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The Importance of Correct Examples

Melanie Meehan explains why it is important to mentor students who are struggling with correct examples, and why she cautions writing teachers to avoid “find the mistakes” exercises.

When Students Set Intentions

When students set intentions, reflection and celebration go hand in hand. Melanie Meehan explains how teachers can help students become more explicit about intentions with practical cues from bulletin boards and index cards.

Content and Context

Melanie Meehan considers content and context for students who struggle to master new skills because of a lack of background knowledge.

Improving Turn-and-Talks

Melanie Meehan shares questions and reflection prompts to make the "turn and talk" strategy more effective.

Looking Forward with Students

Melanie Meehan uses reflective questions and video to build a library of materials at the end of the year to use with next year's class.

Backward Chaining

How do you help students who are far behind their classmates in tackling writing projects, and have had years of learned helplessness in approaching complex tasks? Melanie Meehan takes on the challenge with a backward-chaining model.

Grammar Instruction in Fourth Grade

Melanie Meehan coaches a fourth-grade teacher who is trying to improve his grammar instruction.

Inspiring Students to Revise

Melanie Meehan uses revision strips to move young writers beyond "I'm done!" and into expanding and editing their writing.

Questioning Within Read Alouds

Melanie Meehan looks at the issue of engagement through the lens of student questions during read alouds, and shares a strategy to provoke more thoughtful student participation.

Asking Students to Grade Themselves

Asking students to assess and grade their own work cements learning and deepens understanding for many students, but only if it is done in a thoughtful, collaborative way. Melanie Meehan takes you step-by-step through the process in a fifth-grade classroom.

Bulletin Board of Independence

Melanie Meehan uses independence bulletin boards to provide students with options when working on their own during units of study.

Keeping Minilessons Short

Melanie Meehan gives three quick management tips for tackling the challenge many teachers face — keeping minilessons short.

More Productive Writing Workshops

Melanie Meehan shares how everything from transitions to clutter can provide clues for how to increase student output and enjoyment.
 

Tools for Striving Writers

Sometimes a student just. won't. write. Melanie Meehan shares her favorite tools in her bag of tricks to get the pencil or pen moving across the page.

Exploring Text Features

Melanie Meehan works with a small group to talk through how nonfiction text features might enhance their informational writing.

Student-Designed Development Cards

Melanie Meehan finds that student-designed development cards are a great way to get students invested in literacy goals.

Tapping into What Students Know

Melanie Meehan shares the value of assessing what students know first, and then tapping into this knowledge in new units.

Assessing Instruction in the Midst

Melanie Meehan shares some ways teachers can press the pause button in the midst of teaching to assess whether they are teaching the right lesson at the right time.

Mentor Texts and Important Reminders

Melanie Meehan shares four important tips for using mentor texts effectively with students of any age.

Teachers Who Write

Melanie Meehan explains why your own writing, however imperfect it is, might enhance your teaching tremendously.

Teaching Students to Start at the Right Place

Melanie Meehan uses focus questions for teaching students to start at the right place in their writing, moving them beyond the bed-to-bed stories that plague so many literacy workshops.

Getting the Ball Rolling in a Realistic Fiction Unit

Melanie Meehan helps elementary students move from narratives to realistic fiction by beginning with “facts” about their fictional characters.

Goal-Setting Ideas for Students

Melanie Meehan shares a wealth of ideas for better goal-setting with students.

Increasing Student Engagement During Minilessons

Melanie Meehan has tips for keeping students engaged during minilessons.

Why I Don’t Like Erasers

Melanie Meehan explains why erasers can be problematic in writing workshops, beyond just eliminating the ability of teachers to see the progression of revisions in a young writer's work.

The Importance of Their Words

Melanie Meehan shares strategies and prompts for helping easily distracted young learners focus in conferences.

Teaching Punctuation with Poetry

Melanie Meehan discovers that the spare form of poetry is especially useful for teaching conventions.

Table Charts in Second Grade

Melanie Meehan chats with second-grade teacher Nadia Egan about her ingenious use of table charts to enhance conferences and whole-class instruction.

Mentor Texts for Crafting Nonfiction

Melanie Meehan talks with a third-grade teacher about how she helps students focus on craft elements in nonfiction mentor texts.

The Value of Pre-Assessment

Melanie Meehan explains why a baseline assessment at the start of any writing unit is well worth the time.

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