Author Archive

Plan Boxes as Management Tools

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Do you struggle with students working — rather than socializing — during independent writing time? If so, here’s a solution to keep your kids engaged as writers so you can maximize the number of students you meet with during independent writing time.

Don’t Skimp on the Compliment.

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Mark Twain once said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” While our students should regularly receive compliments from their teachers, good ones can fuel their ambition and willingness to stretch themselves as writers.

ICYMI: #TWTBlog’s Homework Mini-Series

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Last week, we hosted a mini-series on homework and the role it plays in elementary and middle school writing workshops.

Nightly Writing: Homework and the Writing Workshop

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Four ways to encourage students to write after the school day is finished WITHOUT assigning writing as homework.

Conventions & Presentation: Solving Predictable Problems

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Proper use of conventions and the aesthetics of writing pose unique challenges in an elementary writing workshop. Here are solutions to eight predictable problems you may be facing with your students.

Overview: Solving Predictable Problems Blog Series

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Once fall arrives, most writing workshops are well underway. Depending on when your school year started, you’re likely teaching your second or third unit of study. Most of you are probably prepping for… Continue reading

Poems Are Teachers: Interview & Giveaway

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Poems Are Teachers, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s newest book, is grounded in the idea of writing workshop. It contains practical lessons teachers can use the very next day, as well as mentor texts written by published and student poets. Learn more about it in an interview with Amy. Then, leave a comment for a chance to win two of Amy’s books.

Doing the Same Work as Our Students

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I made many mistakes during my first year of teaching. I’m too embarrassed to blog about most of them since I cringe when I look back on my first year of teaching. I got so… Continue reading

The Words You Write First Are Anyone’s Words

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Regardless of the genre, one of the most important things we can teach our students is how to write words that could come from them – and only them.

Revisiting the Heart Map

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Heart maps can help young writers when they think they don’t have anything to write about.

The Hard Parts

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Earlier this month, I had the privilege of attending the TCRWP August Writing Institute. The week began with Lucy Calkins delivering an inspirational keynote, “Learning from the Hard Parts” inside the Nave at Riverside… Continue reading

An Interview with the Author of Come with Me + a Giveaway

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As educators, we are uniquely positioned to teach children to respect and love each other. We have the power to show them how to make the world a better place. We can shape the next generation of children so they will choose to be accepting of people who look different, have a different set of beliefs, or originate from a different cultural background. This is an enormous responsibility, but we are fortunate if we can do this work to bring about change in our corners of the world.

Minilessons: Writing Workshop Fundamentals

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Everything students are asked to do in writing workshop builds on effective teaching during the minilesson. It’s important to understand the basics of writing minilessons so we can write them quickly and teach our students to become stronger writers every time we bring them to the meeting area to teach them something new.

Creating Teaching Tools for Picture Books

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Summer is the perfect time to seek out new mentor texts for your writing workshop. This post contains 20+ new picture book — fiction and nonfiction — suggestions that you can use to lift the level of your students’ writing. Plus, there are book giveaways! (Be sure to read the giveaway information carefully at the bottom of the post.)

Mining Mentor Texts for Craft Moves

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Two (more) lesson sets to help you teach the qualities of good writing from picture books by Maribeth Boelts and Nicola Davies.

ICYMI: Our Third Annual Author Spotlight Series

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Last week, seven authors and illustrators stopped by to share their expertise with us. ICYMI, here are the links to each of their posts, which all include giveaways of their books and more!

Welcome to Writing Workshop

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Lynne Dorfman & I are in search of pictures of beautiful writing workshop spaces for our forthcoming Stenhouse book about the basics of writing workshop (to teachers who are new to using the workshop structure). If you teach in a physical space you’d like to showcase, then please fill out the Google Form in this post.

Writing Victories: Keep Learning Going Throughout the Summer

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Not every kid is born with a positive attitude towards writing. Here are six low-stress ways to develop a writer at home (some of which don’t even include putting a pen to paper)!

A Writing Greenbelt + a Giveaway

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I’ve known Joy Write, Ralph Fletcher’s latest book that debuts today, was coming for awhile since he interviewed me about the Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge, which he writes about in one of the book’s chapters. But when I had the opportunity to read his new book in its entirety, I was amazed by the possibilities I saw Ralph present to transform young writers’ attitudes towards writing through low-stakes writing.

DAY 31 OF THE MARCH SOLSC! #SOL17

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I’m humbled and amazed by the enthusiasm of the writers who take on this challenge each year. Please watch the video, which includes words of thanks for everyone who makes the Slice of Life Story Challenge a community of connected writers.