Writing Remix | Chicago, IL

Writing Remix | Chicago, IL

Smekens Education Writing Remix 2-Day Workshop
 
For more than a decade, Kristina Smekens and her consulting team of Courtney Gordon and Kristi McCullough have been sharing practical, best-practice methods for teaching writing.

Now, for the first time, the Smekens trio will lead a two-day conference featuring 25 unique breakout sessions that focus exclusively on writing strategies for K-12 teachers.

 
Whether you've attended previous workshops or are new to Smekens, this conference will allow you access to trainings that will provide you with a launchpad for super-charging your writing instruction.

DAY 1


Six-Traits Essentials
Recognize the 6 Traits within K-12 Student Writing

Recognize the 6 Traits within K-12 Student Writing

Participants will walk away with a strong understanding of what each trait looks like in a variety of grade levels and writing genres. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of a writing allows teachers to target their instruction and provide specific assessment feedback.

Session 1: 8:00-9:10 a.m.
Presenter: Kristina Smekens
Audience: K-12 / ELL
Also offered: Day 2 | Session 1 | 8:00-9:10 a.m.


Get Started with the 6 Traits of Writing

Get Started with the 6 Traits of Writing

With a quick review of the 6 Traits, this session reveals several ways to introduce the trait language to your students using mentor text, song lyrics, and visual icons. It answers questions like How long do you spend on each trait? In what order should you introduce them? What do you do after reading a related picture book? Leave this session with a clear vision for how you could introduce the traits to your own students.

Session 2: 9:30-10:30 a.m.
Presenter: Kristi McCullough
Audience: K-12 / ELL


Create Writing Rubrics in the Primary Grades

Create Writing Rubrics in the Primary Grades

Students need a tool that defines "good" writing and identifies what the teacher wants. Rubrics accomplish this. However, a rubric must be kid-friendly. Five-year-olds and/or ELLs have to be able to "read" it. This session will reveal strategies to create and grow a rubric with students that is visual and includes simple language that our youngest writers understand.

Session 3: 10:50-11:50 a.m.
Presenter: Courtney Gordon
Audience: PK-1 / ELL

Prioritize your Trait-Based Instruction

Prioritize your Trait-Based Instruction

This session will outline the differences between the essential traits and the gravy traits. When planning unit instruction, lessons to teach first, and/or what to assess, teachers should put their initial emphasis on the three "trump" traits. Participants will leave with numerous lesson concepts to target ideas, organization, and conventions.
Session 4: 1:00-2:00 p.m.
Presenter: Kristina Smekens
Audience: K-12 / ELL

Assess Writing with a 6-Traits Rubric

Assess Writing with a 6-Traits Rubric

Whether teachers have utilized writing rubrics for years or never heard of the "R" word, this session will reveal how simply rubrics can be incorporated in the writing classroom. Additionally, teachers will learn how to create "kid-friendly" rubrics, how to revise the rubric as writers grow, and how to convert writing scores to grades.

Session 5: 2:20-3:20 p.m.
Presenter: Courtney Gordon
Audience: 2-12 / ELL


Writer's Workshop Management
Fit the Writer's Workshop into your Elementary Schedule

Fit the Writer's Workshop into your Elementary Schedule

How often should students be writing? How long should students write at a time? What do I do when students are writing? This session begins with an explanation of the three facets of the writer's workshop, including defining the teacher and student roles in the mini-lesson, writing time, and author's chair. Learn various options for fitting writing into the daily schedule of a self-contained classroom.

Session 1: 8:00-9:10 a.m.
Presenter: Kristi McCullough
Audience: K-6 Self-Contained Classroom Teachers

Integrate the Workshop into a Single Class Period

Integrate the Workshop into a Single Class Period

For those who are teaching both reading and writing in a short class period, scheduling writing in can be a serious juggling act. Ideally, teachers should instruct on reading and writing every single day. However, this often causes more frustration. This session will reveal options for fitting writing in each day during a workshop and/or bell-ringer strategy.

Session 2: 9:30-10:30 a.m.
Presenter: Kristina Smekens
Audience: Departmentalized / Secondary ELA, ELL Teachers

Confer with Writers

Confer with Writers

Meeting with every writer every day is a daunting task. Try group conferencing as a way to touch base with more students more frequently. This session will outline the four-step rhythm to such an efficient teacher-writer meeting. In addition, acquire examples of trait-based feedback, sample forms for documentation, and a procedure for peer\buddy conferences.

