Author Archive

Learning from the Summer Institute via #tcrwp

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I was not able to attend the Writing Institute at TC this week, but I was able to live and learn vicariously through a steady stream of Tweets and blog posts – teachers are nothing if not generous with their learning…

Our End Of The Year Family Writing Celebration

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I teach writing very differently from the way in which I was taught writing. I suspect that many of the parents of my sixth graders feel the same way when their kids come home with stories about mini lessons, mentor texts, and genre studies. “What do all these terms mean anyway?” they must wonder, “and exactly how do they advance my kid’s writing?”.

The end of the year writing survey: looking back to plan ahead

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Next week, as we wrap up our writing workshop year and prepare for our final writing celebration, I will have one last task for my kids: the end of the year survey…

The End of Year Poem: Crafting that “last message”

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So, we are all winding down the school year these days. The end of year projects, festivities, packing up, and cleaning out plans are in full swing in my classroom at the moment…and my thoughts are beginning to turn to that last rite of the school year: the goodbye message…

Six things you need to do before the writing workshop year ends.

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Next week, I will have to tear off the month of May from my office calendar and face June. This is always a rather terrifying moment for me – less than four weeks till the end of school…

The Argument Protocol in action!

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At TC’s Summer Institute a few years ago, Mary Ehrenworth introduced our session to the Argument Protocol: a highly engaging and interactive way in which to gather evidence and formulate strong, well-reasoned claims, which could then lead to compelling persuasive writing….

Conferring Toolkits: Mentor Texts

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Two elements form the very heart of every conference: the student, and the mentor text I can use to nudge her writing piece forward. …

Putting Into Practice What I Learned about Authentic Information Writing From Ralph Fletcher

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The Monday morning after Ralph Fletcher’s presentation on Authentic Information Writing at Vassar College, I gathered my sixth graders at our reading area and shared what I had heard and learned….

Learning From Ralph Fletcher: Teaching Authentic Information Writing

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Two weekends ago, thanks to Bonnie Kaplan and the Hudson Valley Writing Project, I had the great pleasure of attending Ralph Fletcher’s presentation: “Making Nonfiction from Scratch: How Can We Give Students the Time, the Tools, and the Vision They Need in Order to Create Authentic Information Writing?” I knew it would be a great morning of learning …

Throwback Week: Be A Teacher Who Writes Poetry

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Be a teacher who writes poetry and share it with your students.

Notes from the TCRWP workshop with Carl Anderson – Writing With Mentor Texts

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I knew I’d learn something fabulous about the use of mentor texts in writing workshop at Carl Anderson’s session during TCRWP’s March Saturday Reunion…

Family Stories: A New “Mini Unit”

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Our sixth grade writing workshop year follows a predictable and well planned path: personal narrative, followed by memoir, then feature articles and argument. Until my students suggest something new …

Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge: Day 20 of 31

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Have you ever spent a day waiting for something: good news, new shoes, a soccer game, or a visit from a special relative? Can you remember the way all that “waiting” was harder and harder to do as the day went along?

Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge: Day 19 of 31

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Do you have a favorite place? One that you can close your eyes and imagine perfectly? Well, that would be a wonderful thing to write about…

Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge: Day 18 of 31

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A Slice of Life is a wonderful place to practice writing in a humorous way. Here for example is Andrew, who is writing about going for a drive with his sister, who has just collected her first official driver’s license…

Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge: Day 17 of 31

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Wow! You are just a bit more than halfway through the March Slice of Life Story Challenge, and this calls for a celebration…

Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge: Day 16 of 31

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Poetry is a wonderful way to help you think of ideas to slice about. We read many poems in our sixth grade classroom, and each of them seem to invite all of us to remember many stories…

Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge: Day 15 of 31

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For some of you, March may mean testing time. It might be hard to believe, but taking the test is actually something quite wonderful to write about. There are so many moments to slow down and write about in great detail…

Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge: Day 14 of 31

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Slice of Life writing is all about being attentive to everything around you, because you never know where an idea for a writing might be hiding, just waiting to be discovered. Sometimes, a Slice of Life is hiding within plain sight, right outside your window…

Classroom Slice of Life March Challenge: Day 13 of 31

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One of the favorite Slice of Life topics which my sixth graders love to write about is cooking with family members. Have you baked cookies, made scrambled eggs, cooked up some grits with someone in your family recently? If so, it would make a great Slice of Life.