Dana Murphy

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Dana Murphy has been an educator for 17 years in Illinois. She was an elementary teacher for eight years and coached for nine. Dana is now in a fifth-grade classroom.  Dana wrote for the Two Writing Teachers blog for many years.

Most Recent Content
Building Conversation Skills in Book Clubs

Fifth graders use a visual tool to help them build on each other’s ideas in book clubs. They are applying a strategy demonstrated in an earlier minilesson.

Minilesson: Building Conversations in Book Clubs

Dana Murphy leads a minilesson on book club conversations, using a fishbowl strategy and building blocks to support more sophisticated conversations.

It’s Not You, It’s Me

Dana Murphy has wise words for any coach who wonders why some teachers aren’t welcoming them into their classrooms. Her honesty will help build your patience and trust in the early days of your relationships with teachers.

Writing Endings Minilesson in Fifth Grade

A classic anchor text for many teachers is Charlotte’s Web. In this week’s video, Dana Murphy seamlessly integrates a brief excerpt from it into a writing minilesson on endings in her fifth-grade classroom.

Reinforcing Workshop Norms

In this quick video, Dana Murphy shows how she leads her fifth graders with a kinesthetic reminder of workshop norms before beginning independent work.

Fifth-Grade Small Group: Paragraphs

Dana Murphy meets with a group of fifth graders to help students develop paragraphing skills, using a peer’s mentor text.

Teaching Conventions in Small Groups

Dana Murphy finds it is best to teach conventions in small, targeted groups in her fifth-grade classroom. She explains how she designs and leads these groups.

Writing Share Circle in Fifth Grade

Here are some excerpts from a writing share circle in Dana Murphy’s fifth-grade classroom. Each student shares a one- to two-sentence excerpt from the writing they completed during the day’s workshop.


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