The beginning of the school year is perfect timing for the classic cautionary tale, an anecdote shared with the intention of saving others a difficulty I created for myself. My purpose is to both teach and entertain, as I humbly recount the thing I should not have done (and will be mindful not to do again).
Have you ever visited a colleague's classroom or watched a video of a lesson and wondered, "How are those kids so perfect? How do they seem to know exactly what to do, the moment the teacher suggests it?" Just like in sports, practice makes perfect. A sports coach puts time and effort into devising game… Continue reading A Game Plan for Writing Workshop Transitions
It's all about the link. Make sure your minilessons link to ongoing work. Link to making choices. Link to all the other minilessons. Link to the charts and resources in the room. Most of all link your minilesson always to problem solving and independence.
Every year, around this time, I start having dreams about setting up my classroom. In the classroom of my dreams, I'm moving around small circular tables, unfurling a brand new rug for the meeting area (the kind with the squares in bright colors), setting up a very large classroom library, and putting labels and color… Continue reading Sharpen Your Workshop Routines: Writing Centers to Organize All Your Materials
It's been several months since I've written for Two Writing Teachers. In December my son was born, and I was on maternity leave until a few weeks ago. Then, in March I pushed aside all excuses and did the Slice of Life Story Challenge. Every day in the month of March I recruited my four year old daughter to tell… Continue reading A Mini-Crash-Course on Oral Storytelling
I think the thing that makes a writer is Habit. Yes, that's habit with a capital H. (I go back and forth between whether it's habit that makes a writer or belief that makes a writer. However, I'm coming to realize that unless you believe you are a writer you won't create a habit to… Continue reading Notebook Routines
The very fist student day of school, Deb Gaby (the reading coach in my school district) and I stumbled upon a meeting between 5th and 6th grade language arts teachers. They were discussing how to help students want to read. Deb and I slipped into the conversation. I was struck because these teachers are quite… Continue reading Book Talkin’
Find out how to bring two classroom routines into the 21st century with QR Codes.
I'm a big advocate for writers to find a space that works best for them. I also think it's important for students to learn to write anywhere. I'm productive as a writer because I have very few needs when it comes to environment. I can write anywhere. I prefer a large block of time with… Continue reading Finding a Space to Write
Interactive Modeling: A Powerful Technique for Teaching Children teaches us how to use interactive modeling to teach a variety of classroom routines, behaviors, and skills in an engaging way that shows students what to do while providing them with a safe space to practice.
At my school, today marks day four for students. We are nearing the end of the honeymoon period. You know what I'm talking about, right? The newness of starting school is wearing off and we're starting to see the real kids behind the new school clothes. So how do we move past the honeymoon and… Continue reading What are they hoping to get?
This week we bought school supplies for our kids. Although there was a list and three excited children, I found it difficult to focus. Instead I was envisioning the possibilities for writing centers. I've come to believe when there is access to supplies, there is access to inspiration. When supplies and inspiration are available, stories,… Continue reading Writing Supplies