Author Archive

DAY 28 OF THE MARCH SOLSC! #SOL19

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Getting close to the end now, Slicers! Welcome to Day 28.

DAY 27 OF THE MARCH SOLSC! #SOL19

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Twenty-seven days into a daily writing habit. Congratulations!

Acknowledging Writers to Disturb the Universe

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In writing workshop, we operate on multiple levels– we try to plan and deliver effective minilessons, we try to confer with our writers (and take some notes?), we create anchor charts, and so forth.  But what about validating the voices of our student writers? Here are a few tips for disturbing the universe…

ANNOUNCING THE WINNER OF THE 1st 2019 SOLSC MID-MONTH COMMENTING CHALLENGE

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Congratulations to the winner of this weekend’s Mid-month Commenting Challenge!

The First Commenting Challenge of the SOLSC is here!

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Are you ready for a challenge? It’s our first mid-month challenge of the 2019 SOLSC! Get ready to roll out some extra comments…

Where is the Attention?

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Sometimes it can be difficult to imagine creating or allowing a wider audience to read our students’ writing. But there is great possibility in doing so. It just takes a shift in attention…

Time to Write

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Donald Murray, author of the seminal text A Writer Teaches Writing (Houghton Mifflin, 1985), teaches us that one of the most important things to a writer is time, time to write.  But with the many time constraints faced by teachers, how can we be thinking about time in ways that make a difference for our students?

Honoring Student Voice: Teaching Writing With a Social Justice Lens

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“Did he read it yet?”  Anxiously, I stared into my mother’s eyes as she stepped inside the house, closing the front door behind her.  After a day of teaching elementary school, my mom… Continue reading

Rethinking Learning Targets

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We all want to support and nurture inspired writers who work independently. So how might we carefully avoid creating uninspiring, teacher-dependent environments for learning? I present a few ideas here…

Strengthening Writing Partnerships, Part 2

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In my previous November post about partnerships, three ideas were shared: (1) Study existing partnerships to assess current and potential effectiveness; (2) Teach a replicable process for meaningful revision; and (3) Teach writers how to create process pages.  Today I will share just a few more strategies for supporting and strengthening writing partnerships…

They Are All Precious

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Each life we impact matters.  Each one of the children with whom we interact is currently living into an uncertain future.  Thus, with kindness and resolution, we greet writers each day and do all we can to help them learn what it takes to make their voices heard through the power of the metaphorical pen.  This is our work.

Strengthening Writing Partnerships, Part I

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A writing partner provides a sounding board and creates a social opportunity for feedback, criticism, and notions of what improvement could look like or sound like. The problem with partnerships, however, is that left to their own devices kids are not very good at being partners. How can we help kids get better? Here are a few strategies…

A Few Ways to Empower Writers Using Mentor Texts

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It could be said that what sets a writing workshop apart from other approaches to teaching writing is a focus on empowerment. Here are a few ways to empower writers when it comes to mentor texts…

4 Purposes for a Writer’s Notebook: Notebooks as a Writer’s Tool

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Understanding the purpose of something can unlock a path forward. This week, the authors of Two Writing Teachers are devoting digital ink to supporting teachers in thinking about the writer’s notebooks as an important writer’s tool. Today, let’s think about the various purposes of a notebook…

Writing Conferences: What to Do When a Writer Doesn’t Say Much?

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When conferring with a writer, our big aim is to engage in a meaningful conversation with the student about his or her writing.  An individual writing conference is likely the single most effective way for a teacher to help move a writer forward. But many times, even with our best intentions and attempts at “training” students how to converse during a conference, the student will sometimes say something curt, like, “Good.”  Or, “It’s fine.”  Silence.  That’s it.  That’s all they have to say. What to do?  Fear not!  Conferring Carl suggests six strategies to help teachers address this situation…

Different Ways to Use Checklists in Writing Workshop

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Student-facing checklists can be a powerful tool.  While rubrics are helpful for teachers, checklists are helpful for students.  Checklists can serve to provide clear targets for writers as they strive to craft pieces of writing. But what might be different ways to use them in your writing workshop? Read to find out…

Coaching Writers in the Small Group

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Coaches of young athletes often offer tips, reminders, and suggestions from the sidelines in hopes of eliciting the best possible performance from the team.  As teachers of writing, we can borrow this structure in our small group settings.

Partnerships Can Provide Purpose and Power

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All writers seek feedback.  All writers write for an audience.  All writers question themselves. And for these reasons, writers long to bring their work to another person– another set of eyes, another pair of ears.  Hence, the writing partner in writing workshop.  When working well, partnerships can help grow the confidence of each writer in our classes by providing support, authentic peer feedback, and a sounding board for ideas.  Here are a few ingredients to consider when creating a community of writers…

4 Tips for Modeling with Your Own Writing

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For many of us who work to live as writers and teachers who write, we likely do so in order to appreciate the challenge, the complexity, and the thrill that writing can provide for our lives.  It is living through the process that matters.  But what about turning some of our writing into teaching tools for our writing workshops? Here are four tips…

Our Job: Noticers-in-Chief

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Whether or not you have started school already or you are taking those final deep breaths before your first day, let us remember one thing that sets us writing workshop teachers apart from other methodologies, curricula, programs, and/or approaches to teaching writing: we NOTICE.