Writing Essentials K-2

This series introduces teachers to the classroom cultures and instructional practices that research suggests are critical to nurturing and developing thoughtful, motivated, and proficient writers.

The series will be an in-depth study designed to increase teacher’s pedagogical content knowledge of teaching writing to K-2 grade students. This offering will help you be prepared to incorporate the new Common Core Standards into your Language Arts program.

Four Essential Steps for Workshops

Formative Assessment Notes from the Classroom

We bought our daughter a new Strider bike for her upcoming birthday. These bikes have no pedals, and they teach kids how to balance and use their bodies to move the bike and steer. The “Learn to Ride Guide” sets out “four essential steps” to ensure your child will ride successfully:

  1. Adjusting the bike properly to fit the child.
  2. Being a cheerleader, not a coach.
  3. Letting the child set the pace.
  4. Supporting the child — NOT the bike!

As a reading and writing workshop teacher, I really fell in love with this guide, as these four essential steps could inform what we do in a workshop classroom.

Adjust the Teaching to Fit the Student

Conferring with kids is basically adjusting your teaching to meet the students where they are.

Using formative assessment tools, like a quick exit ticket, you can adjust your entire lesson. And after looking at class writing samples, you can decide if the majority of students actually need that mini-lesson on punctuation–or if you can move on to something else.

Know When to Cheer and When to Coach

As a literacy teacher, you are so many things at different times, and for different students.   

  • Sometimes you are a coach, honing in on specific skills that your students need and explicitly teaching them, while giving them drills that will help strengthen the skills.
  • Sometimes you are a cheerleader, praising what students are doing well, and lifting them up when they are being too hard on themselves or just not getting it–yet.
  • Sometimes you are a teammate, sharing in the discovery and laughter of the class.  
  • Sometimes you are a spectator, observing in the stands and letting the writing and reading play out.  
  • Sometimes you are the referee, making sure the rules of the workshop classroom are being followed.

Let the Students Set the Pace

There has to be some level of commitment on the part of the student with the work that you do in a classroom. I think this is where choice comes into play.  

Giving students choice about their writing topics, and in the titles or genres they read, allows students to set their own pace. Even giving them options in when assignments are due, or in how they can demonstrate their learning, can help students set their own timetable and be in control of their learning.

Support the Writer and Reader, Not the Writing and Book

Teachers teach children, not content. When you support the student, and the content comes second, you can really make a difference in the life of that student. This doesn’t just mean forming a relationship with each student; it means deciding what they need next in that conference or small group situation.

Each new skill our students and children learn has to be practiced. As teachers and parents we need to be there for our kids–but we also need to know when to take a step back, and let them go it alone. If we keep these four essential steps in mind, we can help kids become independent, skilled writers and readers on the road of life!

Caroline Thompson (@TeacherThompson) taught middle school ELA for twelve years in Lake Orion before becoming a stay-at-home mom. She supports AARI teachers for Oakland Schools as an independent literacy consultant in the areas of digital media, professional development, and non-fiction resources. Caroline is a Reading and Writing Workshop advocate, a 2008 Oakland Writing Project Teacher Consultant, and a 2009 Oakland County Outstanding Teacher of the Year Nominee. She has a BA in English from Michigan State University and a Masters in the Art of Teaching Reading from Oakland University. She lives in Berkley, Michigan with her husband and their three year old daughter.

Peers: The Best Writing Coaches?

Notes from the Classroom

shutterstock_507176578In my first post, I described some writing problems that surfaced in my AP US History classroom, as well as my new plan to implement a peer-to-peer space where they could be addressed. The space is called HerodotusHive and it fits into my wider writing program. So far this year, I’ve worked with former students to set up HerodotusHive, and we’ve even had a few sessions. Below I describe the process I went through to create this new learning space.

Mentor Historians Onboard

As explained in my first post, the idea for HerodotusHive started last year when Corey, a former student, offered to help my current students. Now I needed to reach out to more Coreys.

