Category Archive: inspiration

The Importance of Starting Practice with WHY: Nurturing Independence from the Start

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How often do we ask ourselves about what leads our thinking on the teaching of writing? Is our purpose curriculum, or something much more significant? Why do we teach the way we do? And… How do we articulate why this, not that?

Trust the Kids

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Finding ways to trust kids, it might be said, creates more space for learning. In this post, I offer a few ways trust can be manifested in a writing workshop…

Our Most Powerful Tool- Our Words: Looking Back And Moving Forward

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In Visible Learning For Literacy, Fisher, Frey, and Hattie, explain “When feedback is delivered in such that it is timely, specific, understandable, and actionable students assimilate the language used by their teacher into their self-talk. (2016, 100)” These words stopped me. When our words become the self-talk of our students, they become the most influential tool we have as teachers.

What’s the Keynote of the Unit?

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Hurriedly making my way through the front door of the majestic Riverside Chapel on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, I glanced at my watch.  Late, I thought to myself.  Oh well, I’m sure I… Continue reading

Teaching Writing, Learning Writing

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As I get ready for the March SOLSC, I’m thinking about ways to support writers when ideas, energy and inspiration waver.

Writing: A Path to Become an Intentional Educator

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What if there was a way to build in opportunities to reflect, in writing, about my teaching right in the place where the lesson plans reside? And what if that place could also offer daily inspiration and opportunities to set positive intentions for the week ahead?

Got Stuck?

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What option can you give your students when they just get stuck?

Kathleen’s One Little Word of 2016

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My fourth grade self’s advice, my grandmother’s influence, participating in the Literacy Leaders’ Forum, and even a Facebook quiz and a fortune cookie have all pointed me in the direction of my One Little Word for 2016…HAPPY.

Planning Ahead for Publishing

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Third grade was my favorite year of school. We had the best teacher ever. We sang songs and poems that I still remember to this day (Cumalada cumalada cumalada vista!). For math, we… Continue reading

Writing Mantras for the New School Year

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What can we say to ourselves to affirm the power of writing? What words will help us move forward when the going gets tough? Thinking about class writing mantras…

Creating Classroom Environments: Places for Writers to Grow

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Every summer I dream of my classroom. When considering my third grade writers, what do they need to grow and how can I provide classroom spaces for that?

Force Field for Good and a Giveaway!

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Learn about Barry Lane’s newest book, Force Field for Good and enter for the giveaway!

The Opposite of Loneliness + a Book Giveaway

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I rarely read collections of short stories or essays, but I made an exception for The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories by Marina Keegan. It’s a book written by a debut author. Unfortunately, it’s her final title since she died tragically in 2012.

Climbing out of a Writing Rut

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I’ve been writing daily for years, but lately I feel as if I haven’t written anything worthwhile. Sure – I’ve written blog posts about family and the teaching of writing.  Sure – I’ve… Continue reading

How the Finns Create a Sense of Community in Their Schools

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How do we compare a country with a fairly homogeneous population of five and a half million people, with less than 5% of the population in poverty, to the United States? Well, forty years ago, when Finland was overhauling their education system and studying models from other countries, they could have followed our lead and jumped on our No Child Left Behind bandwagon, eventually moving to high-stakes testing and teacher assessment as a means to improve education.

A Little Writing Love

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As an instructional coach, a key part of my job is to encourage and inspire teachers. This is one of my favorite things about my job. It isn’t easy to be the person… Continue reading

Christy Is…

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Last week I had the privileged of observing Christy Rush-Levine with her eighth grade language arts classes. Deb Gaby, the reading coach in my district, along with two middle school teachers went with me to… Continue reading

How do you know?

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Often when I’m working with teachers, I get the question: How do you know? This can be in response to a number of things: minilesson ideas, conference teaching points, share sessions, anchor charts,… Continue reading

Teach the Writer

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I wish we could change the world by creating powerful writers forever instead of indifferent writers for school. —Mem Fox I just want to take a deep breath and read those words again.… Continue reading

Keynotes On My Mind

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The first time I attended a conference for teachers (I was in college), I attended a keynote speaker lunch. At the end of it, I told the people I was with, “Someday I… Continue reading