classroom environment · collecting · community · COVID-19 · engagement · flexible seating · independent writing · motivation

Three Ways to Find Joy & Keep Writing

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

audience · authentic writing · coaching · collaborative planning · content-area writing · engagement · Innovators · motivation · student engagement · writing workshop

Thinking Big About 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.

academic choice · big picture · motivation

Growing Writers: Eight Alternatives to Extrinsic Rewards

“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

greenbelt writing · hopes and dreams · independence · independent writing · independent writing projects · informal writing · motivation · publishing · student engagement · Student ownership · writer's notebook · writing workshop

Ten Possible Minutes: Sacred Writing

Every year brings with it new surprises. I was delightfully surprised by just ten minutes this year. Ten minutes made a big difference.

audience · celebration · informational writing · Katherine Bomer · motivation · nurturing · publishing · writer identity

Writing Celebrations…But Why?

With all the pressures imposed by a segmented, unforgiving middle school schedule, why make time for writing celebrations? Are they really that important? Yes!

common core · engagement · informational writing · lesson plans · lucy calkins · minilesson · motivation · narrative

Connecting Through Story

"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

academic choice · classroom environment · motivation · writing workshop

A Learner-Driven Classroom & Writing Workshop

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.

classroom environment · motivation · narrative · personal narrative · writing workshop

Shaking Up Personal Narrative

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

compliment · conferences · conferring · differentiation · Eve Bunting · feedback · independent writing · middle school · motivation · record keeping · scheduling · Shana Frazin · tcrwp

On the Pitfalls of Hiding Out

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.

independent writing · Kristi Mraz · motivation · writing workshop

Writing Mantras for the New School Year: Part of #TWTBlog’s Throwback Week

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