In September I made a list of APUSH alumni (now juniors and seniors) who were strong writers and had potential to be good mentors. I had invitations delivered to 47 students. I was thrilled to see that 38 came to hear my pitch and signed on.

Not every moment of a teacher’s year is one for the storybooks—trust me, I know—but it was incredibly heartening to see the number of former students who came to listen and then said, “Yeah, sounds good. Let’s get started.” I had a deep roster of Mentor Historians in place, ready to help.

Now I needed to share these plans with my current students and get some buy-in. From Day 1 I stressed the importance of adopting a growth mindset. Since APUSH became a 10th Grade course, I noticed many students were increasingly grade focused in the wrong ways. I stepped up on my soapbox and urged them to ditch the question, “What can I do to bring up my grade?” and encouraged them to think in terms of “How can I write better thesis statements?” So when I pitched HerodotusHive to my classes, I explained that we can all get better at writing, implying this was not a program solely for struggling students. And to their great credit, they listened. For our first HerodotusHive, almost half of my 65 APUSH students attended.

What Happens at HerodotusHive?

During my pitches to former and current students, I explained that a HerodotusHive would focus on a featured skill, like the writing of introductions. I then shared the agenda so they had an idea of what they were signing onto:

1. We review the featured skill in a flipped lecture I have recorded (and posted to Google Classroom as a resource). It’s essential for a HerodotusHive to start here. As skilled as my Mentor Historians are, they still need to review what it is I’m asking my current students to do. My current students had seen this once in class and now they’re reviewing what’s needed to write at a high level.

2. Mentor Historians share little insights on how they had success performing this skill.

3. I then post a practice question on the screen and break my current students into groups where Mentor Historians will be there to help.

4. Current students work through the writing task as Mentor Historians help, and I circulate to support and answer some content questions.

Peer Instruction At the Core

At the core of HerodotusHive is a belief that mentor-writers can help developing writers. I’ve studied the work of Eric Mazur, a Harvard physics professor, who explains why this is important:

For more Mazur, you can watch the entire interview and read a feature article. One thing worth noting is that he undersells his value as a teacher in the learning process. Note that he created the space to learn and that he is still lecturing, but the mini-lectures are just more purposeful.

My takeaway is that there are indeed strategic moments in the development of a writer when I, the teacher, am not the best person to help them. And I’m OK with that. Students learn plenty from me about writing, but we know that as teachers we aren’t the only source of learning. Nor should we want to be.

If we set aside the subject matter, the premise of Mazur’s peer-instruction model is that strong students can help developing students. I know it’s transferable because I’ve used the method in AP US History when we work with difficult political cartoons and in my economics classes for supply/demand graphing. In both cases I witnessed little epiphanies across the room as kids now understood something they hadn’t just seconds before.

However, like in physics, these two examples involve right and wrong answers. Writing is different, so as I designed HerodotusHive over the summer, an open question in my mind was whether or not peer instruction would yield the same magic here. In my next post I’ll share early results. Spoiler alert: It’s no longer an open question.

unnamedRod Franchi (@thehistorychase) is in his 21st year teaching Social Studies at Novi High School. He did his undergraduate work at Albion College and the University of Michigan, and earned an M.A. in English at Wayne State University and an M.A. in History Education at the University of Michigan. Having served as an education leader at the school, district, county, and state levels, Rod now works as AP US History Consultant and AP US History Mentor for the College Board. He is also Co-Director of the Novi AP Summer Institute and is an Attending Teacher in the University of Michigan’s Rounds Program.

A Better Plan: HerodotusHive

Notes from the Classroom

shutterstock_160526231One of the cool things about teaching is that each year is a new season. After all the reflecting and conversations about what worked and what didn’t, we get to design new plans and start fresh in September.

Of course, sometimes what seemed a brilliant idea in August proves to be a clunker by January. But as long as more new plans stick than not, we’re improving, right?

