My third graders are wrapping up their unit on personal essay. While some have grasped the structure and have articulated reasons and examples to support their argument, others have struggled to understand the concept of an essay. I want to take some time to think about what went right when teaching this unit and where the breakdowns occurred.
This video, narrated by Brene Brown, has been viewed over 7,000,000 times. Empathy is more complicated than its twin sister, sympathy. Empathy is a challenge for a lot of people–not just kids. The great… Continue reading
Once we teach students about goals and the importance of them in our lives, we can use the accompanying language in all aspects of their, and our own, learning.
I took a deep breath and paused a long pregnant pause. My next words needed to be just right.
Writing is a stalwart act. Through writing, we express ourselves, uncover feelings, tell our stories, organize our schedules, share our beliefs, and change our world. To some students (and even adults) writing can seem like a monumental task and writing may feel cumbersome. But when you think of the necessity of writing in our lives, writing is unavoidable.
Sometimes we write to clarify our thinking or record a moment so it won’t be lost in our memories. Other times we write to entertain, inform, or instruct. Recently, many of us have… Continue reading
I believe in writing. I believe that the more you write, the more you discover your own thoughts and ideas. Your voice grows stronger. You become more fluent. Writing becomes a part of who you are, how you see the world, how you process your thoughts, how you communicate effectively with others. It is not enough for students to just write during writing workshop. Writing needs to be woven into the fabric of the day, across subject areas, in ways that are meaningful and authentic for students.
Someone once told me: You can’t write well about something you don’t care about. One day, I listened in on two first grade partners, Jennifer and Marco, sharing their pieces of writing. I stood… Continue reading
It’s often difficult for children to see themselves as change-makers. Writing and processing small or big ideas can help children see that their voices can be powerful guides for change, even if the change is simply making someone’s day.
This week, my TWT colleagues and I are writing about the importance of authentic purpose to writers. We all agree that our students will benefit from having strong voices, clear messages, and wide… Continue reading
5 My father used to say, “February is the longest month.” But really, we know it isn’t. Thankfully we can look forward to the Tenth Annual March Slice of Life Story Challenge!… Continue reading
Ever wish you could have all the best strategies from your favorite writing teachers in one place? Atwell, Fletcher, Ray, Calkins, Heard and more are among the many hat tips in Jen Serravallo’s newest publication, THE WRITING STRATEGIES BOOK. Come take a look at how Jen expertly weaves her own expertise and ideas along with tried and true favorites from the best of the best.
Yesterday, first graders celebrated Halfway day at my school. It it hard to believe we are halfway through the school year. And yet, when I am in writing workshop classrooms, I see much… Continue reading
With so many (and ever changing) options at our fingertips, I want my students to learn how to control the tools. We have a motto in our room, “If the tool is telling you what to do, you aren’t in charge of your learning. You tell the tool what to do!”
Welcome to the Tuesday Slice of Life Story Challenge!
Already, NCTE seems like a long time ago. However, as I reread my notes and think about some of the lasting learning, I have more to share! Vocabulary Matters was a great session!
There are many things we can’t control in the classroom: the amount of time we have, the number of students, the size (and sometimes temperature) of the classroom space. But one thing we can control is the language we use that conveys choice, versus language that conveys assignment.
Teaching students to have a growth mindset and truly understand what happens as they learn has been a big goal for me this year. Over the winter break, a book re-sparked my thinking and how I needed to more intentionally equate our mindset to our process as writers.
It’s Tuesday again! Time to share your slice of life.
Will you be willing to roll out the Welcome Wagon for our new Slicers this March?