Author Archive

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

Writing Workshop Supply List: 10 Things to Scrounge for Over the Summer

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The summer is the perfect time to start stocking up on the things you really need. Whether you are hoping to get materials donated, or you teach in a community where families can provide a few things for your students, or you are planning to do some good old fashioned scrounging, this list can help you strategize a plan for materials.

Tuesday Slice of Life Story Challenge

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Welcome back everybody for another fantastic Tuesday Slice of Life Story Challenge.

Organize Your Classroom: Getting Rid of Stuff Feels Good

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What would it look like if you were to make your classroom a “minimalist classroom?” A classroom where you only kept the things you actually use, and you gave away the rest to someone else in need?

Tuesday Slice of Life Story Challenge

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Join us! If you’re new to our community, you’ll love reading what other educators have written.

Nature Writing for All Ages and Stages

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In our family, bringing along a small notebook or a journal when we travel has become a tradition. Maybe you’ll make it part of your summer plans as well.

Tuesday Slice of Life Story Challenge

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Share a story with us today, and every Tuesday.

What Will You Write This Summer?

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Glue your butt to the chair, every day, or at least once a week, and you will not only become a better writer–you’ll become a better teacher of writing.

The Importance of Wait Time and Think Time

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how do you become the kind of teacher who leaves plenty of think time? How do you go from rapid-fire, to more thoughtful questioning?

A Love of Grammar

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Here is a round-up of some of my favorite grammar-related websites and resources. You will notice that there are no worksheets here.

Planning for the Planning

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It’s hard to believe that the end of the school year is already in sight. In the schools I where I currently work, mid-June is the end of the year–that’s just four weeks away!

That means it’s time to begin planning for next year!