Are you writing stories, or band-aids? Read on to find out.
Nervously lowering myself into a chair, I scooted myself closer to the table. Around me sat three new colleagues. My new 7th grade teaching team. Having moved from my familiar home in small-town Oregon to a strange and exciting new land called New England, I wasn't sure quite what to expect. Our team leader, a… Continue reading Putting the Large Stones In First: A September Check-In
Regardless of the genre, one of the most important things we can teach our students is how to write words that could come from them – and only them.
"Story is the basic unit of human understanding." - Drew Dudley, Day One Leadership. We have been learning through story for thousands of years. Our innate fascination for wanting to know what happens is an undeniable trait of humanity. Yet, in spite of what we know about story as a fundamental building block for learning,… Continue reading Connecting Through Story
What are the books that have shaped you as a teacher of writing? Reflecting today, in thanks, for the authors and books that have influenced my life as a teacher.
In my day-to-day teaching I often get swept up in trying to load students up with next step after next step... after next step. Sometimes, what might benefit some students most, however, is clear explicit feedback on what they are already doing well. There's certainly an art to giving clear feedback, especially when it comes to… Continue reading A Compliment Conference
Learn some tricks for reading the Units of Study, whether you're new to the units or have been using them for many years.
Call it jargon, call it terminology, call it what you will. We have our own made-up words for things sometimes.
Long ago, most teachers I knew had a ritual that they held near and dear to their hearts. At the end of every writing workshop, a child sat in the Author's Chair and read a story the the whole class. I used to do this, and I used to love it. I told myself that every… Continue reading The “Share” Time
How do you help your students establish their identity as writers?
Last week I wrote a post titled How To Plan A Minilesson From Scratch, and I outlined a very simple way to plan minilessons, based on the work of my wonderful colleagues at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. Now, I am going to backtrack a bit and revisit just a teensy weensy bit of what I said. I wrote, "Every minilesson can pretty much go the same way." And this is absolutely true, most of the time. Except for those times when it's not true.
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" in many places around the country. For many writing teachers, that means diving into the Units of Study for Opinion, Information, and Narrative Writing by Lucy… Continue reading How To Read A Unit of Study