Category Archive: independent writing

Nightly Writing: Homework and the Writing Workshop

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Four ways to encourage students to write after the school day is finished WITHOUT assigning writing as homework.

Fitting It All In: Solving Predictable Problems

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For many of us, especially in middle school, trying to fit all the pieces of writing workshop into, say, a 41-minute schedule, can feel daunting. How can we teach a minilesson, get our kids working, confer with individuals and small groups, provide a mid-workshop interruption, and facilitate a teaching share…all in that tight time frame?

Building a Community of Writers: Creating the Emotional Space

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Building a community of writers is likely a goal for all writing workshop teachers. But what are some ways to be intentional about bringing such a goal to fruition?

Four Writing Workshop Ideas for the Final Stretch

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If you’re in the final stretch–the last few days or weeks of school– here are a few ideas to keep kids writing right to the very end.

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.

Carving Out Time: Authentic Purposes for Writing

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I believe in writing. I believe that the more you write, the more you discover your own thoughts and ideas. Your voice grows stronger. You become more fluent. Writing becomes a part of who you are, how you see the world, how you process your thoughts, how you communicate effectively with others. It is not enough for students to just write during writing workshop. Writing needs to be woven into the fabric of the day, across subject areas, in ways that are meaningful and authentic for students.

The Freedom To Create

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More and more, I’ve been recognizing the need to give students some freedom in their writing lives. Can independent writing time be the answer?

Heart Maps: A Review and a Giveaway

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“My hope is that as you explore heart mapping with your writers, you will fall in love with the stories and poems, truths and courage that will unfold–both theirs and your own.” Georgia Heard in her newest book, Heart Maps.

Red Dot Side, Green Dot Side, Revisited

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With very good intentions, we teach kids to do their best to really finish a story before they move on to the next one. However, a little bit of flexibility will go a long way in increasing engagement, volume, and independence in young writers.

Independent Persuasive Writing Projects

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A possible plan for a unit on persuasive writing independent projects

Writing Mantras for the New School Year: Part of #TWTBlog’s Throwback Week

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Did you know that talking to yourself can be really helpful? It’s true! Researchers have long known that positive self-talk can be an incredibly helpful tool. The power of positive self-talk is something that… Continue reading

An Eraser-Free Workshop and the Language We Use for Talking About It

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When I visit a classroom, one of the first things I often say to kids is, “Today, please don’t erase. I want to see ALL the great work you are doing as a writer. When you erase, your work disappears!” Often, this is what kids are accustomed to and they continue working away. But sometimes, kids stare at me as if I’ve got two heads.

THROWBACK WEEK: Pens Versus Pencils

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What do you think is better for kids to use in writing workshop: pens or pencils?

Throwback Week: How To Read A Unit of Study

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Learn some tricks for reading the Units of Study, whether you’re new to the units or have been using them for many years.

Work Smarter: How To Wrap Up A Unit of Study

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This week my colleagues and I are writing posts that we hope will make your life a little easier. We’re sharing some ways to work smarter, not harder.

From Shared to Independent Practice: Drawing Lessons Continued

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Last week we looked at a couple of students who were working on the visual plan and the use of drawing lessons. Let’s peek in and see how that work is coming along in the shared and independent practice of writing workshop.

Okay, But What Would You Do?

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This week has been full of writing workshop conundrums and dilemmas!

Minilessons: It’s All About the Link

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It’s all about the link. Make sure your minilessons link to ongoing work. Link to making choices. Link to all the other minilessons. Link to the charts and resources in the room. Most of all link your minilesson always to problem solving and independence.

How To Read A Unit of Study

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As the school year comes to a close, many of the schools I work with are launching into a week or so of in-service, summer institutes, and other professional development. It’s “curriculum season”… Continue reading

Summer Writing for You, the Teacher

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You’ve got to practice writing to teach writing!