part of my role is to support teachers with how to work together with all the professionals who will come in and out of their reading and writing workshop. Lately, I’ve been brainstorming with some super smart teachers to figure out how we can get all the grown-ups in a classroom to be more consistent with one another.

Why Narrative Writing Matters

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When I first left the classroom to become a staff developer in New York City, I had to learn quickly to adjust to new schools, and new groups of teachers. I worked hard to have open conversations with the teachers I worked with, where teachers could ask anything. “No such thing as a bad question!” But there was one phrase that I dreaded. Four words that left me with no idea how to respond.

Behind the Scenes at Two Writing Teachers

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In a darkened concert hall, the members of an orchestra sit ready and waiting. The conductor, in black and white coat-tails walks across the stage, gives an appreciative nod to the audience, then steps up… Continue reading

Phonemic Awareness! Yeah!

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Sometimes colleagues tell me that the feel intimidated or uneasy about setting out to teach phonemic awareness, because it all feels so technical. Even the terminology is tricky: phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, phonics… I like to think of teaching phonemic awareness as being just like kindergarteners themselves–complicated indeed, but also a lot of fun.

Planning Ahead for Publishing

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Third grade was my favorite year of school. We had the best teacher ever. We sang songs and poems that I still remember to this day (Cumalada cumalada cumalada vista!). For math, we… Continue reading

Why We Gather: The Importance of a Classroom Meeting Area

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You might be so completely used to your classroom arrangement that it seems normal to you — but it maybe could be better.

Enticing Kids to Revise, Revise, Revise

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One of the biggest challenges you might face in writing workshop is this: getting kids to see the power and purpose of revision. Here are a few tips for helping kids understand how important and rewarding revision can be, organized by writing process phases.

An Eraser-Free Workshop and the Language We Use for Talking About It

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When I visit a classroom, one of the first things I often say to kids is, “Today, please don’t erase. I want to see ALL the great work you are doing as a writer. When you erase, your work disappears!” Often, this is what kids are accustomed to and they continue working away. But sometimes, kids stare at me as if I’ve got two heads.

Creating Classroom Environments: Paper Choices

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Kids do need room to grow. Not only do they outgrow clothes in the blink of an eye, they also grow as readers and writers. This is why we need classroom libraries stocked with a wide range of levels, and it’s why we need writing centers stocked with paper choices.

Tuesday Slice of Life Story Challenge

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Welcome back everybody for another fantastic Tuesday Slice of Life Story Challenge! Write a story on your own blog. Leave a link to your story here, in the comment section. Then comment on… Continue reading