Tag: teaching

Feedback is important (and I mess up sometimes)

In the first post in this series, I was thinking about the feedback I give student writers. That leads me to another big observation: sometimes I mess up, perhaps even bad enough to set a kid back a little. Learn more about two conversations with students that I’d like to redo.

Writing as a way of life

I was everything in those stories that I thought I couldn’t be in real life: a sassy smart aleck with an uncanny ability to insult and/or shame all those who wronged me in any way. I also wrote letters to my mom (my frequent antagonist) and then tore them into tiny undetectable pieces and threw them away. I suppose it was always about the process of writing for me, about how I felt after writing, not about publishing my end products.

I have lived (and write about it)

Notebook entry about trip to hair salon

I am honored to be a contributor to a blog that I love, Sharing Our Notebooks curated by children’s author and teacher Amy Ludwig VanDerwater. I have given writing teachers a quick peek inside my notebooks in the past, but with Amy’s blog as inspiration, this time I am baring entries that fed the works closest to my heart.

Conferring with young writers

Originally published in April 2015 and updated this month, teacher/consultant Mary Roderique and I offer five quick reminders and how-tos for conferring in writing workshop.

Notebook strategies to help generate and revise poems

Here are five notebook strategies that can support your poetry unit. They also fit or could be adapted to other units of study. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to teach the same notebook strategy in multiple units—that demonstrates how valuable the strategy is across genres, subject matter, audiences, purposes, etc.

Endings: What Can You Teach?

To me, endings are all about the take-away. What do you want readers to know, feel, do, think or wonder about after they finish reading your story? You can’t write an ending until you decide that.

Beginnings: 3 Examples (and Why They Work)

After my post about “Beginnings, Middles and Ends” a few weeks ago, a teacher-friend reached out to me. “When I tell students I want them to work on ‘the beginning,’ I don’t mean all that rising action you mentioned,” she said. “I am talking about much simpler stuff. I just want them to write an…

Link

I recently helped judge a story writing contest, and one of the criteria on the assessment form I was provided was: Does the story have a beginning, middle and end? As I began reading the entries, I quickly discovered that this was not useful assessment criteria.

Read more here.

Written for the Indiana Partnership for Young Writers

4 Craft Strategies to Notice in THE LEAVING MORNING (and Why)

The best touchstone texts are sophisticated enough to work across multiple grade and comprehension levels. One of the first—and still one of the most frequent—touchstone texts that I used was THE LEAVING MORNING by Angela Johnson. Here are just a few of the brilliant craft strategies my students and I have discovered in it:

How to Read a Poem

Readers and writers have strong – and disparate – opinions about the “right” way to read a poem. Worse yet, there’s wide disagreement among accomplished and highly educated poets, too. There’s really only one point we all agree on—poems are meant to be read aloud. Beyond that, it gets dicey, but here are some things to consider.