blogging · bulletin boards · classroom environment · Creating Classroom Environments Blog Series · hopes and dreams · inspiration · mentor author · reading-writing connections · words of wisdom · writing workshop

Creating Classroom Environments: Places for Writers to Grow

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?

authors · interview · mentor author · writing process

Writing Fiction? Author Megan Jean Sovern Provides a Host of Inspiration

Today's interview holds a host of insights into the way in which Megan Jean Sovern, author of The Meaning of Maggie, develops characters, brings themes to the fore, and plans plot trajectory. Suffice it to say, I came away more than a little inspired.

community · mentor author · mentor texts · mentoring · poetry · publishing

Wow. Just Wow.

Awhile ago I was a 7th grade language arts teacher. My last year in the classroom I had one of the coolest classes that may have ever been compiled. It was the last block of the day. There were 22 of them, and they all came from very different walks of life. Outside of the… Continue reading Wow. Just Wow.

books · mentor author · mentor texts · video

The Book Stack…

Or maybe this post should be called: "The Book Stack?" with a big bold question mark. Seriously, I have stacks and stacks and stacks of books we've read, books we want to read, and books we are reading again and again. The problem is getting them from the stack to the blog. (Which is a… Continue reading The Book Stack…

dialgoue · grammar · mentor author · mentor entries · mentor texts · notebooks · noticings · process · reading · wn entry · writer's notebook · writer's-reader's notebook · writing · writing process

I’ve been studying sentence structure…

I was watching or listening or reading something this week --- I don't remember what -- but the message was: You can't be a writer if you're not a reader. True. (And probably the reason I don't remember who said it since this little tid-bit is fairly common knowledge.) The person went on to say:… Continue reading I’ve been studying sentence structure…

holiday · mentor author · mentor texts

The Carpenter’s Gift + A Giveaway

Every year, just before December sets in, I ask the publishers who are kind enough to send review copies to me for books about Christmas, Chanukah, and Kwanza so I can inform readers about some of the best new books that are out there.  This year The Carpenter’s Gift came from Random House and touched… Continue reading The Carpenter’s Gift + A Giveaway

mentor author · mentor texts · professional books · ralph fletcher

New Thinking About Mentor Texts + a Giveaway

I was recently offered a position as an adjunct professor starting in 2012.  I will be teaching a graduate course about using children's literature to teach writing.  As I prepare to teach this course, one of the things I have to think about are the professional texts I will require my students to read, as… Continue reading New Thinking About Mentor Texts + a Giveaway

mentor author · mentoring · minilesson · student work · writing workshop

Showing a Story

Recently, I taught a minilesson about showing a story. In typical intermediate grade fashion, students were writing stories filled with struggles, but slim on creating a picture in the reader’s mind. My minilesson went like this (and, yes, it was less than 15 minutes!): Share this chart – all of which we’ve discussed in previous… Continue reading Showing a Story

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

mentor author · mentor texts

Mentor Texts in the Midst of Writing

When we think of using mentor texts when teaching writing workshop, often our first thought is to use them at the beginning of a unit of study so students can gain a sense of the genre they are going to write. Recently, the stars have been aligned in my writing life. First I embarked on… Continue reading Mentor Texts in the Midst of Writing