By Lynne R. Dorfman
We can’t just hunt for errors; we need to celebrate what we are doing right.
– Jeff Anderson
After reading both of Jeff Anderson’s books, Everyday Editing and Mechanically Inclined, I started to think deeply about the concept of showing students what is right instead of asking them to correct what is wrong. Jeff focuses on correctness, asking students to look at mentor sentences and passages in the books they are reading including textbooks and independent reads. His “Express-Lane” editing system is inviting for students and provides a meaning-based process to help students proofread their writing and shape their own writing. As Jeff cautions us, checklists aren’t always meaningful – students simply check off the items on the list.
So how do you get students to engage in editing to reinforce the habit of becoming the first and last editor of their own work in order to communicate clearly and effectively? Read more
By Janice Ewing
My career path has led from secondary English teacher to elementary school reading specialist and literacy coach to my current position as a graduate-level instructor for teachers in a reading specialist certification program. Over the past few years, I’ve become increasingly interested in the needs of adult learners. Here is my top ten list of necessary elements that need to be in place for grad students to move forward. Top ten lists tend to be presented in reverse order, but I decided to start with my number one priority and go from there. Read more
By Lynne R. Dorfman
Kate Roberts, Maggie B. Roberts, and Chris Lehman engaged a rather large audience in their interactive workshop session about close reading texts and close reading lives at the 103rd Annual NCTE Convention in Boston. They gave us some practical advice and helped us define close reading in terms of what it should not be and what it could be. Read more
By Jolene Borgese
I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe people come in and out of our lives for a reason and a few stick around forever. I am most curious about the people who come in and out our lives and then return years later. I haven’t figured out the reason, but I suspect I never will.
This semester I have been teaching graduate school and presenting professional development (for the Pennsylvania Writing and Literature Project) at two very different schools. There seems to be an invisible thread running through all these very different teachers I’ve met. They are young, old, privileged, struggling, working at stellar schools, and schools that lack sufficient books. All of these teachers have a common need that I had first addressed 30 some years ago – writing instruction strategies, specifically revision strategies. Read more
by Tricia Ebarvia
Conferring with students can be exhausting. Sometimes a single conference can take 10-15 minutes, and if you have 100+ students, conferring is also incredibly time consuming. Time spent conferring with students is time away from whole class instruction, curricular planning, and much-needed grading. But feedback from conferring is invaluable. When I was in the Writing Institute two years ago, I emailed Penny Kittle for some advice. I was struggling with how to fit all the elements of the workshop model outlined in her book Write Beside Them. When I mentioned reducing time for conferring, her response was unequivocal. “Conferring is our most powerful teaching time,” she responded. “Everyone learns best in the context of their own writing piece, so we have to work it into practice.”
Still, time is always the issue. Read more
by Gaetan Pappalardo
The writing workshop is fluid. The currents and tides are in constant motion (literally and figuratively) because it’s fueled by the human element. I’m not going to lie. It’s a mess. I know this sounds like a headache. It certainly can be, but kids need this “mess” to find the gold. Barry Lane, author, speaker, and musician, states in his book, But How Do you Teach Writing?, that real writing needs time, space, and freedom. Read more