Six Ways to Keep the Energy of Writer’s Notebooks Alive All Year Long

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You spent the first couple months of the school year helping students understand their lives are significant, their stories are worth recording, and their notebooks are the place to make all of that happen. What’s next now that it’s November?

Whose Notebook is it Anyway? Notebooks as a Writer’s Tool

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Encouraging engagement with notebooks means we may need to get out of the way. The notebook should always feel like it belongs to the writer.

Overview: Notebooks as a Writer’s Tool Blog Series

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Though the topic of this series is notebooks, the spotlight of each of our posts shines on writers. Our goal is to foster the kind of writers who, at any age, habitually collect ideas. Writer’s notebooks can most certainly become a powerful tool for this.

Writing on a Snow Day

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Matthew Cordell’s new picture book provides inspiration for kids to CHOOSE to write when they’re snowed-in during the winter. Read through my Q&A with Cordell to start thinking about how you could encourage your students to decide to write when they’re homebound this winter.
After you read the Q&A, leave a comment on this blog post for the chance to win a copy of King Alice.

Writing Conferences: What to Do When a Writer Doesn’t Say Much?

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When conferring with a writer, our big aim is to engage in a meaningful conversation with the student about his or her writing.  An individual writing conference is likely the single most effective way for a teacher to help move a writer forward. But many times, even with our best intentions and attempts at “training” students how to converse during a conference, the student will sometimes say something curt, like, “Good.”  Or, “It’s fine.”  Silence.  That’s it.  That’s all they have to say. What to do?  Fear not!  Conferring Carl suggests six strategies to help teachers address this situation…

A License to Write: Giving Ownership to the Writer

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I am a writer and a teacher of writing. I have experienced the pivotal role ownership has on my writing and my willingness to write. As teachers of writing, we have the opportunity to give the students in our classrooms the license of ownership over their writing.

SOL Tuesday

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Our systems face significant shock from August to September. After long days, little sleep, and almost no time to recharge, I told myself, “It’s only temporary. I’ll find balance in October.”  Well, October… Continue reading

The Writing Process for Perfectionists

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To put it simply, the writing process can be excruciating for our perfectionists. If we aren’t careful, we can unintentionally curb the enthusiasm of a writer who leans toward perfection.

Thoughtful Third Grader: Building Relationships Through Writing

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Making some time and space in the day to celebrate a student each week has enriched my class as readers, writers, and human beings. How do you use writing to lift up the students in your class? 

How To Send Student Writing Home With Intent

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The way we send student writing home sends big messages to families and writers.

How a Portable Word Wall Can Help Your Students with Spelling

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Do you differentiate your students’ spelling lists by giving them personal spelling words? If so, you can take those lists a step further by providing them with portable word walls for their writing folder and/or for at-home use.

SOL Tuesday

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WRITE a slice of life story on your own blog.
SHARE a link to your post in the comments section.
GIVE comments to at least three other SOL bloggers.

Continuing to Think About Google Forms

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I am so grateful to have this resource available to me as an educator at no cost. Maybe someday, I’ll get to thank whoever is behind the Google Curtain in person. In the meantime, I’ll share what’s been working and I’ll look forward to hearing about how some of you end up doing it even better!

A Quick Way to Deal with Bibliographies for Elementary School Writers

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Have your upper elementary school students spent lots of time creating a reference list? Free up the time spent on making a reference list perfect by using an online citation tool.

Different Ways to Use Checklists in Writing Workshop

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Student-facing checklists can be a powerful tool.  While rubrics are helpful for teachers, checklists are helpful for students.  Checklists can serve to provide clear targets for writers as they strive to craft pieces of writing. But what might be different ways to use them in your writing workshop? Read to find out…

Exposing, Sharing, & Connecting: Helping Writers See Why We Write

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When we know the purpose or the why in our work we work intentionally. As teachers, knowing our writers are working with intention allows us to trust the students. With trust, we can step back and allow students to make the decisions about their writing.

SOL Tuesday

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I’ve been having a fear, lately, of forgetting. Forgetting words from kids, from colleagues, from friends that moved me. Forgetting big moments of growth, change, empathy. Forgetting artifacts of learning. I fear I… Continue reading

Synthesizing: The Step Between Research and Writing

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Synthesizing is that step we can’t skip when teaching our writers to craft research writing. It is within the wait time between the research and the writing that students gain their best understandings. Here are five strategies to help your writers fill that wait time with meaningful ways to get their gears in motion in a mixing of new thinking.

Out of the Classroom and Into the World: Workshop by Katherine Schulten

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What are the educational issues calling your name? How can you use writing to share about your teaching experiences?  A Long Island Writing Project workshop, facilitated by Katherine Schulten, inspired me to keep sharing my teaching stories.

Three Reasons Spelling Lessons Aren’t Transferring into Writing Workshop–and What You Can Do

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The same kids who are successful with spelling patterns during word study time are sometimes not applying that spelling pattern to their independent writing. Why?