checklists · choice · games · partnerships · teaching tools · toolkits

Play Up Partner Time! 3 Quick Games That Yield Joy, Ownership, & Success

Finding small ways to infuse a playful spirit into writing workshop keeps me (and students) feeling excited about each day’s experience. When we tinker with new ways of approaching workshop learning routines, everyone wins! Today’s tips are focused on simple ways to play up partner time. 

craft · grammar · phonics · reading · spelling

Shared reading as a writing tool? Go for it!

Teachers always seem to be searching for extra minutes. Cycles of shared reading represent one way to thoughtfully reimagine how to make the most of each minute. When we thoughtfully (and playfully) integrate literacy, everyone wins!

celebration · challenges · checklists · conventions · goals · grammar · gratitude · reflections

Quick & Fun Lesson Closures? Yes, Please!

Embrace the thrill of trying something new. Know that doing so doesn't require abundant time, energy, or preparation. Small shifts have a real impact on classroom energy, enthusiasm, and engagement. How do you add variety, joy, and/or playfulness to lesson closings?

checklists · conventions · editing · grammar · process · spelling

Editing Along the Way…Often in 5 Minutes or Less

The other day, I did it again. I drafted an email to my bosses. Read it. Reread it. Hit send. Got distracted. Then… saw it. The error.  These moments of regret keep me humble! And so, when I notice students not applying taught spelling and grammar concepts, I remind myself that they are not defiantly… Continue reading Editing Along the Way…Often in 5 Minutes or Less

balanced literacy · conferring · minilesson · partnerships

Shake Up the Structure of Workshop

Writing workshop is not about playing someone else’s setlist. Workshop is a flexible set of practices that are meant to be improvised. The structure of workshop is one more way teachers can customize learning for those currently in the room.

checklists · conventions · goals · grammar · inquiry · interactive writing · minilesson · Read Aloud · shared writing · spelling

Minilesson Alternatives: Considering OTHER Ways to Kick Off Workshop

If you have ever felt that you were going through the motions of a minilesson, know that there are plenty of other ways you can choose to gather as a community and launch writing time. Here are ten alternatives for beginning a writing workshop session - - with joy, intention, and inspiration.

assessment · equity · feedback · formative assessment · inquiry · Reflective Practice

Let’s Get Curious! Using Appreciative Inquiry in the Writing Classroom

Students are our north stars. When we get to know students (academically and beyond), we can more clearly see and honor who they are and what they know. Appreciative inquiry enables us to capitalize on the abundant assets already present.

community · grammar · interactive writing · phonics · spelling · vocabulary · writing workshop

Step Up Interactive Writing (…And Sneak In More Spelling, Vocabulary, and Grammar)

As teachers, we know that when writers encode with ease, they are better able to focus on their ideas. Interactive writing is the perfect setting to build this competency.

academic choice · choice · middle school · process · units of study

Designing Writing Units Where Students Choose the Product

Many of today’s students crave choice, freedom, and the excitement of exploring something new. This year, as you prepare to roll out your writing units, you may also want to reconsider the level of constraints within each unit. How and when might you invite students to choose the product that best fits their personal preference and intended audience?

immersion · middle school

Shaking Up Immersion: Reimagining Playful (& EFFICIENT) Ways to Launch a Unit

It’s hard to work with purpose and intention when you do not have a clear vision or context for what you are trying to create. Immersion is an easy - and JOYOUS - way to provide students with full-color clarity of the unit ahead.