Even as the year winds down, third-grade teacher Danielle and I are working to make her inquiry-based approach to workshop even more student centered. How? By taking the necessity of record-keeping beyond the merely manageable and transforming the workshop through student-engaged assessment. Which of Danielle’s practices will you explore as you close out your year?
In this post, I’ll share everything that’s inside my conferring toolkit for writing workshop, as well as how I organize it all.
My favorite conferences are all closely connected to my beliefs about writing instruction. The teaching points in each conference are ideas I want to be front and center for kids as we co-construct the workshop and community we will live and play in over the coming months (at any grade level).
As the 2020-21 school year progressed, some teachers reported improved one-to-one conferences when they were conducted through a screen. As students and teachers became more comfortable sharing their screens and recording videos, virtual conferences felt more natural. There are some aspects of virtual writing conferences that can be carried forward once everyone is back to school in-person 100% of the time and/or the masks get to come off indefinitely.
In these days of little-to-no-notice school closures, it’s easy to get stuck at home without everything you need to confer with your students. Having a digital conferring toolkit means you will have access to all of your materials from any device that connects to the internet.
Time is a precious commodity in elementary schools. Making the time for a daily writing workshop often means that something else has to get short shrift. However, sometimes, the time for writing workshop gets cut by five or ten minutes. Here are several suggestions for what you can do if writing time gets cut.
My strategy for meeting the needs of advanced writers: personalization. Strategic, pre-planned opportunities, set like a vision trap to capture the imagination of each writer. Once caught, these writers can be reeled in to a level of complexity they had no idea they were ready (and willing) to try.
There’s no question it is challenging to get to know writers deeply via Zoom. And yet. . . something is working, because all of my remote kindergartners are writing. They are all making books. And while I might not have an hour each day to be side by side with them in the classroom, there is no question I am finding ways to get to know what kind of writers they are and what they need.
As I considered what to write this week, I decided to share a piece I was crafting for back to school, as an instructional coach/remote kindergarten teacher this year. The process helped me to focus on what families might need, as they experience writing workshop in new ways (i.e. at their kitchen tables).
One of the many changes brought about by the pandemic, whether we are returning to school in-person or remotely, is the ability to gather together in close proximity to learn and write together. I have been thinking a lot about this: How might we as teachers replicate or create the emotionally safe space normally held by a warm, close classroom in a digital space?
If your fall instruction plan includes any kind of virtual teaching, then building and maintaining relationships will be more crucial than ever. In order to engage and motivate students, educators must work to genuinely connect with students before focusing on academics.
Taking a Little Dip Back into Tried and True Teaching: Simple Ways to Embrace the Writing Conference During Virtual Learning
When the world of education suddenly shifted, so did our teaching practices. Some of us might be ready to start bringing back some of the teaching structures we replied on in the classroom. This will offer some quick practical ways we might bring back parts of the traditional writing conference during virtual learning.
With the volume of students most middle school writing teachers serve, how is one to plan for differentiation? Using a basketball analogy, here is one play you can run…
A clear teaching point helps students understand the work, and makes your conference more memorable. A concisely stated teaching point is also is a tool for keeping your conference focused and effective.
Even if you were somebody who enjoyed your teachers’ written comments or corrections on your papers, there are some solid reasons to consider not writing on your students’ work.
I’ve been trying to improve my own skills as I sit down next to writers throughout my years of teaching writing, and there is so much more to conferring than the three ideas that I’m sharing in this post.
Crafting a system for conferring notes can be a catch-all of sorts, a strategy for ensuring that teammates engage in the highest leverage instructional conversations before the unit begins—even if they haven’t had extended time to unit plan together.
Specific feedback helps students replicate what you want them to do in their writing.
If we are not intentional, we can easily rush into many teaching points, instead of only one. We can overwhelm ourselves and our students. If we are not careful, we can miss the most important reason we sit with a student―the opportunity to listen and learn.
Conferring with young writers is far too complex to boiled down to just one important aspect. But… if you had to name the most important part of a writing conference, what would it be?