informational writing · stories · writer's notebook · writing workshop

Starting with Story

I recently had the pleasure of attending the 25th Annual Comprehensive Literacy and Reading Recovery Conference in Illinois.  One of the sessions I attended was led by the brilliant and endearing Christopher Lehman.  His session centered around using our stories to generate topics for information writing.  It is a unique approach to a genre that can sometimes feel… Continue reading Starting with Story

classroom · education · independent writing · literacy · lucy calkins · noticings · plan · precise language · procedures · prompts · routines · scaffolding charts · scheduling · shared writing · speech · stories · storytelling · Teachers College · vocabulary · writing workshop

A Mini-Crash-Course on Oral Storytelling

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

presentations · professional development · public education · reflections · stories

I Didn’t Expect…

As many of you know, I've been a busy girl this week. I was at Judson University's Literacy in Motion conference on Wednesday speaking about my work with celebrations. Then yesterday I was the opening keynote for the All-Write Summer Institute. Today Patrick Allen (author of Conferring: The Keystone of Reader's Workshop) and I are… Continue reading I Didn’t Expect…

holiday · Read Aloud · stories

Happy Chanukah + a Book Giveaway

There are no shortage of books on Chanukah.  Despite the fact that Chanukah is not one of the major Jewish holidays, there are lots of books, some of which aren't so good, written about the holiday.  I suppose it's because Chanukah almost always begins in December and sometimes overlaps with Christmas (like it does this… Continue reading Happy Chanukah + a Book Giveaway

community · NCTE · Read Aloud · Slice of Life Story Challenge · stories

Stories are essential to our lives.

Yesterday afternoon I attended the Elementary Section Get-Together at the Chicago Hilton. The get-togethers are always fun to attend since they provide me with the opportunity to catch up with people like Karen Caine, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, and Franki Sibberson who I only get to see in-person at NCTE. In addition, attending the get-together gives… Continue reading Stories are essential to our lives.

primary grades · reflective practice · stories · storytelling · writing workshop


One of the ways Martha Horn suggests launching workshop is to spend a significant amount of time steeping the workshop in storytelling. In fact, she suggests every child tell a story aloud to the entire class. She shares this approach along with Mary Ellen Giacobbe in their book Talking, Drawing, Writing (Stenhouse, 2007). She also… Continue reading Storytelling

fiction · narrative · quote · small moment · stories

Stories Matter

“If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.” —Barry Lopez Stories matter.  A lot. Here are some reasons why . . . Stories help us reflect on life and understand where we've been… Continue reading Stories Matter

standards · stories · storytelling · writing

Storytelling Helps Kids in Many Ways and Meets the Standards!

To date, 37 states and the District of Columbia have voluntarily adopted the Common Core State Standards.  Many teachers of writing are nervous about the adoption of the  Standards since there is a fear that students will mostly be writing non-narrative pieces.  While this fear isn't unfounded,we have to remember the Standards are a guide… Continue reading Storytelling Helps Kids in Many Ways and Meets the Standards!

guest blogger · stories

Listen Like a Writer: A Guest Blog Post by Annie Campbell

Annie Campbell is a third grade teacher in Richmond, Virginia.  She keeps a blog, Write Now in Room 204, which is a place for her to share her class's daily experiences along with her reflections about teaching. “Tell us a story,” my sister and I would say to my father at bedtime. “And make it… Continue reading Listen Like a Writer: A Guest Blog Post by Annie Campbell

stories · writer's notebook

Share Your Story

Stories are as unique as the people who tell them, and the best stories are those in which the ending is a surprise. At least, that's what Travis Parker recalled his dad telling him when he was a child. Travis remembered the way his dad would sit on the bed beside him, his mouth curling… Continue reading Share Your Story