Session 3: 10:50-11:50 a.m.
Presenter: Kristina Smekens
Audience: K-12 / ELL

Revitalize the Writing Process

Revitalize the Writing Process

Students need to participate in the writing process routinely. However, this doesn't always have to be a long and arduous progression from pre-writing to publishing. Learn how the writing process can be executed in one sitting or across multiple days. Learn how the publishing standards should vary depending on whether it's a strong first draft or a solid final draft. And, learn how the 6 Traits fit within the steps of the writing process.

Session 4: 1:00-2:00 p.m.
Presenter: Courtney Gordon
Audience: K-12 / ELL

Foster Independent Writers

Foster Independent Writers

Teachers struggle to keep their writers focused and on task during in-class writing time. This session offers practical strategies for handling the "I'm Done" writer and the student who always asks how to spell words. Walk out the door with several routines and procedures that will build writer stamina and independence.

Session 5: 2:20-3:20 p.m.
Presenter: Kristi McCullough
Audience: K-12 / ELL
Also offered: Day 2 | Session 2 | 9:30-10:30 a.m.


Text-Based Responses
Strengthen Students' Understanding of Textual Evidence

Strengthen Students' Understanding of Textual Evidence

This session troubleshoots the four errors that plague students' answers to text-based questions. Their written responses may lack evidence, include made-up evidence, provide just a detail, or be missing an explanation. This session will provide strategies to combat each of these weaknesses.

Session 1: 8:00-9:10 a.m.
Presenter: Courtney Gordon
Audience: 2-12 / ELL

Identify 3 Types of Write-About-Reading Prompts on Standardized Assessments

Identify 3 Types of Write-About-Reading Prompts on Standardized Tests

Students need the skills to respond to a complex writing prompt based on a reading passage. In this session, learn about the three common after-reading tasks that students face on standardized assessments. Acquire examples and frames to customize prompts based on your own in-class reading curriculum.

Session 2: 9:30-10:30 a.m.
Presenter: Courtney Gordon
Audience: 3-12

Target Constructed-Response Writing

Target Constructed-Response Writing

This session begins with a quick review of how the inference and its evidence are both part of a constructed response. The rest of this session focuses on how to include the essential ingredients to a well-written constructed response utilizing the YES, MA'AM strategy.

Session 3: 10:50-11:50 a.m.
Presenter: Kristi McCullough
Audience: 2-12 / ELL

Demonstrate Content Knowledge through Writing

Demonstrate Content Knowledge through Writing

Short and powerful writing experiences can punctuate learning across the curriculum. This session outlines practical strategies for teaching students to write strong, complete, and cohesive summaries that utilize content-area vocabulary. Participants will learn how to utilize the ABC Chart, information pyramids, storyboards, dissected webs, and more.

Session 4: 1:00-2:00 p.m.
Presenter: Kristi McCullough
Audience: K-12 / ELL

Redefine the Research Process

Redefine the Research Process

Beyond viewing "research" as a massive unit that culminates with a multi-page product, students need to know how to gather, organize, and present researched information on a regular basis and at every grade level. This session will demonstrate how to execute the research process in short, simple products.

Session 5: 2:20-:3:20 p.m.
Presenter: Kristina Smekens
Audience: K-12 / ELL

DAY 2


Mini-Lesson Instruction
Effectively Apply Mentor Text within a Mini-Lesson

Effectively Apply Mentor Text within a Mini-Lesson

The power of mentor text is that students read and analyze the qualities of strong writing. Mentor texts can include picture books, exemplar papers, and real-world texts. This session reveals the do's and don'ts of incorporating mentor text into your writing mini-lessons.

Session 1: 8:00-9:10 a.m.
Presenter: Kristi McCullough
Audience: K-12 / ELL

Understand how the Smekens Approach Supports All Writing Programs

Understand how the Smekens Approach Supports All Writing Programs

This session will reveal how the Smekens approach to teaching writing can work in tandem with a variety of district-adopted writing programs. Regardless of whether you're utilizing Lucy Calkins' Units of Studies, the 6 Traits, the writer's workshop model, or something else, Smekens Education strategies complement all standards-driven writing instruction.

Session 2: 9:30-10:30 a.m.
Presenter: Kristina Smekens
Audience: K-12 / ELL


Plan a Dynamic Writing Mini-Lesson

Plan a Dynamic Writing Mini-Lesson

Everyone says they teach mini-lessons, but what are they really? During this session, teachers learn the four steps of a powerful 10-15 minute writing lesson. Learn the hallmarks of highly-effective teaching that include student engagement and the gradual release of responsibility. This session will also include a live mini-lesson modeled by the presenter.