A Problem

Last year I felt there was something missing from my writing program and began thinking about an overhaul.

I teach a lot of writing—confirmed recently in an overheard student conversation—but I don’t teach English. At least I don’t anymore. I just started my 21st year at Novi High School and my 16th year teaching AP U.S. History. Sixty percent of our exam is writing, plus writing is a good thing, so we write.

AP U.S. History is now almost exclusively a 10th grade course here. This means it’s the students’ first AP course, one that is designed to approximate a college freshman experience. Here, students find that they must learn 500 years of connected content, and make sense of it all through analytical writing.

Most adapt and grow. But last year, more than a couple stalled out somewhere along the way. The transition was too much.

Revisiting Assessments

Around the same time I started thinking about what an overhaul would look like, a former AP student, Corey, came to me offering to help current students. This was the spark I needed. I started to wonder if there was a way I could use seasoned veterans to help my current kids. 

As I thought about the kids who stalled out last year, I started asking myself some questions. I also bugged some of my awesome colleagues.

Is our summative assessment too late for problems to surface—especially if it’s a specific skill students will need later? And if students learn something from the summative results: what do they do then? They have the standing offer to “come in for help,” but what if there were a program in place they could come to?

In the second semester I started piloting a new approach.

A Better Plan: HerodotusHive

herodotos_met_91-8That spark from Corey’s offer helped me come up with a new plan. I’m calling it HerodotusHive.

Herodotus is Greek—or I should say he was Greek. He was Greek a long time ago. We nerdy historians bow to Herodotus because he was the first to write analysis: trying to explain why things happened. Since my course’s writing is all about analysis, it’s a match.

The other half (hive) represents what I hope the program becomes: a busy hive where students come together to create. HerodotusHive is a place where Student Historians (current students) come during our Academic Advisory period to get better at their craft. There we start by reviewing a specific writing skill together, and then Mentor Historians (veteran students) help Student Historians as they work through new history problems.

At an AP U.S. History Summer Institute this year, a teacher referred to the AP’s five-point score scale, when he made the point that the truest measure of our talents as teachers is whether we can move the ones and twos up to threes and fours. I agree.

I think I can do a better job at this, and am hoping that I can help all of my students raise their games. So HerodotusHive is the biggest of my new plans this year. A month into the new school year, I’ve laid the groundwork. Here on this blog, I will chronicle the story of HerodotusHive and see if the writing in May goes from good to something better than good. I’ll even let you know if this idea turns out to be a clunker by January. However it turns out, I expect to learn a lot along the way. In my next post I’ll get into the details of how HerodotusHive works.

unnamedRod Franchi (@thehistorychase) is in his 21st year teaching Social Studies at Novi High School. He did his undergraduate work at Albion College and the University of Michigan, and earned an M.A. in English at Wayne State University and an M.A. in History Education at the University of Michigan. Having served as an education leader at the school, district, county, and state levels, Rod now works as AP US History Consultant and AP US History Mentor for the College Board. He is also Co-Director of the Novi AP Summer Institute and is an Attending Teacher in the University of Michigan’s Rounds Program.

My Classroom, My Museum

Notes from the Classroom Oakland Writing Project

shutterstock_396724789The last days of summer are ripe for a frantic, spontaneous trip to Washington, D.C. We’ve visited before, because my sister lives there; but what was different this time, was that we have a vivacious three-year-old. We had never seen monuments as deserted as we had at 7:30 in the morning.

After our third day at the National Museum of Natural History, I realized that I was noticing things that I hadn’t in the days past, and I was surprised to find I was still learning new things. And this got me to thinking – how could I make my classroom more like a Smithsonian museum?

Independent Learning

Museums foster independent learning. My daughter really enjoyed roaming around and looking at things at her own pace. How might I have more interesting information at the ready, in my classroom? What could I have up or around in my room to help self-directed learning happen more? (Even the plants outside the museums are labeled with the scientific names.) How might I leverage technology to help me provide some interesting sites that students could look at on their own?

