agency · immersion · personal essay

Pre-Unit Immersion: Involving Students in Noticing, Noting, and Naming

Immersion is helpful for strong writers who need less explicit instruction in order to try out new writing concepts as well as for writers who strive to complete their written work. Sometimes seeing a completed piece is exactly what they need in order to kick their executive functioning into gear. 

agency · assessment · goals · Google Forms · self-assessment · small group · writing workshop

Student Agency, Self-Assessment, and Small Group Instruction

Nudging students toward self-assessment and goal-setting leads to students' increased understanding of what they are working on and why they're working on it. That intentionality is a critical aspect of learning!

agency · elaboration · goals · mentor texts · small group · teacher writing · writing workshop

A Small Group in Action: Elaboration Strategies, Here We Come!

Having walked around a classroom of fourth-grade writers yesterday, I had pinpointed four writers who were all ready to think about elaboration strategies. This post describes the first session of a few to inspire these fourth-grade writers to use more elaboration strategies.

agency · collaboration · small group · student engagement · Student ownership

Increase the Number of Teachers in the Room with Student-Led Small Groups

An extra teacher is always a gift, especially when working with young authors. But what if we looked for teachers within those tiny writers?

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 · back to school

Engage Writers at the Beginning of the Year with Base Training

At the beginning of the school year, take time before launching your first unit to allow students to settle in to writing workshop. This time helps you learn about students, build their confidence, and teach workshop routines.

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).

agency · drafting · editing · Resetting Our Workshop Practices Blog Series · revision

Writing on Students’ Work in Progress: Resetting Our Workshop Practices

I used to write on my students’ writing. NOW I believe if I’m the person writing down what I think a child should write, then I remove lots of that child’s agency.

academic choice · agency · authentic writing · choice · freedom · Resetting Our Workshop Practices Blog Series

Graphic Organizers Limit Creativity: Resetting Our Workshop Practices

Many teachers assign graphic organizers to help students learn about structure and organization. But do these organizers actually impede authentic writing and student agency? Read about why Leah chose to stop mandating graphic organizers, and some tips for letting go!

agency · bulletin boards · charts · Resetting Our Workshop Practices Blog Series · writing workshop

The Importance of Charts in Classrooms: Resetting Our Workshop Practices

Within classrooms, charts are critically important elements for shifting the responsibility of learning.

agency · reflective practice · writing workshop

Tumbling Toward Open Space in a Workshop

These tumbleweeds feel like a metaphor for the writers in our workshops: the times they dance freely across the landscape and the times they get stuck. As a teacher of writers, it’s prompting me to step back and reflect on those stuck places. I hope to offer you a similar moment of reflection on the tumbleweed-jams that might be forming in your own workshop(s).