Category Archive: conferring

Taking a Little Dip Back into Tried and True Teaching: Simple Ways to Embrace the Writing Conference During Virtual Learning

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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.

Planning for Independent Writing Time: A Middle School Solution

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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…

How To Name An Explicit Teaching Point for Writers

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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.

A Few Reasons to Stop Writing on Student Work

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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.

Three Ways To Make Your Conferring More Effective

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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.

Conferring Notes: The Key to Unit Planning

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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.

Positive Feedback That Moves Writers

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Specific feedback helps students replicate what you want them to do in their writing.

Questions to Reflect, Expand, and Select

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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.

How to Name a Transferable Teaching Point in a Writing Conference

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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?

Trust the Kids

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Finding ways to trust kids, it might be said, creates more space for learning. In this post, I offer a few ways trust can be manifested in a writing workshop…

Acknowledging Writers to Disturb the Universe

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In writing workshop, we operate on multiple levels– we try to plan and deliver effective minilessons, we try to confer with our writers (and take some notes?), we create anchor charts, and so forth.  But what about validating the voices of our student writers? Here are a few tips for disturbing the universe…

Be a Writing Coach.

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Would you like to help your striving writers so they can be more independent? Try a coaching conference to move them forward!

Writing Conferences: What to Do When a Writer Doesn’t Say Much?

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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…

Continuing to Think About Google Forms

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I am so grateful to have this resource available to me as an educator at no cost. Maybe someday, I’ll get to thank whoever is behind the Google Curtain in person. In the meantime, I’ll share what’s been working and I’ll look forward to hearing about how some of you end up doing it even better!

Different Ways to Use Checklists in Writing Workshop

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Student-facing checklists can be a powerful tool.  While rubrics are helpful for teachers, checklists are helpful for students.  Checklists can serve to provide clear targets for writers as they strive to craft pieces of writing. But what might be different ways to use them in your writing workshop? Read to find out…

Conferring Carl on Writing Conferences

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Want to improve your conferring? Carl Anderson’s new book, A Teacher’s Guide to Writing Conferences, will help you learn the ins and outs of conferring well with young writers.
Read the Q&A with Carl, then leave a comment on this blog post for a chance to win a copy of your own!

This is the year I’m going to keep better records.

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Want to keep (better) conferring records, but don’t know where to begin? This post will help you discover analog and digital record-keeping systems.
Read all the way through since there will are lots of downloadable templates to help you get started.

A few ideas for conferring

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Potentially, one of the most impactful opportunities we have for making a lasting difference on our students as writers is when we pull up next to them and confer with them. It’s SO worth spending some time reflecting, setting goals, and developing tools and strategies for the conferring work we do as teachers. 

End of Year Reflections and June Planning

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As we approach the end of another school year, many of us begin making plans for outgrowing ourselves. But what might be some lenses to think through when taking on such a task? I have a few ideas . . .

Conferring with Writers: Beyond the Fundamentals of Writing Workshop

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    “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