Session 3: 10:50-11:50 a.m.
Presenter: Courtney Gordon
Audience: K-12 / ELL
Also offered: Day 2 | Session 5 | 2:20-3:20 p.m.


Teach a Skill within a Multi-Day Mini-Lesson Series

Teach a Skill within a Multi-Day Mini-Lesson Series

A skill is not mastered in a single mini-lesson. This session reveals the developmental progression that occurs across 3-5 days of instruction. Teachers will guide students toward independence by first finding the skill in mentor text, then trying the skill in a previous draft, before applying the skill in a new piece.

Session 4: 1:00-2:00 p.m.
Presenter: Kristina Smekens
Audience: K-12 / ELL

Make Lessons Visual

Make Lessons Visual

Utilizing tangible triggers to teach abstract writing skills is an effective instructional strategy that also builds engagement during whole-class mini-lessons. In this session, participants will learn the process for developing strong analogies between writing skills and everyday objects.

Session 5: 2:20-3:20 p.m.
Presenter: Kristi McCullough
Audience: K-12 / ELL


Genre-Specific Units
Target Key Skills within an Informative Writing Unit

Target Key Skills within an Informative Writing Unit

Learn the most essential writing lessons to embed into any informative writing unit, including how to pull information from sources and identify a topic/thesis statement. Participants will also receive multiple lesson ideas to teach collecting and organizing important, interesting facts and expert quotes.

Session 1: 8:00-9:10 a.m.
Presenter: Courtney Gordon
Audience: 3-12 / ELL

Plan your Writing Year

Plan your Writing Year

Teachers at all levels are expected to provide writing experiences across the three major modes—argumentative, informative, and narrative. However, this does not have to include a single mother-lode unit that spreads over weeks and ends with a final draft. Rather, learn how to spiral through the same skills in multiple mini-units that provide students with even more writing opportunities. Participants leave with a calendar suggesting a progression of mini-units across the year.

Session 2: 9:30-10:30 a.m.
Presenter: Courtney Gordon
Audience: 2-12
Also offered: Day 2 | Session 4 | 1:00-2:00 p.m.

Teach Developmentally-Appropriate Writing in Grades K-1

Teach Developmentally-Appropriate Writing in Grades K-1

With the youngest writers, we need to honor their developmental stages. The bulk of this session includes many writing activities that fit the four stages of writing: drawing, labeling, listing, and sentence writing. Gain an understanding of how persuasive, informative, and narrative are represented within these developmental stages. Participants leave with a calendar suggesting a progression of these stages across the year.

Session 3: 10:50-11:50 a.m.
Presenter: Kristi McCullough
Audience: K-1 / ELL

Tackle the Primary Persuasive Standard

Tackle the Primary Persuasive Standard

With our youngest writers, teachers address the argumentative writing standard in its simplest form—an opinion. K-2 students have favorites, likes and dislikes, and a strong sense of right and wrong. These topics make for great opinion writing through pictures, labels, lists, and sentences. These same developmental stages apply to opinion writing that is based on reading. Receive lesson ideas for generating opinions about texts and supporting those opinions with reasons.

Session 4: 1:00-2:00 p.m.
Presenter: Kristi McCullough
Audience: K-2 / ELL

Meet the Argumentative Writing Standard

Meet the Argumentative Writing Standard

There are subtle, but significant differences between persuasive and argumentative writing. After an  explicit description of each, receive lesson ideas that target the essential writing skills necessary for a standards-based curriculum.

Session 5: 2:20-3:20 p.m.
Presenter: Kristina Smekens
Audience: 3-12
Also offered: Day 2 | Session 3 | 10:50-11:50 a.m.


Hot Topic Repeats
Recognize the 6 Traits within K-12 Student Writing

Recognize the 6 Traits within K-12 Student Writing

Participants will walk away with a strong understanding of what each trait looks like in a variety of grade levels and writing genres. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of a writing allows teachers to target their instruction and provide specific assessment feedback.

Session 1: 8:00-9:10 a.m.
Presenter: Kristina Smekens
Audience: K-12 / ELL
Also offered: Day 1 | Session 1 | 8:00-9:10 a.m.


Foster Independent Writers

Foster Independent Writers

Teachers struggle to keep their writers focused and on task during in-class writing time. This session offers practical strategies for handling the "I'm Done" writer and the student who always asks how to spell words. Walk out the door with several routines and procedures that will build writer staminda and independence.

Session 2: 9:30-10:30 a.m.
Presenter: Kristi McCullough
Audience: 3-12 / ELL
Also offered: Day 1 | Session 5 | 2:20-3:20 p.m.