Ideas:

  • Museum-like placards in books or around the classroom library, inviting readers into different genres or books or author tid-bits.
  • QR-Codes around the room with links to different websites that promote collaborative writingreadingauthor sitesself-publishingNaNoWriMo, or other cool new wonderings.
  • Have interesting quotes or information around the room that I change and update — or put students in charge of the alteration.shutterstock_233608252

Sparking Curiosity

What happens when I press this button? What is around the corner in that dark, spooky hallway? Who are those people in white lab coats behind the glass looking through microscopes?

The questions and wonderings of my preschooler were endless! What kinds of things will grab the attention of my middle school students? Could I have up different questions, artwork, or inventions that tie into my units of study somehow? What visuals or puzzles could I have up that contribute to students’ knowledge of what we are studying in each unit, or are just plain word-fun?

Ideas:

  • Hang Harris Burdick photos — or other strange images or objects (estate sale finds) — with a poetry or sentence starter.
  • Hang a Pro/Con stance that students could consider or debate, in writing or verbally, at the end of each class or week.
  • Always have a different copy of a word puzzle or brain teaser up for students to look at or work on.

Different Levels of Knowledge

My husband, daughter, and I all enjoyed our time at the museum. We each left with a different knowledge base than we had before. Visuals and audio were more important to my daughter’s learning. Words and graphs spoke more to my husband and me.

In class, what metaphors would fit well when trying to explain different parts of a unit?

Ideas:

  • shutterstock_258415694Rethink mini-lesson charts to include drawings and visual component.
  • Flip mini-lessons so that they are available online for homework viewing. Maybe have an interactive piece to them – or offer them as a supplement for students who need more time to process or think through the material.
  • Use music, video, popular culture more in quick writes with students.

Increase Engagement

From picture boards with red buttons to press, to digital display screens, to real-live bugs you can touch, my three-year-old was really enjoying all of the interactive features of a museum. That had me wondering: In my classroom, what could I have hanging from the ceiling? What spaces in my room, where students congregated, could house some unique, hands-on aspects of literacy? How might I make my bulletin boards more engaging?

Ideas:

  • Create a graffiti wall of favorite lines from books that students have read.
  • Rethink bulletin boards to always include some level of interactivity. Maybe include an extension into technology – like six-word memoir bulletin board with special hashtags.
  • Offer different writing implements from past ages that kids could touch or use.

I know that museums have bigger budgets — and larger sources of information and more people working for them. But I can still try to harness the power of a good museum. I just need to think about what questions or visuals will challenge and engage my students, present lots of different viewpoints and interesting ideas that they might want to talk or write about, and be innovative in how I represent these things in my classroom.

IMG_8096Caroline Thompson (@TeacherThompson) taught middle school ELA for twelve years in Lake Orion before becoming a stay-at-home mom. She supports AARI teachers for Oakland Schools as an independent literacy consultant in the areas of digital media, professional development, and non-fiction resources. Caroline is a Reading and Writing Workshop advocate, a 2008 Oakland Writing Project Teacher Consultant, and a 2009 Oakland County Outstanding Teacher of the Year Nominee. She has a BA in English from Michigan State University and a Masters in the Art of Teaching Reading from Oakland University. She lives in Berkley, Michigan with her husband and their three year old daughter.

 

Extraordinary Learning for All

Notes from the Classroom Oakland Writing Project

teacher_Joseph“Every child is born a genius, but is swiftly degeniused by unwitting humans and/or physically unfavorable environmental factors.”
– Buckminster Fuller

When I entered Todd Bloch’s science class, in Woods Middle School, I was immediately captivated by the high energy and dynamic learning environment. Students were so involved in hands-on, minds-on learning that I found myself yearning to sit right down and join them.

