authors · big picture · character development · collecting · narrative · writing process

Flailing and Feedback In Writing Process As Critical: KidLit Authors Share Why

Slowing down the brainstorming part of the writing process and recognizing the emotionality of feedback has big rewards for two published authors, in addition to our young classroom writers.

academic choice · big picture · motivation

Growing Writers: Eight Alternatives to Extrinsic Rewards

“Social psychology has found the more you reward people for doing something, the more they tend to lose interest in whatever they had to do to get the reward.” – Alfie Kohn (2000). Sometimes our students expect something for the work that they do in the classroom. They become accustomed to manipulation techniques. We’ve heard… Continue reading Growing Writers: Eight Alternatives to Extrinsic Rewards

Belief Statements · big picture · compliment · conferring

Acknowledging Writers to Disturb the Universe

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...

big picture · choice · goals · mentor texts · revision

A Few Ways to Empower Writers Using Mentor Texts

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...

big picture · challenges · differentiation · goals · Kate Roberts · middle school · plan

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

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...

balanced literacy · big picture · christopher lehman · commenting

An Interview with Educator and Author Chris Lehman

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 and writing. Have you always loved to read and write? Chris: Well, that’s complicated. Ha. I have always loved writing. I had… Continue reading An Interview with Educator and Author Chris Lehman

big picture · community · key beliefs · reflections · reflective practice

Because of WMS…

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 taken me into hundreds of classrooms. I've been able to learn about writers from preschool to college. I've developed many diverse relationships.… Continue reading Because of WMS…

back to school · big picture · coaching

What is it you do?

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 asked, "So what exactly do you do?" The easy answer: I'm a writing coach. And then: I work with teachers, from kindergarten… Continue reading What is it you do?

adolescent literacy · big picture · challenges · change · choice · education · inspiration · reflections · reflective practice · writing workshop

Teach the Writer

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. Exactly. "Powerful writers forever instead of indifferent writers for school." Sigh. This is why I'm thankful for writing workshop. It helps us… Continue reading Teach the Writer

big picture · writing workshop

Recap of Last Week’s Big Picture Series

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 THURSDAY: sharing FRIDAY: assessment SATURDAY: strategy charts There was a lot of discussion around the conferring post, but we'd love to have… Continue reading Recap of Last Week’s Big Picture Series

big picture · minilesson · strategies · strategy charts · writing workshop

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

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 this one was worthy of some wall space. Essentially, these are the teaching points from the first four collecting minilessons of our… Continue reading Back to Basics: Strategy Charts (Part of TWT’s Big Picture Series)

big picture · conferring · jen serravallo · lucy calkins · tcrwp

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

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 of you know, I spent a week of my summer studying more about conferring with Carl Anderson at the TCRWP Summer Institute… Continue reading Back to Basics: Conferring (Part of TWT’s Big Picture Series)