Category Archive: big picture

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…

Not All Writers Are the Same! Ideas for Differentiating in the Writing Workshop (Part 1)

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Celebrating differences among our writers can sometimes be difficult for teachers of writing. But by expecting and planning for differences, we can set our students on trajectories more matched to who they are as writers. Here are a few ideas…

An Interview with Educator and Author Chris Lehman

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Recently, I caught up with my friend and colleague Chris Lehman. For a little end-of-the-year inspiration, please enjoy our interview: Beth: Your books make it clear that you have a passion for reading… Continue reading

Because of WMS…

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I began my career as a seventh grade language arts teacher at Wawasee Middle School. Thirteen years later, I remain in the same district, but in a different position. My career path has… Continue reading

What is it you do?

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We were at a family reunion last weekend and had too-few minutes to visit with one of my favorite cousins who I only get to see once a year at the reunion. She… Continue reading

Teach the Writer

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I wish we could change the world by creating powerful writers forever instead of indifferent writers for school. —Mem Fox I just want to take a deep breath and read those words again.… Continue reading

Recap of Last Week’s Big Picture Series

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TBPS Logo for Week of 020109 Originally uploaded by teachergal Here’s a recap of all of our “Getting Back to Basics” Posts: SUNDAY: structures & routines MONDAY: minilessons TUESDAY: mentor texts WEDNESDAY: conferring… Continue reading

Back to Basics: Strategy Charts (Part of TWT’s Big Picture Series)

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Memoir: Early Strategy Chart Originally uploaded by teachergal I tend to have a lot of mini-charts for my students’ notebooks rather than hanging large ones around the room (these days). However, I thought… Continue reading

Back to Basics: Conferring (Part of TWT’s Big Picture Series)

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I consider myself fortunate to have learned more about the art of conferring with young writers from some of the best folks out there: Carl Anderson, Lucy Calkins, and Jen Serravallo.  As many… Continue reading

Back to Basics: Mentor Texts (Part of TWT’s Big Picture Series)

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In Mentor Texts: Teaching Writing Through Children’s Literature, K – 6, Lynne R. Dorfman and Rose Cappelli write, “Mentor texts help writers notice things about an author’s work that is not like anything… Continue reading

Back to Basics: Minilesson Parts (Part of TWT’s Big Picture Series)

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So what are the basic parts of a minilesson?  Here’s a short list according to the Teachers College Reading & Writing Project at Columbia University: Connection — The reason for teaching today’s lesson. … Continue reading

THIS WEEK: Another Big Picture Series

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Ruth and I talked last week about some of the comments and e-mails we’ve been getting this week. Many of the comments are from teachers who are feeling torn about test prep, while… Continue reading

Big Picture Series: It’s a Wrap . . . Or Is It?

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NOTE:  We would really appreciate any feedback on the last Big Pictures Series.  Please leave a comment or email us. Does anyone else feel as though there wasn’t a holiday break?  I, for… Continue reading

The Big Picture: The Next-to-the-Last Post

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Ruth’s going to close-up TBPS tomorrow. In the meantime, if you’ve read one or all of our posts, but haven’t commented, we hope you’ll do so! We’d really like your feedback on the… Continue reading

The Big Picture Series: Celebratation

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“Most people search high and wide for the key to success. If they only knew, the key to their dreams lies within.” –George Washington Carver Thoughts: I don’t think I was always able… Continue reading

The Big Picture Series: Freedom in Topic Choice

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“Write what makes you happy.”  — O. Henry What wise words from O. Henry! So often we try to inspire our students to write by giving them topics we think will interest them.… Continue reading

The Big Picture Series: Care Enough.

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What children take home in their heads and hearts is much more important than what they take home in their hands. – Bev Bos Sometimes we get caught up in having the perfect… Continue reading

The Big Picture Series: Teacher as Writer

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“If you are not a writer, you will not understand the difficulties of writing. If you are not a writer, you will not know the fears and hopes of the writers you teach.”… Continue reading

Big Picture Series: Conferring

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“Teach the writer, not the writing.” – Lucy Calkins   Do you ever feel exasperated by all of the errors you see in your students’ writing?  The conference begins and before you know… Continue reading

Big Picture Series: Fellow Travelers

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Too often, there are isolated islands of teachers who are attempting best practice, yet feel no support from the teacher across the hall or even in the building.  We want to be the… Continue reading