Anytime we pay careful attention and take non-judgemental notes about how students are learning what to do as writers, we gain valuable insight on how to better instruct them.
The end of the school year is the perfect time to venture out of our classrooms and learn about what is happening in classrooms across our school buildings. These opportunities remind us that the work we do with writers is collective.
Although this time of year predictably proves to be extremely busy, creatively scheduling a little bit of time to visit at least some of your next-year's writers can pay valuable dividends.
Whether or not you have started school already or you are taking those final deep breaths before your first day, let us remember one thing that sets us writing workshop teachers apart from other methodologies, curricula, programs, and/or approaches to teaching writing: we NOTICE.
I'll be honest. I actually love on-demand writing assessments.
We spend a week or so sharing stories, and building excitement for writing stories. We hand out notebooks with fanfare, and writers happily personalize them. They brainstorm ideas for stories they could write. And then we stand in front of the class and explain that today is the day we want each of them to… Continue reading Making the Most of Pre-Assessments
Last week I had the privileged of observing Christy Rush-Levine with her eighth grade language arts classes. Deb Gaby, the reading coach in my district, along with two middle school teachers went with me to check out Christy's approach to remediation. At the heart of her work is reading and writing workshop. I began a list a… Continue reading Christy Is…
Yesterday Lori Hickman and I launched a poetry unit of study in her kindergarten classroom. Since we wanted to see what they already knew about writing poetry, we decided to have them write a poem. This made me a little nervous. What if they just stared at the paper or chaos ensued because they had… Continue reading First Attempt at Poetry
From We had way too much fun today!!! We've all had those "best teaching days." You know, the ones where the children are completely engaged in learning. The ones that are fun. The ones that extend beyond the classroom. For me, one of my best teaching days was on May 1st, 2007. That day is… Continue reading Neighborhood Walk
Don Graves said, "If you want to understand how children write, then observe them closely. Write down everything they do and say. Then make a copy of their writing." This statement was shared at NCTE and it is one that is sticking with me. Since then, I've closely observed 7 primary students. I've studied each… Continue reading A Close Observation
My husband and I spent last week visiting our families in the NY Metropolitan Area. When we returned to our home in Central Pennsylvania, we were greeted by bursts of yellow on our street. The forsythia bushes had bloomed while we were gone. In the past five days, I've noticed April springing into action with… Continue reading You Be the Poet!
Schools from Indiana to Pennsylvania (and beyond) are closed today. While I'm spending time working on the book we're writing, I've also spent close to a half hour on Facebook. As a result, I've noticed a lot of people are feeling trapped indoors with their kids because the wind gusts are pretty strong. Sledding doesn't… Continue reading Snow Day Poetry Activity