The 6th graders were motivated by the chance to get messy as they learned about changing states of matter, by mixing corn starch and water to make oobleck, the mythical substance of Dr. Seuss fame. All the kids were fully engaged in a way that enabled them to feel the changing states of matter, not just intellectualize them.

In a nearby 7th grade science class, students used their choice of media to depict mitosis in animal cells. The opportunity to access their preferred learning modality–whether text based, visual or musical–afforded kids the opportunity to represent content in exciting ways. Students showcased their design skills through comic book creation, or their lyrical talents through rap. Again, it was evident that students were accessing the content in ways that resonated best with them, and enabled them to display their learning both creatively and thoughtfully.

As I spent the day at the school, I was keenly aware of Buckminster Fuller’s principle of geniuses. By the end of the afternoon I realized that this school brims with the kind of engaged teaching and learning that recognizes the genius inherent in every child.

Accessing Genius in Every Child

girl2_JosephAs a career reading and writing teacher, I was utterly impressed by the students in a writing workshop who were taking turns sharing personal narrative pieces in their weekly author’s chair. These students were extraordinary in their passionate writing and dynamic storytelling. The fact that they all had very significant learning differences made me realize that with effective, dedicated instruction, their voices can be heard as easily as those of students in a regular education setting.

All children are born geniuses. All children.

I was struck with the realization that everyone has stories to tell and that everyone’s voice matters. A highlight came when one of the students asked me to read his story aloud for him. Initially I hesitated, as I’d never met this child before. My first instinct was to reply, “Me? Are you sure you want me to read it?” Instead, I took a breath and said, “Sure, I’d be happy to!”

I read that boy’s story with enthusiasm and passion in a way that pleased both him and his classmates, based on the wide smiles on their faces. It was one of the best parts of my entire day. I was humbled by the enthusiasm the students displayed as they listened intently, with great joy. I left the room overwhelmed.

I am confident that at Warren Woods Middle School, students are motivated, uplifted, and above all else, valued for who they are and what they bring to their learning environments each day. Their myriad intelligences are valued and employed. They are able to demonstrate and live their geniuses.

rick josephRick Joseph is a National Board Certified Teacher and has taught 5/6 grade at Covington School in the Birmingham Public School district since 2003. Prior, he served as a bilingual educator and trainer for nine years in the Chicago Public Schools. Rick is thrilled to serve as the 2016 Michigan Teacher of the Year. Through Superhero Training Academy, Rick’s students have created a superhero identity to uplift the communities where they learn and live.

Immersion Grades K-5

writing 3-5REGISTER: Grades K-2   Grades 3-5

Grade Levels: K-5

Description: The purpose of the immersion phase is to help students develop a thorough understanding of the type of text they will be writing. The goal is to move students from explorers of the text type to writers of it. This two day series will support teachers with how to assist K-5 students in developing a greater understanding of: a) the definition and purpose of each text type, b) characteristics of each type, c) how these texts tend to go, and d) author’s craftsmanship. Additionally, criteria for selecting K-5 mentor text and effective instructional strategies will be shared. Immersion will elevate your writing program to a whole new level!!

SCECHs: Pending

Intended Audience: ELA Teachers,Special Educators, Anxillary Staff, Grades K-5

Date and Time: K-2 (2/1/18 & 3/27/18), 3-5 (3/20/18 & 5/1/18)

Presenter: Dr. Sandy Biondo

Contact Person: Michele Farah    michele.farah@oakland.k12.mi.us

 

The Value of Connecting with Students

Notes from the Classroom Oakland Writing Project

shutterstock_128750762At the start of school, I had a plan for connecting to the students in my classes. I would start by connecting on a personal level, so that they would be open to growing as readers and writers on a professional level.

On the first day of school, I greeted each student at the door of my classroom. They thought nothing of it, since it is a pretty typical structure for many teachers’ first day of class. Then, I continued to greet every student, every day, every hour, as they entered my classroom. Then they started to take notice. Students began greeting me in the hallway and when they entered class. They stopped, smiled, and responded.

