Melanie Meehan is the Elementary Writing and Social Studies Coordinator in Simsbury, Connecticut. She began her educational career over 20 years ago, teaching reading and writing workshops in a self-contained classroom of emotionally deprived students. She stayed home for ten years, serving on the local Board of Education and raising her four daughters, before returning to the classroom. In addition to learning with both students and teachers, Melanie loves to spend time with her family. She has many fictional works in progress and blogs with Melanie Swider at Two Reflective Teachers.
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, 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.
Melanie Meehan considers content and context for students who struggle to master new skills because of a lack of background knowledge.
Melanie Meehan shares questions and reflection prompts to make the "turn and talk" strategy more effective.
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.
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.
Melanie Meehan coaches a fourth-grade teacher who is trying to improve his grammar instruction.
Melanie Meehan uses revision strips to move young writers beyond "I'm done!" and into expanding and editing their writing.
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 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.
Melanie Meehan uses independence bulletin boards to provide students with options when working on their own during units of study.
Melanie Meehan gives three quick management tips for tackling the challenge many teachers face — keeping minilessons short.
Melanie Meehan shares how everything from transitions to clutter can provide clues for how to increase student output and enjoyment.
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.
Melanie Meehan works with a small group to talk through how nonfiction text features might enhance their informational writing.
Melanie Meehan finds that student-designed development cards are a great way to get students invested in literacy goals.
Melanie Meehan shares the value of assessing what students know first, and then tapping into this knowledge in new units.
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.
Melanie Meehan shares four important tips for using mentor texts effectively with students of any age.
Melanie Meehan explains why your own writing, however imperfect it is, might enhance your teaching tremendously.
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.
Melanie Meehan helps elementary students move from narratives to realistic fiction by beginning with “facts” about their fictional characters.
Melanie Meehan shares a wealth of ideas for better goal-setting with students.
Melanie Meehan has tips for keeping students engaged during minilessons.
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.
Melanie Meehan shares strategies and prompts for helping easily distracted young learners focus in conferences.
Melanie Meehan discovers that the spare form of poetry is especially useful for teaching conventions.
Melanie Meehan chats with second-grade teacher Nadia Egan about her ingenious use of table charts to enhance conferences and whole-class instruction.
Melanie Meehan talks with a third-grade teacher about how she helps students focus on craft elements in nonfiction mentor texts.
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