Category Archive: conferring

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

Don’t Skimp on the Compliment.

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Mark Twain once said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” While our students should regularly receive compliments from their teachers, good ones can fuel their ambition and willingness to stretch themselves as writers.

Putting the Large Stones In First: A September Check-In

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Nervously lowering myself into a chair, I scooted myself closer to the table.  Around me sat three new colleagues.  My new 7th grade teaching team.  Having moved from my familiar home in small-town… Continue reading

A Closer Look: Learning About Our Writers with Formative Assessment

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Sound assessment plays a vital role in showing and in detailing progress students are making toward reasonable goals.

Conferring: Writing Workshop Fundamentals

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“Lift the ball with your right hand, and pretend your right knee is tied to your right elbow.”  Placing the orange ball uncertainly in my right hand, I glanced over at Mr. Brown,… Continue reading

Feedback That Moves Writers Forward: Review and Giveaway

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Feedback That Moves Writers Forward: How to Escape Correcting Mode To Transform Student Writing, written by Patty McGee, is a must-read for educators who know we can do far better for students when it comes to talking with them about their writing.

Changing Tack: Learning from a Writing Conference

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It’s great to be prepared when we are conferring with our writers. However, being ‘prepared’ and being ‘present’ are not the same thing…

Know When to Step Away

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Even when we know what’s best, sometimes the most helpful thing we can do for a child is to let them figure out a problem on their own.

On the Pitfalls of Hiding Out

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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.

Don’t Forget the Compliment

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Lanny Ball reminds us that compliments are a bit like gifts we give our students each day.

Conferring with “If… Then… Then… Then…” in Mind

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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.

Conferring Tip: Listening Closely

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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

A Writing Conference with an English Language Learner Using Google Translate

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Read on for a snippet of a writing conference using Google Translate with an upper elementary student who is learning English.