Dana Murphy has been an educator for 17 years in Illinois. She was an elementary teacher for eight years and coached for nine. Dana is now in a fifth-grade classroom. Dana wrote for the Two Writing Teachers blog for many years.
Dana Murphy develops a love-hate relationship with the faded anchor charts peeling away from her classroom walls. She finds a move to anchor charts in a sketchbook and a website for chart images improves the quality of her charts and their usefulness.
Dana Murphy finds that adding numbers of pages to her status-of-the-class list for reading makes all the difference in assessing students’ growth and needs as readers.
Class promises, rules, and norms—most teachers set them at the start of the year. But how can we make sure students live them? Dana Murphy shares some tips from her fifth-grade classroom.
Dana Murphy looks at homework from the twin perspectives of mom and teacher, and finds she hates it from both views.
So many needs for groups, and so little time. Dana Murphy finds that a strategy notebook is invaluable as a teaching aid in her fifth-grade small groups.
Dana Murphy discovers that what works for one student doesn’t work for another when it comes to note-taking. She provides options and then hosts a gallery walk so everyone can discover what works best for them.
Dana Murphy is dismayed by the ways graphic organizers can sometimes limit student creativity. She uses writing notebooks and a few other strategies to begin to wean her fourth graders from depending too much on organizers.
One way to keep your instruction fresh in a required writing unit is to take on the tasks and topics yourself. Dana Murphy finds completing the assignments herself is well worth her time, and gives her a treasure trove of notebook entries to use in her conferring.
Dana Murphy considers how teachers can make writing workshop routines more cozy and like writing at home.
When it comes to conferring notes, form needs to follow function. Dana Murphy quit looking for the perfect template, and started focusing on what kinds of notes are most helpful.
Dana Murphy realizes the best way to introduce students to reading in kindergarten is to apply the principles that work at home with her own children.
Early January is a great time for relationship resets in classroom communities. Dana Murphy finds community building activities may be more helpful than just a review of classroom rules and norms.
Dana Murphy explains why teachers can have true empathy with student writers only if they write themselves, and chronicles the difference between a typical and an empathetic response in a writing conference.
Dana Murphy tries sketchnoting during professional development, and soon finds herself sharing the fun technique with students. They hone their skills during read alouds and while annotating texts.
Dana Murphy concludes her series on getting to know writers with an activity on responding to quotes. This activity is a great baseline for gauging attitudes and previous experiences early in the year.
Dana Murphy continues her series on getting to know writers early in the year. In this installment, she explains how to use a simple six-question survey to help teachers and students explore differences in writing routines and habits.
Dana Murphy writes about the litmus tests we give writing teachers to analyze whether or not they are teaching the "right" way, when we might better serve students by focusing on the six truths of writing.
Dana Murphy considers the differences between authentic writing processes and what we teach in schools.
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