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A Variety of Share Sessions

Sharing in writing workshop is a powerhouse for producing energy, excitement, and new learning to sustain writers. I’ve always pressed teachers to tap into a variety of share sessions to...

First-Grade Conference: Stretching Writing

Katrina Edwards helps first grader Dylan stretch out his writing with details by having him talk through playing with friends near his home.    

Planning for Small-Group Word Study

When my children first started playing travel sports, I made many mistakes. I forgot pieces of their uniform, I learned that I should always bring swimwear in case there was...

Planning for a Narrative Writing Unit of Study

When we take a vacation to Disney World, our family has almost as much fun planning the trip as we do going on it. Once we decide how we’ll get...

Explaining a Workshop Model to Parents

I frequently sit in on parent-teacher conferences, most often when a student is struggling in class or when a parent is particularly concerned about a child’s progress. In doing so,...

Mentor Texts and Important Reminders

Sometimes when I am working with students, we delve into a mentor text and find so many elements to admire that it becomes overwhelming instead of inspiring. As with so...

Goal-Setting Ideas for Students

As the New Year approaches, my family begins to think about goals. Even though I’m a big believer in goals, I have never been great at setting them on January...

Visual Essays

We had just read a series of short stories in class, and I had intended for my high school students to write an essay comparing and contrasting how a certain...

Teaching Students How to Give Revision Suggestions

I discovered the video Austin’s Butterfly a few years ago through a Twitter post. This amazing video shows the power of a learning community and how learners can grow with...

Using Paired Texts with Beginning Readers

“Have you seen my cat?” read Chloe, a kindergartner, purposefully pointing to each word as she read it. “Wow!” said Bridget, Chloe’s surprised teacher. “How did you know what that...

Creating a Culture of Book Love

Readers are made, not born. Few students spring out of the ground fully formed as readers. They need help, and we cannot assume that they will get it from home,...

Bridging the Gap Between Intervention and the Classroom

It was November, and our first intervention cycle was ending. Teachers had just finished giving their second reading benchmark assessment, and a meeting to go over the data with each...

Mentors for Process and Habits

                            If you are familiar with David Shannon’s book David Goes to School, it is clear that...

Putting the “Gradual” Back into Gradual Release of Responsibility

You know you have heard a great keynote speech when a few lines stay with you months after the conference has ended. This happened for us recently. Doug Fisher was...

Alternatives to Home/School Reading Logs

When I announced to my fourth graders that we would not be having reading logs this year, they breathed a collective sigh of relief, and a whispered chorus of thanks...

Resources for Quick-Writes

Last summer I stumbled across Linda Rief’s book, 100 Quickwrites: Fast and Effective Freewriting Exercises That Build Students’ Confidence, Develop Their Fluency, and Bring Out the Writer in Every Student....

Potato the Crow: Blurring the Lines Between Reality, Fantasy, and Play with Young Learners

One fall day as I strolled through the aisles of the dollar store looking for classroom curriculum, I came across an artificial crow.  It was realistic looking, with feathers over...

Redefining Just-Right Books

Recently a friend, Clara, who is a retired literacy coach, told us a story about a visit to her first-grade grandson Trevor’s classroom. With a long face, she explained that...

Student Learning Targets

I recently came across this comic from Baldo by Cantú and Castellanos via a family member whose hobbies include archery. In the comic, a young girl is using a bow...

Releasing Responsibility

“I see children as kites …” writes Erma Bombeck. “You spend a lifetime trying to get them off the ground. You run with them until you’re both breathless … they...

How Long?

The question I’m most often asked about writing workshop is “How long?” How long does it take to revise, how long is writing workshop, how long is a minilesson? Here...