I didn’t stop there, though. In the first few days, my next step was to connect to each student personally. 

While students were setting up notebooks and working on classroom tasks, I spoke to each student, inquiring about things they liked to do, or something about them that they wanted to tell me. A student cleverly called these “interviews.” I smiled at this observation, but I knew that I was affecting students, because they felt like their turn was valuable and something to look forward to.

Over several days, I learned that one of my students is an avid sailor. Another is a horseback rider. I have students with siblings, and students who are pet lovers, sports enthusiasts, or guitarists. As I conducted these conversations, I jotted quick notes about these individual prides. The notes allow me to refer to these topics in the future, as I continue to build the connections or suggest writing topics and book themes.

My personal connections with students also support our writing conferences. Students see that these conferences are about growing as writers. They also see that they can choose to take a suggestion, and they can guide the way a conference unfolds with suggestions of their own. As the conferences shift to holistic moves for writers, students are now open to these conversations and open to reworking their writing. I found that conferences proceeded more efficiently and effectively because I had already interacted with each student before sitting at their desk with them. Theyshutterstock_186008123 realized that I was as willing to help with their work as I was to greet each of them at the door.

After each conference, students compare their previous work to their current work. Students name their shifting moves as writers, and then they evaluate the quality of their new work. What is important, too, is that following up with students after a writing conference shows that I value the work that they are doing, and it further forges the connection that I’m making with them.

Proof from an Email

Other than my observations, how did I know that this strategy was working?

Students were working on a narrative writing structure that we’ll grow and use all year. An email from a student said:

I finished my “Slice of Life” last week, but I have a question just to make sure about something. My topic that I am writing about is when my aunt and I went to an ice cream place. So, should I write about us at the ice cream place or when she picked me up from school, dropped my sister off somewhere, going to the market, and then going to the ice cream place? My overall question is, should I zoom in on that one moment (at the ice cream place) or include all the other details (getting picked up from school, dropping my sister off, going to the market, then going to ice cream place).

This email, which was sent outside school time, shows that this writer is using workshop language. She is also inquiring about how she can make a written piece better, even though it is already finished. I smiled as I responded and praised her, saying, “A good writerly question.”

This was just one benefit from my decision to make purposeful and deliberate connections to students at the beginning of the year. And I’m sure I’ll continue to see the fruits of this decision all year long.

pic 2Amy Gurney is an 8th grade Language Arts teacher for Bloomfield Hills School District. She was a facilitator for the release of the MAISA units of study. She has studied, researched, and practiced reading and writing workshop through Oakland Schools, The Teacher’s College, and action research projects. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Education at Central Michigan University and a Master’s in Educational Administration at Michigan State University.

The Tumblr Experiment, Part 3: Blogging as Formative Assessment

Literacy & Technology Notes from the Classroom Oakland Writing Project

This is part 3 in a series. Parts 1 and 2 explored the in-class use of Tumblr, a blogging platform, as an exercise in writing for an authentic audience. You can read part 1 and part 2 online.

tumblr-logoAs the Tumblr experiment progresses, I’m faced with a difficult question about evaluation and feedbackWhat is a good measure of a writer’s success?

The answer, I believe, lies in whether a writer has achieved his or her purpose. This approach forces my students to really think about what they’re trying to accomplish. Yes, I get the obvious student response: “Trying to get an A.” But as we move deeper into the experiment, I’m finding that students are beginning to see other possible purposes. Tumblr is a space in which they can deliberately pursue an idea in writing. It’s also a place to take risks, both in what we think and how we want to write. Still, how do I encourage risks in writing without promoting ones that appeal to me?

This isn’t easy territory for evaluation.

I want this to be formative, but I don’t want my students to write for me or for points. At the same time, I do want them to know that I’m watching, steering us toward writing a solid essay. That said, the essay is really just one aspect of this larger project, whose goal is to produce authentic writing and voices, while developing rhetorical dexterity. 

