inquiry · mentor texts · touchstone texts · universal theme

A Deep Dive Into One Spectacular Mentor Text

In this post, I’ll describe the ways I would use Rabbit and the Motorbike as a mentor text for instruction with writers in upper elementary grades through middle school. This is an example of the thinking work I do in advance of sharing a mentor text with students, anticipating what students might notice and planning for the questioning I will do to help them name those craft moves. My goal is always to get kids to the HOW, because that is the level of understanding they need to be able to try strategies out in their own writing.

coaching · collaboration · literacy coaches · Stronger Together: Involving Other Professionals in Your Workshop Blog Series

Coaching à la Carte: Stronger Together Blog Series

In this post I’ve curated some quick coaching possibilities: coaching à la carte, if you will. Each offering on this menu has the potential to have an immediate impact on student learning in the workshop with a minimal time commitment from teachers. It might not be the gold standard, four-course meal of a coaching cycle, but each option is designed to nourish and energize teacher(s), students, and coaches with a quick burst of collaboration.

caregivers · conferences · parent involvement

Preparing for Fall Conferences With Families

As the temperature drops and the leaves begin to change color, teachers begin preparing for conferences with families. I know for many teachers, this can be stressful (and time consuming), making decisions about what to share in that precious 20-30 minutes that will both inform and reassure caregivers that their child is learning. Here’s an idea that I'm hoping helps all workshop teachers to feel more confident about conference prep.

agency · community · feedback · goals · management · routines

How do we Know When our Workshops are Working?

Launching a writing workshop is hard work. Intentional work. What are those “look fors” that let us know that our workshops are gelling? That community is being built, routines are being established, and writing work is happening?

agency · management · procedures · reflective practice · writing workshop routines

When Management Issues in the Workshop are the Result of Mixed Messaging

The beginning of the school year is perfect timing for the classic cautionary tale, an anecdote shared with the intention of saving others a difficulty I created for myself. My purpose is to both teach and entertain, as I humbly recount the thing I should not have done (and will be mindful not to do again).