big picture · mentor texts

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

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 they might have done before, and empower them to try something new” (2007, 3). Many of my fourth and fifth grade students… Continue reading Back to Basics: Mentor Texts (Part of TWT’s Big Picture Series)

big picture · minilesson · tcrwp · writing workshop

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

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.  A great way to start out is with these words, "Yesterday I noticed . . . " Our teaching should be in… Continue reading Back to Basics: Minilesson Parts (Part of TWT’s Big Picture Series)

big picture · writing workshop

THIS WEEK: Another Big Picture Series

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 many more of the e-mails are from teachers who are implementing Writing Workshop for the first time and are looking for assistance.… Continue reading THIS WEEK: Another Big Picture Series

big picture · writing workshop

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

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 one, was thankful for the Big Picture Series on reflective practice.  It is good to have a reminder from time to time about… Continue reading Big Picture Series: It’s a Wrap . . . Or Is It?

big picture · hopes and dreams · quote · writers

The Big Picture Series: Celebratation

"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 to determine what made me successful (at what I do). In fact, when I was younger, I thought success equaled making a… Continue reading The Big Picture Series: Celebratation

academic choice · big picture · writing workshop

The Big Picture Series: Freedom in Topic Choice

"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. I know for me, relinquishing topic choice was one of the harder things to do when I transitioned into teaching according to… Continue reading The Big Picture Series: Freedom in Topic Choice

big picture · quote

The Big Picture Series: Care Enough.

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 plan, the perfect lesson, the perfect unit, the perfect curriculum, and our students producing the perfect pieces. This isn’t what really matters.… Continue reading The Big Picture Series: Care Enough.

big picture · quote · Write: It's good for you!

The Big Picture Series: Teacher as Writer

“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.” -- Mem Fox Interpretation of the Quote: Right before Winter Recess, I gave three of my students a printout that included the… Continue reading The Big Picture Series: Teacher as Writer

big picture · conferring · reflective practice

Big Picture Series: Conferring

“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 it you’ve given lots of useful advice on how to fix the writing.  You look over and notice your student is completely… Continue reading Big Picture Series: Conferring

big picture

Big Picture Series: Fellow Travelers

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 comforting colleagues at the end of the rough day or the people who rejoice with you when things go well.  Through this Big… Continue reading Big Picture Series: Fellow Travelers

big picture · family · friends · wn entry · writing workshop

That Personal Touch

Our Entry Table Has Begun to Brim with Anniversary and Chanukah Cards Originally uploaded by teachergal We're all so busy these days, aren't we? The snowstorm that hit New England this past Friday caused me, and many others, to slow down. I had the chance to reflect on what was important (safety first, Chanukah party… Continue reading That Personal Touch