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Creating an On-Demand Writing Checklist

On-demand writing can be a stressful assessment task for students, but it does mimic the type of writing many adults face in their professional lives. Tara Barnett and Kate Mills work with students to create an on-demand writing checklist.

The Ins and Outs of Using a Jot Lot

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills use a jot lot to turn students’ notes on their learning into instructional plans and assessment.

Setting Weekly Goals

Tara Barnett and Kate Mills share the process of helping students set weekly goals and then reflect on their progress every Friday.

Quick Take: Evolving Beliefs About Goals

Gigi McAllister gives a brief explanation of how her thinking on goal setting has changed, as well as the ways she uses student goals to connect with parents.

The Daily Record

Mark Levine uses the “daily record” to encourage reflection throughout each day’s workshop in his social studies classroom.

Tracking Student Goals

Carly Ullmer transfers a messy goal-setting protocol to her seventh graders, and in the process finds they take on more accountability for individual success.

Minilesson: Measurable Reading Goals in Fourth Grade

Gigi McAllister has her fourth graders consider what makes a reading goal measurable.

Goal-Setting Ideas for Students

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

Quick Reading Reflection in First Grade

Bitsy Parks has her first graders complete a quick reading reflection before a share session early in the school year.

Student (and Teacher) Risk-Taking

Carly Ullmer ponders what it means to take risks in her middle school classroom as she and her students experiment with different response options.

How to Keep Conferring Notes

Ruth Ayres shares her grid notes sheet, and takes teachers step-by-step through the process of using this assessment tool in conferences and instruction.

Finding Clues in Writing Folders

Katrina Edwards looks for clues in her first-grade students’ work and conferences to help them develop more writing stamina. She analyzes her notes to develop instructional plans.

Beginnings, Middles, and Endings: The Power of Baseline Assessments

Carly Ullmer shares how much her seventh-grade students learn from examining their own growth as writers with baseline, midpoint, and final assessments throughout the year.

The Value of Pre-Assessment

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

Fostering Thinking Through Play

Katie DiCesare repurposes materials for her first graders to play with, and finds that encouraging play early in the year is a great tool for building reflection skills.

Writing for Reflection at the End of the Year

Katherine Sokolowski reflects on ways to extend the learning from an end-of-year activity all the way to the fall.

End-of-the-Year Reflection

Melanie Meehan shares a series of thoughtful questions to help students reflect on their process as writers, and what they need as they move into the summer and new classrooms.

Choosing and Refining Student Goals

Katie DiCesare shares the process of having her first graders choose their literacy goals, and her role in helping them refine goals through observation and conferring.

Revising Weekly Reflections

Katherine Sokolowski revises the weekly reflection form her fifth graders use to ensure everyone is tracking goals, progress, and expectations.
 

Temporary Strategies

Clare Landrigan confers with a student and discovers that a tool designed to help the reader is actually hindering her learning. The experience causes her to reflect on the need for flexibility when matching strategy scaffolds to young readers.

Observations and Test Preparation

Christopher Carlson takes on the role of observer and researcher to analyze his students' needs when it comes to test-taking skills, and enlists students in the process of reflecting on his data to implement new test-taking strategies.

Student Self-Assessment Strategies

Melanie Meehan works with fifth graders to help them create their own set of indicators of success in a writing unit.

Tests of Time

This vivid new poem from Shirley McPhillips, explores the disconnect between exams and life.

What’s a Great Workshop Day?

Mary Lee Hahn  considers how the success of any day has to integrate observations from conferring, lessons, and share sessions.

Planning and the Tuesday Effect

Mary Lee Hahn realizes how much a workshop approach has changed her planning process and comfort level with the unexpected.

Getting Creative with Writing Celebrations

Celebrations are the pause that refreshes between writing units for many teachers. Melanie Meehan shares suggestions for creative celebrations.

Growing Toward Independence

Cathy Mere shares what to look for and what to try next with young learners who are easily distracted and struggling to concentrate during independent reading.

Alternatives to Home/School Reading Logs

There may be few literacy homework assignments more despised by families than the dreaded reading log. Gigi McAllister proposes some alternatives, and explains how she keeps families in the loop on reading progress.

Core Memories and Gotcha Moments

Jennifer Schwanke explains why pop quizzes can be damaging to students by using a pop culture reference.

Unstable Labels: Stop the Race to Z

Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris consider the insignificance of what levels convey about young readers.

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