common core · engagement · informational writing · lesson plans · lucy calkins · minilesson · motivation · narrative

Connecting Through Story

"Story is the basic unit of human understanding." - Drew Dudley, Day One Leadership. We have been learning through story for thousands of years.  Our innate fascination for wanting to know what happens is an undeniable trait of humanity. Yet, in spite of what we know about story as a fundamental building block for learning,… Continue reading Connecting Through Story

common core · informational writing · interview · mentor texts · poetry

The Story of the Giant Sequoia + a Giveaway

Tony Johnston and Wendell Minor's new book, Sequoia, will be published later this month. Recently, both of them were gracious with their time and granted me interviews. Hear what they have to say about writing and illustrating. Get a sneak peek at this exquisite text you can use to infuse your students' informational writing with poetry.

common core · curriculum · national holiday · NCTE · writing workshop

Celebrating The National Day on Writing: Bottom Lines Beliefs

Happy National Day on Writing! One way to celebrate this day is to take a moment to reflect on your bottom line beliefs about quality writing instruction.

common core · vocabulary

Word Nerds Review + a Giveaway

Word Nerds: Teaching All Students to Learn and Love Vocabulary is filled with fresh ideas for ways to teach vocabulary so the meanings of the words stick with kids. It is a resource that will help you develop an innovative and meaningful vocabulary curriculum for your students. Read a review of the book and preview sections of the text. Then, leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Word Nerds.

common core · education articles

Coverage of the Core

The New York Times and The Washington Post have been covering the Common Core a LOT lately. You'll see, if you read them all, they provide different view points. Here are the ones that stood out to me. Caution and the Common Core by the Editorial Board Common Core: Assessing the real level of support… Continue reading Coverage of the Core

collaborative planning · common core · curriculum planning · lucy calkins · tcrwp · units of study

New Units of Study

I purchased the original Units of Study for Teaching Writing, Grades 3 - 5 when they were published in 2006. In the early days, those books were like a Bible to me. I used them to help me plan the scope and sequence of many of the units of study I taught. When I moved… Continue reading New Units of Study

common core · preparing students for the 21st century · professional books

Common Core — Appendices

Many of us are digging into Common Core Standards. We are spending time reading the standards, figuring out what they mean, and noticing how they grow from grade to grade. Indiana (my state) adopted Common Core State Standards several years ago, so I'm familiar with the standards. What I'm realizing now is the usefulness of… Continue reading Common Core — Appendices

common core · professional development · reflective practice

Choice Literacy: Coaching the Common Core {Part 3 of 3}

The third part of the conference was led by Tammy Mulligan and Clare Landrigan. They inspired me to stick to my beliefs. One of the ideas they talked about is a Framework for Change. In order for change to occur, they suggest systems need: Vision Skills Incentives Resources Action Plan If any of these items… Continue reading Choice Literacy: Coaching the Common Core {Part 3 of 3}

coaching · common core · conferences · professional books · professional development

Choice Literacy: Coaching the Common Core {Part 2 of 3}

The second portion of the Choice Literacy workshop, Coaching the Common Core was led by Heather Rader. Heather is the author of Side By Side: Short Takes on Best Practice for Teachers and Literacy Leaders. She is the senior editor for Choice Literacy and an instructional coach  I hope you know Heather's work. She is… Continue reading Choice Literacy: Coaching the Common Core {Part 2 of 3}

coaching · common core · literacy · professional development

Choice Literacy: Coaching the Common Core {Part 1 of 3}

Recently Deb Gaby and I attended a Choice Literacy Workshop called Coaching the Common Core. It was one of the best conferences I've ever attended (and I've attended a lot of really great conferences!). The workshop was divided into three parts. Jennifer Allen, Heather Rader, and Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan led the three portions.… Continue reading Choice Literacy: Coaching the Common Core {Part 1 of 3}