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Celebrating with Fan Fiction

When I first thought about introducing students to the idea of fan fiction, I wasn’t sure how it would go. I was afraid of copying. I was afraid of shallow...

What Are You Celebrating Today?

A Shift in Celebration Writers asked that the lights remain off as they worked in the presence of our twinkly string lights. Instrumental music danced through the air as pencils...

Tips for Creating Shared-Writing Texts Online

Let’s face it: When we work with emergent readers online, it is hard to get enough texts into their hands. Yes, we can use online texts from Rivet.com or other...

Class Books Build Readers, Writers, and Community

During morning arrival a student came up to me and shared that her family had gotten a new cat over the weekend. I responded with the excitement that a new...

Writing Joy: A Publishing Celebration

End-of-unit celebrations are a norm in a writing workshop, but as the year progresses, I find that I can make the publishing process be the celebration!  In my class I...

Four Notebook Pages to Scaffold Persuasive Writing

“I’ve got that issue, too!” Max exclaimed, and jotted dogs in the skate park on the next line on a page in his writing notebook.  “Those dogs are running all...

Developing a Scholarly Voice

Many students use a casual voice in formal writing. Christy Rush-Levine shares how to help student writers understand and develop a scholarly tone. Planning Resources Click here to download the...

Field Notes: 6 Ways to Respond Remotely to Build a Community of Writers

I’m joining Jen Vincent’s seventh-grade language arts class in a school outside of Chicago. Her students meet remotely, and I accepted Jen’s invitation to observe her writing workshop. Rarely will...

Choice Boards for Writing Workshop

One of the things we love the most about writing workshop is that it builds independence in students. When implemented as intended, writing workshop invites student writers to make choices...

Writing Work Plans

As writers, we’ve all experienced that moment when intentions for writing don’t produce any actual writing. If we feel the pressure of where to start, what to focus on, or...

Troubleshooting Difficulties When Writing a Big Idea in Memoir

Looking at a piece of student writing and trying to decide what to teach can feel overwhelming. However, within a genre, predictable difficulties appear. When we teach our sixth-grade memoir...

Making Something Together: Shared Writing Online

Teaching emergent readers online brings a few new challenges. In the middle of listening to a student reading a book, I hear, “Wait, I’ll be right back.” Before I can...

It’s Not Wrong. It’s Almost Right.

As I was reflecting this summer about returning to the classroom, my mind wandered to spelling. I shunned the 20-word pretest on Monday with results mirrored on Friday’s “real” test,...

Using Humor to Teach Language Standards

Upon first exposure, language standards don’t seem to offer many opportunities for play and laughter. Punctuation and conventions? Not terribly funny. Parts of speech? Important but pretty serious. But maybe...

Preparing for Book Club Discussions

“When do we start book clubs?” “Who’s in my book club?” Book clubs are a much anticipated and loved part of our literacy curriculum. Most of our kids love the...

See Your Students

I saw the widely acclaimed author Jason Reynolds at Nerd Camp in Michigan. He delighted the participants with a story about his childhood. He told us about an event called...

Varying Workshop Structures to Meet Student Needs

I just feel like I have so many students who need help. I end up sitting with just a few students and never see the rest.  There’s never time for...

Sparking Ideas for Realistic Fiction

When we ask our young writers to come up with ideas for realistic fiction, we start by immersing them in stories about how real authors come up with their ideas....

Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Accountability for Young Writers

“I don’t remember how to do that!” “We talked about this before. How we can make our characters come alive by adding conversations in our writing? Or using speech bubbles...

Student Ownership of Literary Analysis

I am a longtime fan of the reality television competition Project Runway. My favorite part of the show is when the judges critique the fashion designs, sharing their expert opinions...

Getting Students in the Learning Zone

Many times when I meet with teachers, our conversations wend their way to the struggle of engaging students in their own learning. “They expect us to unscrew their heads and...