academic choice · choice · middle school · process · units of study

Designing Writing Units Where Students Choose the Product

Many of today’s students crave choice, freedom, and the excitement of exploring something new. This year, as you prepare to roll out your writing units, you may also want to reconsider the level of constraints within each unit. How and when might you invite students to choose the product that best fits their personal preference and intended audience?

assessment · process · reflections · writing process · writing workshop

Three Ways to Exalt Process for Young Writers

My litmus test for the work we do in the classroom pivots on an understanding that collecting one's own ideas and practicing ways to communicate them will serve students outside classroom walls. And it is with that framing in mind - with children reflecting on their journeys, in carefully selecting the language I use, and in sharing feedback on growth as opposed to the final alone- that I hope to continually communicate the importance of process over product. 

agency · process · student engagement · writer identity · writing process · writing workshop · writing workshop routines

Mining the Moments Between Minilesson and Work Time

In those quick moments between minilesson and work time, as writers are settling in (or not), I pay attention to what is—the current reality. I seek leverage points to both know writers better and to support writers in continuing to grow. Over time, I notice as more and more writers find the processes and strategies that work for them.

month-long planning · plan · process · process log · writing process · writing workshop

Personal Writing Calendars for Each Student

With a personal writing calendar, each kid can see what is going to happen in the unit of study, and has the power to adjust it.

curriculum planning · process · writing workshop

Three Ways To Increase Instructional Clarity

Teaching is an art, and sometimes tweaks don't work as we hope or envision. However, I hope that these three ideas do increase the clarity of instruction in ways that help all students learn to be independent confident writers.

drafting · notebooks · process · revision · writer's notebook · Writer's Notebook Wednesday · writing process · writing workshop

When to Pop Out of the Notebook

As much as I LOVE notebooks, even I have to admit there is a time in every writer's process when it is time to pop out of the notebook and onto a laptop or lined paper.

drafting · editing · growth mindset · independent writing · mistakes · notebooks · process · publishing · revision · risk-taking · routines · writers · writing · writing process · writing workshop

An Eraser-Free Workshop and the Language We Use for Talking About It

When I visit a classroom, one of the first things I often say to kids is, "Today, please don't erase. I want to see ALL the great work you are doing as a writer. When you erase, your work disappears!" Often, this is what kids are accustomed to and they continue working away. But sometimes, kids stare at me as if I've got two heads.