agency · elaboration · goals · mentor texts · small group · teacher writing · writing workshop

A Small Group in Action: Elaboration Strategies, Here We Come!

Having walked around a classroom of fourth-grade writers yesterday, I had pinpointed four writers who were all ready to think about elaboration strategies. This post describes the first session of a few to inspire these fourth-grade writers to use more elaboration strategies.

elaboration · personal essay · writing workshop

Think More, Say More, Write More: Elaborating with Personal Essay

How do you help writers bridge the gap from paragraph writing to essay writing? What are your favorite strategies for elaboration?

argument writing · classroom environment · conferences · conferring · differentiation · elaboration · environment · growth mindset · management · mentor texts · middle school · nonfiction writing · opinion writing · preparation · strategic conferring

Changing Tack: Learning from a Writing Conference

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

choice · conferring · elaboration · illustrations · narrative · writing workshop

How to Write

This past week I've had several conversations with young writers about how to write something. Not the logistics of making letters or spelling words, but how to craft their writing in order to make the reader feel or know something. With our youngest writers this conversation has centered around illustrations. With intermediate writers it has… Continue reading How to Write

college essays · elaboration · voice · word

Voice Matters

Jacques Steinberg, an education correspondent for The New York Times, appeared on "The Today Show" yesterday morning.  He talked with Natalie Morales about college essays that worked and didn't work at some of the nation's most prestigious colleges.  There were three commonalities I immediately recognized in the essays that worked.  First, the well-written essays had… Continue reading Voice Matters

elaboration · literary essay · midworkshop interruption · patience · teacher of writing · writer's notebook · writing workshop

Amaze Me!

You know the student who always rushes through assignments? You know, that kid... the one who sacrifices quality to finish his/her work? Well, I thought one of my students was rushing through their writing (which was all about elaborating using 'prompts to push our thinking about reading') when I saw that child's hand waving at… Continue reading Amaze Me!

authors · craft · elaboration

“An overuse of craft is cr*p!”

Author Lester Laminack taught a course I took at Teachers College during the 2006 Summer Institute on the Teaching of Writing. He said, "There's only a letter or two that separates the word craft from cr*p." He paused. "Therefore, an overuse of craft is crap!" Everyone in the room busted out laughing when they heard… Continue reading “An overuse of craft is cr*p!”