Category Archive: writing workshop

Units of Study That Go On Forever: Solving Predictable Problems

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It’s happened to ever teacher. We start out strong, with enthusiasm. We think: This unit is going to be GREAT! This is is exactly what my kids need! This unit is our favorite!  But then, five weeks, six weeks, seven weeks (!!) later you and the kids are completely sick of the writing you’ve been doing–just like a favorite recipe that you’ve become burnt out on.

STUDENT AGENCY: SOLVING PREDICTABLE PROBLEMS BLOG SERIES

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I stepped back and put my kids in front of their learning about six years ago.  It has changed how I teach and deepened my respect for students and who they are as individuals.

Engaging Writers: Solving Predictable Problems

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If we want engaged writers, and not simply compliant students going through the motions and counting the minutes until writing time is over, we need to find ways to capture their attention and their hearts.

Transferring skills from unit to unit: Solving Predictable Problems Blog Series

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When one of my daughters was switching from playing soccer to playing field hockey, we had several conversations about the similar skills each sport required. It didn’t take us long to figure out… Continue reading

Overview: Solving Predictable Problems Blog Series

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Once fall arrives, most writing workshops are well underway. Depending on when your school year started, you’re likely teaching your second or third unit of study. Most of you are probably prepping for… Continue reading

Narrative Writing Makes a Beautiful Gift

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 The students wrapped their writing in an array of wrapping paper, and they left my classroom eager to share their gifts – the gift of words.

Teaching Digital Tools in Writing Workshop: Plan, Purpose, Model

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By blending the choice of digital tools into our lessons, we are showing students how they can purposefully use devices and keep the thinking where it belongs, on the writing, not the tool.

Keeping Narrative Alive

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By the middle of October, many students in our district are nearing the end of their first writing unit, and in almost all grades, that first writing unit has a narrative focus. Students… Continue reading

National Day on Writing: Last Minute Ideas!

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It’s not too late to plan a celebration of National Day on Writing. NCTE celebrates on this day each year the importance and most of all the delight that writing can bring to our lives using #WhyIWrite as a common theme. Take a look at some quick ideas to get your celebration rolling if you didn’t set a plan in motion for this special day.

OLW Check In

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What was your OLW and how did it treat you so far this year?

Sticky Notes, Arrows, and Margins, Oh My!

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Sharing strategies to prepare for revision later can set up students for success.

What Are They Looking At? Tackling Slow Starters

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Helping students take back their writing time when they are a slow starter.

It’s Not All About Blog: The Work Before The Blog

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Take the first step together; write, read, and comment on blogs as a class.  These first steps will help your students learn the feel and expectations of a blogging community.

Providing Ladders of Expectations

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All writers learn from studying each other’s writing.

Make Your Teaching Vivid: Show, Don’t Tell

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You are probably familiar with the writing move SHOW, DON’T TELL. However, do you recognize its potential as a teaching move? Enjoy the start of two journeys with two students who are seeing their potential unfold.

Powerful Punctuation!

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Punctuation is a pesky problem. Third grade students often forget their punctuation, writing an entire story without a single period in sight. As I launched writing workshop this year, I’ve been looking for ways to show my students that punctuation can add voice and meaning to their piece of writing.

An Invitation to Make Writing That Matters

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Teaching writing isn’t easy. We can get lost in all that needs “fixing” in our students’ work, lost in the standards and district curriculum maps, lost in the products we need to hang on a wall for a display. We find our way when our WHY is nearest to our hearts: Why do our students need to write well? How will writing play a role in their lives? How will writing make their lives more meaningful? What matters the most when it comes to teaching young writers?

Blending Instruction: The One Stop Meeting Space

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With the easel at my left (I am right handed), document camera, computer or iPad on my right, and a swivel chair all my tools are at my fingertips! There’s no need to move across the room to see the screen or make an adjustment to my technology.  The students and I have access to everything in one space.   This one-stop meeting space allows the students to maintain focus on the learning and not the tools. 

Offering Choice in the Planning Process

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As in all aspects of writing workshop, students should have choice in their planning process.

Fault Lines in the Constitution: A Review, Five Tips, + Giveaway!

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This new book by Cynthia and Sanford Levinson is a treasure trove of information as well as a handy example of many elements of inspiring nonfiction writing.