focus lesson · giveaway · mentor texts · photograph · poetry · professional books · ralph fletcher · writer's notebook · writing · writing workshop

Focus Lessons: A Review and Giveaway!

Reading Ralph Fletcher's newest book, Focus Lessons, revealed memories of my childhood much the way photos can be revealed in a pan of solution. Slowly, vividly, and magically.

books · character development · choice · curriculum · curriculum planning · drafting · fiction · focus lesson · free verse poetry · genre · lesson plans · lessons learned from students · mentor author · mentor texts · mentoring · narrative · organization · personalization · plan · poetry · point of view · primary grades · process · publishing · reflections · Reflective Practice · writer's notebook · writing process · writing workshop

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

focus lesson · minilesson · process

Minilessons Plant a Seed

One of the things I'm working on as a writing teacher is keeping minilessons, well, mini. As I've focused on this goal, I've realized sometimes lessons go long because I'm working toward perfection. I try to cover all of the bases so students can write in exactly-the-right-way. It is hard to admit this to myself,… Continue reading Minilessons Plant a Seed

first day · focus lesson · minilesson · slice of life

Ruth’s SOLS: First Day Minilesson — What is Writing Workshop?

Here's a little Slice of Life from the first student day. As a coach, the first day is one of the days I miss the most about being a classroom teacher. Thankfully,  Christi Overman (she blogs during the school year only, so you'll want to check back regularly on Chocolate for Teachers) invited me to… Continue reading Ruth’s SOLS: First Day Minilesson — What is Writing Workshop?

drafting · focus lesson · minilesson

Moving from Storyboards to Drafts.

In Keith Bollman's fifth grade class, students are beginning to consider moving into drafts.  They've envisioned their writing and are moving out of the rehearsal stage and into drafting.  Today I taught them how to stretch a scene.  The Great Pumpkin Switch by Megan Mcdonald and Ted Lewin  is one of the texts in play in the… Continue reading Moving from Storyboards to Drafts.

expository · focus lesson · genre · minilesson · non-narrative writing

reading research.

Today's lesson in the sixth grade class went along the lines of Ways to Be a Good Researcher.  I taught:   Complete your source sheet only when you know you'll be taking notes from the source. Determine if your subtopics are worthy.  Will they offer you the chance to collect several bits of information?  Are… Continue reading reading research.

expository · focus lesson · non-narrative writing · teaching tools · technology · units of study

research mania.

Let's be honest.  How many of you out there about lose your mind during the research phase of expository writing?  Here in Indiana, it is expected that beginning in 3rd grade, students use the Internet to find facts for their expository writing.  Now I'm all for technology . . . and learning to integrate it… Continue reading research mania.

assessment · authors · focus lesson · professional books


Today I had a few moments to spare, so I worked on organizing my focus lesson binders.  I pulled all my k-1 lessons and put them in a separate binder.  I organized it according to Carl Anderson's qualities of writing: Meaning Genre Structure Detail Voice Conventions + Process & what Carl terms "Initiative" (determining purpose, genre,… Continue reading organizing.

collecting · focus lesson · lists · strategies · writer's notebook

more on generating writing ideas.

Like Stacey, I think it's imperative that kids have lists in their notebooks about writing ideas.  I think one of the most powerful lessons we can give students in regards to finding writing ideas is to help them find topics they can mine.  What I mean by this, is finding topics that have many topics inside of them.  For… Continue reading more on generating writing ideas.