Screen shot 2015-02-03 at 8.01.59 PM

A Good Exchange

Using their blogs as a lens on the class, we discuss what kind of writing students are noticing–reblogs and responses–and bring that back to the classroom, where we can talk about why certain posts are creating more action than others. We’ve begun to notice that success often comes down to the writer’s awareness of audience. One student, for example, blogged about a piece of music and was rewarded with a lot of attention and discussion. When we talked about it in class, the writer said that he knew that his friends liked music, and he was betting that if he could draw them in, he’d draw others with the same interest as well.

You can picture me clapping my hands, because isn’t this exactly how real writers–really anyone who produces any kind of product–think? 

The students were all good writers. But as we talked through their writing choices, it became clear that some of these writers valued their own choices over those that appealed to their Tumblr audiences. Some prefered not to “cater” to the audience. This led to a discussion of different rhetorical moves that might attract a different audience–or alienate an audience.

For me, the real value lies in the conversation about purposes–whether, as writers, they’re achieving their purposes. That’s the rhetorical triangle in action, with real consequences.

Screen shot 2015-02-03 at 7.35.51 PM

As a formative task, this works to let me see how we’re doing without being intrusive. Is what I think I’m teaching actually sticking to my students? Did it show up in the writing? If it is, great, but if not, I can see it before the essays come in, make adjustments, and revisit topics. We’ve talked technique and SOAPs and audience, of course, but always as an abstraction, very rarely as a practical “thing” we do as writers, choices we make on purpose. It’s this pivot from abstraction to “real” that’s important with the Tumblr experiment.

By moving students students out of the static model of traditional instruction, and into an environment that has entirely new and changing demands, I’m looking for a way to change them from people who write for me into people who write more authentically. The feedback that they’re getting from their audience–each other and me–is more valuable because it’s authentic, connected to their own goals as writers, and is rewarded by people whose opinions they value–each other, not just me.

 

RICKRick Kreinbring teaches English at Avondale High School in Auburn Hills, Michigan. His current assignments include teaching AP Language and Composition and AP Literature and Composition. He is a member of a statewide research project through the Michigan Teachers as Researchers Collaborative partnered with the MSU Writing in Digital Environments Program, which concentrates on improving student writing and peer feedback. Rick has presented at the National Advanced Placement Convention and the National Council of Teachers of English Conference. He is in his twenty-third year of teaching and makes his home in Huntington Woods.

Penny Kittle – Literacy Webinar

Revision: the Heart of Writing

Thursday, March 3, 2016    7-9pm EST (optional discussion 8-9pm)
recording    Google Doc with all links

WriteBesideThemIt’s a no-fail zone: the writing notebook. Notebooks anchor the daily work in my classroom and lead students to improve voice and clarity in their writing. Renowned author and literacy advocate Penny Kittle will lead us in exploring how to use quick writes, re-reading, and revision to motivate students to invest more in their writing. Breathe life into your writing workshop with notebooks for gathering, thinking, and finding important things to write about.

Follow up this webinar by attending Penny’s face to face workshop at Wayne RESA on April 8


Recommended Reading: Write Beside Them: Risk, Voice, and Clarity in High School Writing

kittle copyAs a professional development coordinator for the Conway, New Hampshire, School District, Penny Kittle acts as a K-12 literacy coach and directs new teacher mentoring. In addition, she teaches writing at Conway’s Kennett High School and in the summer Literacy Institutes at the University of New Hampshire. Penny is the author of five books with Heinemann—Book Love: Developing Depth, Stamina, and Passion in Adolescent Readers (2013), Write Beside Them: Risk, Voice, and Clarity in High School Writing (2008) which won the 2009 James N. Britton Award from NCTE, Inside Writing (2005), coauthor (with Thomas Newkirk) of Children Want to Write (2013) and coauthor (with Donald H. Graves) of The Greatest Catch (2005) and Public Teaching(2003)—and she is a Heinemann Professional Development Provider.