authentic writing · childhood · early childhood · emergent writers · kindergarten · play

Writing and Playing: A Natural Pairing in the Kindergarten Classroom

Writing and playing are not one and the same but there is deep value in forging connections between the two by finding regular opportunities to have children both write while they play, AND play while they write! 

character development · kindergarten · primary grades

Puppets and Playdates: A Pre-Writing Strategy for Character Development and Writing Engagement in the Kindergarten Classroom

Puppets are powerful vehicles through which kindergarten students can develop characters and experiment with storytelling and play is essential to the way that young children learn. By combining puppets and play, children can begin to do the important pre-writing work necessary to develop rich characters and powerful stories in writing workshop.

emergent writers · kindergarten · purpose · writer identity

Celebrating Growth When(ever) it Happens

It’s dramatic when the light comes on, when a writer suddenly takes a step they had only recently not yet been ready to take. As a teacher of writers, I can’t wait to pounce on those moments, to facilitate the avalanche of growth on the horizon. 

content-area writing · Distance Learning · kindergarten · Reflections and Shifts As We Move Forward Blog Series · writing workshop

Cross-Content Connections: Reflections and Shifts As We Move Forward

A topsy turvy year brings with it surprises. Some have been valuable enough to carry forward. I'm looking forward to bringing the best of the year with me and letting the challenges become a memory.

feedback · kindergarten · parent involvement · remote instruction · remote learning

Five Tips for Parents and Caregivers for Offering Feedback to Writers

How can I be clear about aligning what families hear me teaching with what their children are doing with the feedback both they and I offer kids along the way?

agency · feedback · kindergarten

Joy and Agency: An Origin Story

What are the ways I can let writers know that I SEE them, that I understand and appreciate all that they are bringing to the page and the process? How might my feedback serve as a mirror, reflecting back to writers a clear image of who they are, of what is important to them, of evidence of their growth?

how-to writing · kindergarten · remote instruction · writing workshop

Horse-Sitting and How-to Writing

A silver lining of teaching remotely has been opportunities, like this one, to elevate authentic reasons to read and write. Kids are curious about how others do things, and they have so much real-world expertise to share. A strategy such as this one gives our youngest writers access to topics that might otherwise exceed their emergent writing skills.

assessment · engagement · kindergarten · Meet Writers Where They Are Blog Series · progressions · self-assessment

Meet Writers Where They Are: Making Learning Relevant and Personal

Maya Angelou reminds me that when I know better, I can do better. The more I know about how, where, and why a student is functioning, the better I can teach that student.

assessment · conferring · emergent writers · kindergarten · remote learning · small group

How do we get to Know our Writers Remotely: A Case Study

There's no question it is challenging to get to know writers deeply via Zoom. And yet. . . something is working, because all of my remote kindergartners are writing. They are all making books. And while I might not have an hour each day to be side by side with them in the classroom, there is no question I am finding ways to get to know what kind of writers they are and what they need.

assessment · kindergarten

A Very Kindergarten Appropriate Assessment: Writing and Drawing Observations

Instead of an on-demand writing assessment early on in kindergarten this year, I drafted a Writing and Drawing Observation. This is an informal observation of children drawing and writing during their writing workshop time. Observing young children and keeping anecdotal records of their behaviors is a time-tested tradition in early childhood education.