mentor author · mentoring · minilesson · student work · writing workshop

Showing a Story

Recently, I taught a minilesson about showing a story. In typical intermediate grade fashion, students were writing stories filled with struggles, but slim on creating a picture in the reader’s mind. My minilesson went like this (and, yes, it was less than 15 minutes!): Share this chart – all of which we’ve discussed in previous… Continue reading Showing a Story

Katherine Bomer · news and announcements · publishing · responsive classroom · student work · writing workshop

Hard Work Should Be Celebrated

Katherine Bomer talked about celebrations this past summer at the TCRWP July Writing Institute. As I was planning my News & Announcements Charts for the upcoming week today, I found myself wanting to write about writing on four out of five of them. You see, I want my students to realize that their hard work… Continue reading Hard Work Should Be Celebrated

letter writing · student work · summer vacation · writing · writing workshop

Flipping My Schedule Upside Down

Today might be one of a handful of times I will ever teaching Writing Workshop after lunch when my kids come back from dance. (I LOVE teaching writing in the morning. When I was in NYC, my principal gave me special permission to do this since we were supposed to teach it in the afternoon.)… Continue reading Flipping My Schedule Upside Down

plan book · reflections · responsive classroom · student work · summer vacation · teacher of writing · units of study · vacation

There Isn’t Time… The Gates Are Closing… Teaching ’til the End…

Next Week: Agh!!!!!!!!!!! Originally uploaded by teachergal Farjeon wrote a poem called "There Isn't Time," which has always resonated with me since I try to multi-task all of the time -- sometimes successfully and sometimes I just don't get everything done. At the end of every school year, because I've got this demented idea that… Continue reading There Isn’t Time… The Gates Are Closing… Teaching ’til the End…

student work · teacher of writing · the persona of a writer · writer's notebook


Literacydetails' Post reminded me of a conversation I had with the student who inspired the SOLSC. He confided in me about a week or so ago. Here's a close approximate of the conversation: I walked into the hallway and saw C standing at his backpack shaking his head. "What's wrong?" I asked. "Ms. Shubitz, I… Continue reading Notebooks

lucy calkins · poetry · student work · units of study

first grade poetry.

I've been working alongside Colette Berg & Melissa Possell in their first grade rooms. We've been having students do a lot of collaboration as they make their first foray into poetry. Last week we taught them one secret of poets -- Poets see ordinary stuff in new ways. Then we make "poet goggles" by ringing… Continue reading first grade poetry.

expository · non-narrative writing · student work · teacher of writing

What if…?

Ruth's post from Thursday got me thinking about how to improve the practice that surrounds the teaching of non-fiction writing. Just how can it get better? What if teachers from across age levels got to together and talked about the expectations across grade levels for what kinds of things kids should know by such-and-such grade?… Continue reading What if…?

friday poetry · poetry · student work


I found some "I Am..." Poems that my two of my students wrote during my second year of teaching (within our Poetry Unit of Study) on my computer this morning when I was searching for what to post today. They're both beautiful poems. I've taken out their names, but their first names begin with K… Continue reading TGIPF — I Am…

drafting · minilesson · publishing · strategy lesson · student work

Checking Drafts BEFORE Publishing

I just began an e-discussion with someone about whether or not teachers should check their students' drafts (i.e., EACH STUDENT'S DRAFT) prior to allowing the kids to move forward and publish their work. We both think the same way: ABSOLUTELY! This absolutely needs to happen in order to ensure that not only is the child… Continue reading Checking Drafts BEFORE Publishing

Davis and Hill · strategies · student work · topics · writer's notebook

They can never say that they don’t know what to write about anymore!

Sample List Originally uploaded by teachergal Encourage your students to keep a list of things they can write about in their writer's notebooks (an idea I took from The No-Nonsense Guide to Teaching Writing by Judy Davis and Sharon E. Hill). Here's a page out of a former student's notebook. You can see the specificity… Continue reading They can never say that they don’t know what to write about anymore!

reflections · student work · the persona of a writer · writing workshop


I asked my students how they've changed as writers from the beginning of the year until now. Here's what a few of them said: In the beginning of the year I was terrible; all I did was rush. Now I'm an amazing writer. My writing flows and creates a sense of understanding. I was a… Continue reading Ch-ch-ch-changes

acrostic poems · poetry · student work

Acrostic Poetry

I did quite a bit with acrostic poetry this year since a huge pet peeve of mine is watching kids write meaningless acrostic poems in their writer's notebooks just for the sake of writing a poem. Many kids don't know what a true acrostic poem looks like, which is why I feel we need to… Continue reading Acrostic Poetry