We are now entering week seven in our school district. At the start of the year, there was much to think about and much to worry about. There were many questions to be answered and all of them seemed continuously uncertain. “We don’t know that yet” or “I’m not sure” were phrases that often seemed… Continue reading Three Ways to Find Joy & Keep Writing
The writing work in our building is transforming, and it is exciting to be a part of the change, to witness the impact on kids as we make our workshops increasingly authentic and compelling. We are constantly reflecting on what’s working—what’s leading to measurable shifts in how we plan for writing (and how kids experience writing)—as well as where we might be getting stuck: places there is genuine motivation to transform the task, and yet, our best intentions are still missing the mark in some significant way.
“Social psychology has found the more you reward people for doing something, the more they tend to lose interest in whatever they had to do to get the reward.” – Alfie Kohn (2000). Sometimes our students expect something for the work that they do in the classroom. They become accustomed to manipulation techniques. We’ve heard… Continue reading Growing Writers: Eight Alternatives to Extrinsic Rewards
Every year brings with it new surprises. I was delightfully surprised by just ten minutes this year. Ten minutes made a big difference.
With all the pressures imposed by a segmented, unforgiving middle school schedule, why make time for writing celebrations? Are they really that important? Yes!
"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
Moving to a learner-driven classroom has changed my role in the classroom and writing workshop. As a teacher in a learner-driven classroom, I have stepped back to observe the learner.
Ever since I read this post by Katie Kraushaar, I've been thinking about personal narrative and wondering why it is that students, particularly in middle elementary grades and beyond, are sometimes less than enthusiastic about this genre. Like Katie, I have felt the mood change in a classroom the moment the teacher mentions the words "personal narrative."… Continue reading Shaking Up Personal Narrative
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.
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 I hadn't thought about much until recently. My friends' Kristi Mraz's and Christine Hertz's book A Mindset for Learning has helped me… Continue reading Writing Mantras for the New School Year: Part of #TWTBlog’s Throwback Week
I have plans, big plans, for my third grader writers this year. Topping the list is helping them to become bloggers.
How do you motivate students and tap into their interests? What are you doing to create an environment that allows students to take a risk?