argument writing · genre · middle school

The Argument Scavenger Hunt

Although I'm not typically a fan of stand-alone activities, this exercise, presented at last year's NCTE Conference, incorporated many positive elements aimed at supporting writers working doing argumentative work...

back to school · genre

One Topic, Different Genres: Many Possibilities!

Do students realize all the different ways they can write about the same topic? In this post, I share how I wrote about "roller coasters" in different genres to model for my students the many possibilities!

creativity · genre · poetry · Student ownership

A Breakthrough In Poetry: How To Bring Playfulness to Every Genre

Kids are inundated by rules. If the gift of writing is freedom of expression, are we imposing too many "rules" on writers? What if the rules of every genre, like poetry, were limited to just two or three?

genre · Independent Writing Blog Series

Independent Writng: Multi-genre writing projects to celebrate a year of writing workshop

    The last quarter of the school year brings gifts all its own - it’s a time to celebrate all the investment that has been made during the first three quarters: our students have a sense of independence and ownership of their learning, and they are ready, willing and able to spread their wings… Continue reading Independent Writng: Multi-genre writing projects to celebrate a year of writing workshop

genre · writers · writing

Creating mini-units of study in writing workshop: writing to bear witness.

In my sixth grade class, we cycle through a set of genres every Writing Workshop year: personal narrative, memoir, feature article, poetry, profiles, and persuasive letters and research based essays.  Taken together, these make for a jam-packed year of writing.  And yet, every once in a while, an idea for something new to add to… Continue reading Creating mini-units of study in writing workshop: writing to bear witness.

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

authors · genre · punctuation · revision

Genre Choice

Going into the last leg of the school year, I'd like to take a minute to encourage you to empower students to chose the genre they are going to write. It is important for students to have the choice of genre throughout the school year. Often Writing Workshops become genre study after genre study. Before… Continue reading Genre Choice

genre · units of study

Genres in My Upper Grade Classrooms

I’m plowing through the questions Katie asked, last week, methodically. Here are the two I’m going to answer today: Which genres do you teach during the year? Approximately how long do you spend in each genre and how many published pieces do you expect from them at the end of it? Here’s a list of… Continue reading Genres in My Upper Grade Classrooms

creativity · demonstration · genre · independent writing projects · mentor texts · minilesson · poetry · writers · writing


I like challenging myself and my students with their writing. So... in honor of National Poetry Month, I thought about creating a week-long poetry challenge since I'd like to create more poetry of my own to share with my students during minilesson demonstrations. Hence... I was thinking about starting this Challenge on Saturday, 4/12 and… Continue reading POETRY CHALLENGE

content-area writing · demonstration · genre · non-narrative writing · units of study

Teacher as Writer.

One of the most powerful ways to become a better writing teacher is to write.  And one of the most essential things to write is what we expect our students to write.  Dina Coverstone is doing just that.  Her fifth graders are learning about research and speeches.  Their charge is to research a president and… Continue reading Teacher as Writer.

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.