celebration · challenges · checklists · conventions · goals · grammar · gratitude · reflections

Quick & Fun Lesson Closures? Yes, Please!

Embrace the thrill of trying something new. Know that doing so doesn't require abundant time, energy, or preparation. Small shifts have a real impact on classroom energy, enthusiasm, and engagement. How do you add variety, joy, and/or playfulness to lesson closings?

challenges · goals · plan

When Your Reality Doesn’t Match Your Expectations

October is the time when the mismatch between our expectations--what we think kids can do--and the reality--what our kids can actually do--sets in. How can we help our students (and ourselves) bring expectation and reality closer together?

back to school · challenges · creativity · LIWP · NWP · poetry

Nourishing Your Teacher Soul

When your "to-do" list is super long at back-to-school time, should you take time for poetry, writing and friends? A resounding yes! How are you making time to nourish your teacher soul during these challenging times?

challenges · middle school · writing process

Supporting Writers Across the Writing Process

For every writer, the writing process is a little bit different. As teacher writers, we all struggle at different points and our students are no different. Today I offer a few tools for supporting writers at different points of the writing process . . .

Author Spotlight Series · challenges · COVID-19 · craft · mentor texts · writing workshop

Instructional Ideas Inspired by the Author Spotlight Series

Have you been a reader of our annual Author Spotlight Series? How have you used these posts to inspire your teaching? Read on to find a collection of the Author Spotlight posts and ideas for using these treasures with your students.

blogging · challenges · COVID-19 · SOLSC Classroom Challenge

Emphasizing Writer’s Craft in the Classroom SOLSC

Can digital badges that focus on writer's craft inspire students to try new techniques in their writing? Read more to see how I created new badges for the Classroom SOLSC that emphasize writer's craft.

challenges · drafting · growth mindset · Mary Ehrenworth · modeling · teacher writing

Lights, Camera, Action! 3 Tips for Creating Maximum Effect During a Writing Lesson

Walking ourselves through and rehearsing what we will model for young writers so as to create the desired effect(s) can be extremely helpful.  Whatever curriculum we are using, it's just so important to walk through the big steps of our teaching ahead of time so that we plan for maximum learning impact. But what type of "effects" might be desired?

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...

challenges · classroom environment · community · writing workshop

The Six Week Check-in

Many of us are fast approaching the sixth week of school. Many of us consider that the first of countless milestones in our school year. Six weeks in, routines are beginning to solidify, and we see signs of a coalescing community in our classrooms. Six weeks in, we  are building rapport and connections with our… Continue reading The Six Week Check-in

assessment · challenges · narrative · observations · writing workshop

Making the Most of Pre-Assessments

 We spend a week or so sharing stories, and building excitement for writing stories. We hand out notebooks with fanfare, and writers happily personalize them. They brainstorm ideas for stories they could write. And then we stand in front of the class and explain that today is the day we want each of them to… Continue reading Making the Most of Pre-Assessments

celebration · challenges · collaboration · mentoring · writing workshop

Growing Writers, One Challenge at a Time

This year, our class motto has been "Push through the struggle." Originally a mantra of one student, but quickly became the motto of the community. These are the words used to encourage each other to persevere in all learning tasks. The Slice Of Life Story Challenge was no exception!