Professional conferences are an excellent way to increase your knowledge and can fuel your enthusiasm for teaching. If you’re new to attending conferences — or just want some tips to help you maximize your enjoyment as a conference-goer — then this post is for you!
When conferring with a writer, our big aim is to engage in a meaningful conversation with the student about his or her writing. An individual writing conference is likely the single most effective way for a teacher to help move a writer forward. But many times, even with our best intentions and attempts at “training” students how to converse during a conference, the student will sometimes say something curt, like, “Good.” Or, “It’s fine.” Silence. That’s it. That’s all they have to say. What to do? Fear not! Conferring Carl suggests six strategies to help teachers address this situation…
“How about we read Goodnight, Gorilla?” Raising my eyebrows, I gazed hopefully at my two year-old daughter. “Or maybe we could read The Grouchy Ladybug? You love that one!” “No!” Her… Continue reading
It’s great to be prepared when we are conferring with our writers. However, being ‘prepared’ and being ‘present’ are not the same thing…
Sometimes in a busy and chaotic schedule, we inadvertently miss attending to some of our students who like to “fly under the radar.” Being systematic and intentionally positive can make a big difference for some of our writers.
We can all be a little more like my daughter’s swim teacher, Coach Annie, and a little less like the camp counselors of my childhood. Here’s how.
A wise person once told me, conferring is the heart of the writing workshop. And much has been written about how to go about conferring effectively. Guides and professional books abound, videos, websites… Continue reading
My time at the New York State English Council (NYSEC) Conference through snapshots!
Sharing some highlights from the New Jersey Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Annual Conference, which took place this past weekend.
Our workshop was feeling forced, unnatural, and just rushed! We struggled to fit it all in and share time (the most valued time) was cut short with only 1 or 2 writers sharing each day. Something had to give. Writers weren’t growing, I wasn’t conferring, and it just didn’t feel calm and productive. I reflected on our workshop, the work of the writers, and the choices I was making, but I couldn’t figure out what was making me feel so unsettled.
I pause to listen to these stories (as best as I can in classroom of 27 six-year-olds, each with a story to share). After they’ve shared their story I comment, “I can’t wait to read that story!” or “Wow, you already have an idea for writing workshop!” Some walk away shaking their heads, eager to write their story, others look at me puzzled as if they aren’t sure why I would say this when they just told me the story. (I often wonder if they’re thinking, “Weren’t you listening?”).
A peek into a coaching cycle centered on writing conferences with first graders.
Last week, I had a little brainstorming session with one of my favorite groups of teachers and we came up with a list of tried-and-true teaching moves to help the truly non-talking kids open up a little when it comes time to talk about the work they’ve been doing.
In my day-to-day teaching I often get swept up in trying to load students up with next step after next step… after next step. Sometimes, what might benefit some students most, however, is clear… Continue reading
So, you’ve studied your students’ writing, analyzing their work for strengths and next steps. Maybe you took home a giant stack of writers notebooks, or a huge pile of on-demand writing assessments, or maybe you’ve just finished reading their published pieces. Now what?
What is the teacher’s role in a conference? What is the student’s role?
Over the summer, we catch up on professional reading, we organize our classrooms, we make plans. In our reading and our planning, we imagine the very best possible scenarios. We see our children working… Continue reading
On Wednesday my students, for two years, will be getting on their bus and riding home after our final day together. It will be bittersweet as I give them my last hug… Continue reading
Last weekend I took a major step forward towards my dream of publishing children’s books. I attended the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Annual Conference in New York. This post includes highlights from the keynotes and breakout sessions.
There’s a reason for second and third editions of really great books–a writer’s work is never done, and is certainly never, ever perfect.