change · COVID-19 · digital tools · digital writing · Distance Learning · remote instruction · remote learning · writing workshop

My Three Remote Teacher Survival Tips

As we all venture into another week of instruction, no matter what that may look like, I have three tips for surviving and thriving in these times.

blog series · change · classroom environment · independent writing · management · meeting area · middle school · minilesson

Fitting It All In: Solving Predictable Problems

For many of us, especially in middle school, trying to fit all the pieces of writing workshop into, say, a 41-minute schedule, can feel daunting. How can we teach a minilesson, get our kids working, confer with individuals and small groups, provide a mid-workshop interruption, and facilitate a teaching share…all in that tight time frame?

celebration · change · informational writing · units of study · writing workshop

Give yourself a pat on the back!

Take some time to celebrate what your students have accomplished, thanks to your teaching, in writing workshop. Name something -- big or small -- you're proud of from this school year.

change · charts · minilesson · Reflective Practice · video · writing process

Writing Process in Action

A few posts ago I shared my evolving thoughts about the writing process. Last week I was able to put my thinking to the test. In third grade, kids were getting ready to move from notebooks to drafts. It was a little bit of a painful process because I was breaking the news to them… Continue reading Writing Process in Action

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

change · character development · slice of life

Join Us for Today’s SOLSC

Last week I was chatting with a second grader about characters in stories.  I said, "As a reader, I know you've noticed that characters in stories usually change in some way." "No they don't," she replied matter-of-factly. "I did say usually.  It doesn't always happen, but usually, when writers write stories, they usually have the… Continue reading Join Us for Today’s SOLSC

change · penny kittle · professional development

Ruth’s Slice: Rekindled.

I spent Monday and Tuesday being inspired by Penny Kittle.  My thoughts swirled as  she shared her ideas, passion, and love for teaching students to write well in that no-nonsense genuine style of her's.  I was reminded that the fight for good teaching to trump standardized tests is a worthy one, even though the battle… Continue reading Ruth’s Slice: Rekindled.

authors · change · professional development

reflecting on charts.

Yesterday in Sue Price's sixth grade language arts class, I led the sharing.  Her students are in the middle of reading their research (on a topic of their choice) in order to write a two page magazine spread.  One of the components is a feature article.  At the end, all of the magazine spreads will… Continue reading reflecting on charts.

change · Slice of Life Story Challenge · wn entry

solc: song on the radio.

What a busy day!  Currently I'm in the midst of a major life change.  Yesterday's slice of life was too personal to post (not to mention that I left my house at 5:30 am, didn't return until 10:28 pm and arrived to my pillow until after 1 am), but I'm planning on sharing it next week once other… Continue reading solc: song on the radio.

change · community · observations · reflections


I had an interesting phone call yesterday afternoon.  Upon answering the phone, the voice on the other end identified herself and went on to tell me, "I'm not sure why I feel the need to call you, but I think you can help me.  I've lost all confidence in myself as a teacher.  I was… Continue reading confidence.