“Is This Good?” Building Self-Reliance in Student Writers

Picture a writing workshop. Students hum along on various pieces. Inevitably, a student approaches to ask: “Is this right?” “Is this good?” My experience and wisdom matter as a teacher. My support and guidance are critical. Still, I’d hope that students’ sense of pride and accomplishment wouldn’t depend on what I think of their work. I’ve discovered some conversational tools and classroom strategies that help me foster students’ sense of confidence and trust in themselves. I’m sharing them with you here.

gifted education · writing workshop

My Favorite Writing Hack: Less is More

As a teacher of gifted children, I often find myself seeking strategies for students who already excel in writing. What can I offer that would teach them to strengthen their craft in ways they might not consider? Some of my students are exceptionally talented; I could easily take notes and learn from THEIR craft. What could I possibly add to their skill set? One answer to that question lay within my own writing journey...

wordless books · writing workshop

Silence is Golden: The Value of Wordless Text

I have to face facts: February is a SLOG for me as a writing teacher. We’re just past the point of knowing the expectations and settling into our routine, but we’re just not quite to the point where all of the pieces start to fall together. There’s magic in the works, but oh! I’m just waiting for it to happen. Now is about the time of year when I’m looking for something - anything! - to get us out of the rut we’re in, spark our creativity, and work on some of that classroom magic I’m seeking. And for me, one of my favorite sources is wordless texts. Animated shorts, wordless books, you name it! They’re perfect for so many reasons. Today, I’ll share some of the ways I love using wordless texts for writers of all strengths and levels of readiness.

SOLSC Classroom Challenge

Overview of the 11th Annual Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge

It’s the middle of January. Where I live, that means blustery weather, dreary forecasts, and ALL the snow gear. It’s also a good time to think ahead to spring, which promises warmer temperatures, more sunshine, and – of course! – all the stories our students will share in the 11th Annual Classroom SOLSC! In this post, I’ll answer some frequently-asked questions about the Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge.

gifts · holiday

The Best Gifts for the Writing Teacher in Your Life

Now is the time of year where I find endless gift lists online: what to get the foodie or the music guru or the athlete or the you-name-it in your life. In that same spirit, I’ve chosen to curate a gift list for teachers of writing, and the folks that support them. I know there are lots of lists for writers out there already. Many suggest pens, headphones, or comfy chairs, but my list is different. Being a poet at heart, I tend to live in metaphor. My list, then, is a collection of things writing teachers owe ourselves and one another - a collection we can’t find on Amazon or Etsy, no matter what search terms we use. So, without further ado, here are my recommendations...


When The “Help Desk” Fails: Rethinking Support for Writers

The Setup: Help Desk, Open for Business It started out like any other writing workshop time. Kids were settling into their work spots, some grabbing keyboards, others tapping away on their iPad screens. There was a certain level of productive noise as students figured out what projects they wanted to work on and how, and… Continue reading When The “Help Desk” Fails: Rethinking Support for Writers

Stronger Together: Involving Other Professionals in Your Workshop Blog Series · technology

Stronger Together: How Tech Specialists Can Support Writing

Today, Two Writing Teachers brings you a voice from the community. Anna Davis is a Technology Integration Coach for Northbrook / Glenview District 30 where I teach. Anna's pretty humble in her responses, so I'll take it upon myself to tell you: Anna works miracles. It's not just that she comes with a wide range of knowledge about apps, strategies and hardware. Anna helps teachers like me articulate goals for students, choose effective (and exciting!) ways to get there, and she offers hands-on support both in and out of the classroom. I can only hope that every school has an Anna. Here's what she had to say.

slice of life

It’s Tuesday! Time for the Slice of Life with #TWTBlog!

Here we are, once again, at one of my favorite times of the week: the Tuesday Slice of Life post. Write, comment with your blog link, and share the joy by commenting on at least three others' posts. Happy writing! Words have the power to really help us take in the world around us, understand… Continue reading It’s Tuesday! Time for the Slice of Life with #TWTBlog!

slice of life · writing workshop

It’s Tuesday! Welcome to Slice of Life with #TWTBlog

It's time for the Tuesday Slice of Life! Live a little, write a little, share a little. Post your blog link in the comments below, and don't forget to share the love by commenting on posts from three other Slicers. Happy writing! "Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers." Isaac Asimov

peer conferring · writing workshop

Trusted Reader Circles: The Power of Having Writing Peers

Students care about writing when they know they’re being read. When they feel the power that written expression holds for themselves and one another, THEN they have a true desire to practice and improve their craft. Until then, it’s just routines and class assignments and writing prompts.

slice of life · writing workshop

It’s Tuesday! Welcome to Slice of Life with #TWTBlog

It's time for the weekly Slice of Life post, and we'd love to hear what you have to say to the world today! Write, copy your blog link into the comments, and respond to the work of three amazing members of this writing community.

slice of life

It’s Tuesday! Welcome to Slice of Life with #TWTBlog

It's Tuesday! That means it's time to write, share, and enjoy the work of others. Craft your slice, drop a link in the comments, and respond to at least three other Slicers' posts. While you're at it, enjoy this inspiration from Garth Greenwell, author of Cleanness: "To write a story or a poem or an essay is to make a claim about what we find beautiful, about what moves us, to reveal a vision of the world, which is always terrifying; to write seriously is to find ourselves always pressed against not just our technical but our moral limits."