6-Traits On-Site Professional Learning

6-Traits On-Site Professional Learning

On-Site Learning  |  On-Demand Videos  |  Online Courses  |  Workshops

6-Traits Training with Kristina Smekens

Customized school-based professional learning

At Smekens Education, our consultants are committed to sharing ideas and concepts that are grounded in current educational research. But what makes us unique is that we spend most of our time showing teachers how to apply the research through practical, classroom-tested strategies. Our consultants are known for providing teachers with the tools and motivation they need to impact instruction right away.

Launching and managing a writer's workshop

This popular in-service provides teachers with a road map for teaching writing during the first six weeks of the school year. Teachers learn how to start up their writer’s workshop with procedures for building writer independence, tools for managing the environment, resources to introduce the 6 Traits of Writing, and more.

Understanding the 6 Traits of Writing

This session outlines the six researched ingredients of all good writing— ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, and conventions. During this session, teachers see the traits come alive in student writing samples and are able to draw connections between the traits and the College and Career-Ready Standards.

Assessing writing in 6-Traits classrooms

Whether teachers have used writing rubrics for years or never heard of the "R” word, this workshop reveals how to incorporate rubrics into the writing classroom. Teachers will learn how to create "kid-friendly” rubrics, revise the rubrics as writers grow, convert writing scores to grades, and use the scores to drive future mini-lesson instruction.

Weaving trait-based writing skills within various units

This professional learning guides K-12 teachers through the planning of a yearlong writing curriculum that is anchored in the 6 Traits of Writing. Teachers will learn a framework for developing trait-based units that target the significant writing skills per genre, while incorporating exemplars, assessments, and the writing process.

Teaching constructed-response writing skills explicitly

Students need explicit instruction on how to write a well-developed, text-dependent, short-answer response. With these specific skills, the likelihood for success on state assessments skyrockets. This session helps cultivate constructed-response skills by outlining a step-by-step process for incorporating four key components.

Achieving the argumentative writing standard

There are subtle but significant differences between opinion, persuasive, and argumentative writing. This professional learning zeroes in on those differences and provides teachers with grade-specific strategies for incorporating effective argumentative writing activities into all K-12 classrooms.
Courtney Gordon on-site 6-Traits training

Delivering dynamic mini-lessons in writing

Everyone says they teach "mini-lessons,” but what are they really? During this workshop, teachers learn the four steps of a powerful writing mini-lesson and how to execute those steps within a 10-15 minute whole-class presentation. Beyond delivery of the lesson, teachers also learn how to identify priority writing skills to teach per grade level.

Preparing students for state writing assessments

If you want to raise test scores in writing, students have to "nail the prompt.” In other words, kids need to pull together all that they know about writing and apply it in one sitting and under the pressure of a ticking clock. In this powerful session, teachers in grades 3–12 learn what skills to focus on for prompt-writing assessments and how to target those skills using mini-lessons throughout the year.

Guiding students through the Writing Process

This workshop reveals proven strategies for implementing the writing process with success in any grade. Teachers learn how to improve instruction and troubleshoot key writer weaknesses by addressing pre-writing, drafting, revising, self-editing, and publishing while they discover the key traits involved with each step of the process.

Immersing students in reciprocal reading and writing units

Literacy instruction is strengthened when students learn how reading and writing are reciprocal. Planning that intentionally by incorporating complementary skills in both areas increases the likelihood of students mastering skills. Learn how to identify reciprocal skills and how to plan genre units of study with parallel reading and writing mini-lessons.
Kristi McCullough on-site 6-Traits professional learning classroom mini-lesson

Modeling of effective reading and writing mini-lessons

It’s one thing to hear about delivering effective mini-lessons. What teachers really want is to see an effective mini-lesson modeled with real students in a live classroom setting. With this professional learning model, teachers observe as a Smekens Education consultant conducts a 10-15 minute reading or writing lesson addressing a skill of the teacher’s choice. Following the lesson model, observing teachers debrief with the consultant for a few moments to share observations, ask questions, and discuss what skills would be taught next. NOTE: Teachers can slate the day’s schedule to include numerous lesson models conducted back-to-back in order to increase the quantity of lessons teachers can observe in one day.

Why schools choose Smekens Education

Customized Professional Learning
Our experienced team of literacy consultants start by working with administrators to nail down the specific needs. From there, we help craft a professional learning and implementation plan that moves the school or district toward achieving its professional development goals.
With on-site professional learning from Smekens Education, schools and districts can provide professional development for an entire staff spending substantially less than it would cost to send large groups of teachers to a conference. Depending on the consultant and travel required, most one-day plans cost less than $2,000.
Classroom Modeling
We understand that teachers are more likely to embrace new strategies if they can see them in action. That’s why we view classroom modeling as an essential role for our consultants. During our on-site visits, we welcome the opportunity to model concepts and strategies with real kids in "live” classrooms.
All Aboard
It is powerful for all teachers to learn new concepts and applications firsthand. They then share in the understanding and enthusiasm that results from on-site professional learning. With everyone on the same page, speaking the same language, staffs can move forward at the same pace.
Ongoing Support
Authentic professional development can only occur with ongoing learning and support. That’s why our consultants routinely invite on-site participants to stay in contact via email. Teachers place great value in the free feedback they receive from our consultants on their questions, challenges, and celebrations as they experiment with new strategies.

Meet Our Literacy Consultants

Kristina Smekens

Teachers feel empowered and encouraged after working with Kristina. She is an expert at developing practical ways for K-12 teachers to apply research-based literacy strategies.
Learn More About Kristina | Email Kristina

  Courtney Gordon

Known both for her enthusiasm and expertise, Courtney is a dynamic presenter whose practical strategies resonate with teachers across the K-12 spectrum.
Learn More About Courtney | Email Courtney

  Kristi McCullough

A passion for teaching and learning is what drives Kristi, who consistently leaves teachers both excited and well-equipped to apply new literacy ideas in their PK-6 classrooms.
Learn More About Kristi | Email Kristi