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Highlights from the Week

I have been in a lot of different writing workshops lately. Just this week I've been in 13 writing workshops and have met with 13 different teachers in either reflective practice meetings or planning meetings. Therefore, I have SO MUCH I want to record. Which leads me to my current dilemma: what do I not… Continue reading Highlights from the Week

fiction · minilesson · narrative

Show Don’t Tell

In narrative writing, it is difficult to shift from telling the story to showing the story. I've helped launch a fiction study in a couple of fifth grade classrooms this week, and we've decided to really focus on helping students make this shift as writers. So we made a chart with four "telling" statements: She… Continue reading Show Don’t Tell

books · fiction · interview · quote

Words that are Speaking to Me

Giving characters free will, instead of outlining them in detail before writing begins, allows the story to flow naturally and allows the characters to become more real and more interesting than they could be if they had to act within a rigid profile created in advance of the actual writing process. --- Dean Koontz Obviously The Tension of… Continue reading Words that are Speaking to Me

choice · fiction · minilesson


The past few months I've been reading several authors' blogs and I keep coming across the abbreviation W.I.P. Finally I figured out it means Work In Progress. WIP is part of the language of writers, therefore I introduced the term to fourth graders today with this chart: W.I.P. Decisions Topic --- What will I write… Continue reading WIP?

fiction · reading · reading-writing connections · reflections · Reflective Practice · writer's notebook · writer's-reader's notebook · writing · writing about reading

Reflecting on Reading Like a Writer

So I took some time to create a video about the system I created in order to track and reflect on my summer reading. Because I pushed myself to reflect in a new medium, I feel like I dug deeper into the work I've done with reading like a writer. (I hope it's not too… Continue reading Reflecting on Reading Like a Writer

fiction · minilesson · slice of life · wn entry · Write: It's good for you!

Ruth’s Slice(s) of Life: A New Minilesson Idea

Slice 1: All morning I waited for Laurie Halse Anderson's post about the writing challenge for today. Although a little apprehensive about whether this would be worthwhile, I found myself writing interview questions and then answering them in the voice of a dad. Well past the required fifteen minutes, I was still writing, learning all… Continue reading Ruth’s Slice(s) of Life: A New Minilesson Idea


Logical Situations in Fiction

Did you know that the Curious George Stories, written by Margaret and H.A. Rey, were inspired by many real-life circumstances the writers went through as they escaped from France in 1940?  Remember how Curious George always made it out of a sticky situation by the skin of his teeth?  Well, that's exactly how life was… Continue reading Logical Situations in Fiction

character development · fiction

Developing Realistic Fictional Characters

I was assessing my students in Reading in a colleague's office today.  As a student was finishing up a passage silently, I began looking at her walls.  I found a great chart on character development.  Loved it so much that I turned it into a "worksheet" of my own.  (I also altered it a bit… Continue reading Developing Realistic Fictional Characters

fiction · literary essay · memoir · units of study

What’s Next?

I received a question earlier this evening about what's next in my Writing Workshop: What do you usually do next in writing workshop? I just finished persuasive writing, and this is the first time I have done it so early in the year. I am trying to figure out the next logical step. I feel… Continue reading What’s Next?

character development · fiction · personal narrative

Character Traits

I just put together a list of character traits for my students, ranking them as positive, negative, or a mix between the two for an upcoming character study unit we're doing in Reading Workshop. That being said, this list of character traits can certainly be used within a personal narrative or short fiction unit of… Continue reading Character Traits

fiction · memoir · picture book · poetry · reflections · writing workshop

Favorite Genres

One of the questions on my Year-End Writing Evaluation was "What was your favorite genre/unit of study this year and why?" All of the kids only choose three genres from a list of eight. They chose (in order of popularity): Memoir Poetry Picture Books/Fiction The unpopular genres were personal narrative, friendly letters, personal essay, literary… Continue reading Favorite Genres

fiction · picture book · publishing

Gearing-up for tomorrow’s short fiction pub party

Pub Party Snack Alert Originally uploaded by teachergal Three of my students stayed after school to gussy-up our classroom for tomorrow's big Publishing Party. I love the sign they created on the classroom's mini-white board. Here are the cookies I've baking all afternoon. (I should write an ode to a chocolate chip cookie now.) ;-)… Continue reading Gearing-up for tomorrow’s short fiction pub party