Meet the Argumentative Writing Standard

Meet the Argumentative Writing Standard

There are subtle, but significant differences between persuasive and argumentative writing. After an  explicit description of each, receive lesson ideas that target the essential writing skills necessary for a standards-based curriculum.

Session 3: 10:50-11:50 a.m.
Presenter: Kristina Smekens
Audience: 3-12
Also offered: Day 2 | Session 5 | 2:20-3:20 p.m.

Plan your Writing Year

Plan your Writing Year

Teachers at all levels are expected to provide writing experiences across the three major modes—argumentative, informative, and narrative. However, this does not have to incldue a single mother-lode unit that spreads over weeks and ends with a final draft. Rather, learn how to spiral through the same skills in multiple mini-units that provide students with even more writing opportunities. Participants leave with a calendar suggesting a progression of mini-units across the year.

Session 4: 1:00-2:00 p.m.
Presenter: Courtney Gordon
Audience: 2-12
Also offered: Day 2 | Session 2 | 9:30-10:30 a.m.

Plan a Dynamic Writing Mini-Lesson

Plan a Dynamic Writing Mini-Lesson

Everyone says they teach mini-lessons, but what are they really? During this session, teachers learn the four steps of a powerful 10-15 minute writing lesson. Learn the hallmarks of highly-effective teaching that include student engagement and the gradual release of responsibility. This session will include a live mini-lesson modeled by the presenter.

Session 5: 2:20-3:20 p.m.
Presenter: Courtney Gordon
Audience: K-12 / ELL
Also offered: Day 2 | Session 3 | 10:50-11:50 a.m.


 
Smekens Education consultants Kristi McCullough and Kristina Smekens and Courtney Gordon
Smekens Education consultants Kristi McCullough, Kristina Smekens, and Courtney Gordon
 
Kristi McCullough
Literacy Consultant
Kristina Smekens
President and Lead Consultant
Courtney Gordon
Literacy Consultant

Pick your mix

  • Choose from 25 unique breakout sessions!
  • Each day, immerse in a strand or pick your mix.

Make the investment

  • Receive a binder containing full-color handouts from every session.
  • Gain lifetime access to digital web resources, including lessons, videos, photos, whiteboard documents, and more.
  • Enjoy complimentary breakfast and lunch.
  • Earn up to 10 hours of continuing education.

Something for everyone

For veteran writing teachers:
  • Re-energize your teaching with a refresher on specific writing topics.
  • Choose sessions that will "fill in the gaps" of your writing training.
  • Dive into topics that are targeted for your specific grade range.
For new writing teachers:
  • Atttend multiple sessions from the same topic strand in order to build a strong foundation in a single facet of writing instruction.
  • Choose sessions that address your greatest weaknesses in teaching writing.

On-site BOOKSTORE!

Teachers always look forward to browsing through the wide selection of professional books, picture books, and other resources available on site from The Literacy Store. As always, attendees will enjoy a 15% discount on all in-stock titles. For an advance look at what The Literacy Store has to offer, visit www.TheLiteracyStore.com.

Testimonials

What are teachers saying about Smekens Education writing instruction?

“My mind has just been blown today & I want to go back & revamp my writing.” K. Helm

“This workshop is for the beginning writing teacher as well as the experienced teacher.” S. Taylor

“We all know we have to teach writing and even what we have to teach, but today helped me learn HOW to teach so that the students understand how to write.” C. Janssen

“Although I have been a Lucy Calkins fan, your workshop has helped me to picture the entire unit of informational writing in a more concise and productive manner. I like the idea of teaching 2 topics and then produce (then repeat during the week). I believe that would “mix & match” both Calkins and Smekens.” E. Dierks

“As a secondary ed English major, I was taught how to write, and how to analyze, and how to teach in general; however, I was never taught how to teach others to write. Now, I finally have a solid place to start! You have finally given me the piece that I have been missing—the instruction on how to teach writing!” C. Duensing

“I am a high school teacher, and I needed more ideas in prepping my students for the ECA. These ideas/techniques not only help in prep, but they help with good writing and thinking skills.” C. Schaefer

“The Smekens conferences provide so much valuable take-and-use materials that just make sense. I went to the preparing for state tests & really decided to focus in on constructed response & ramping up the writing. My 10th graders had a 96% pass rate on ECA and 98% pass for the writing section. Unbelievable! Info that just makes sense!” A. Schalk

“As educators, it is our responsibility to excite and motivate our students to keep going when they find something difficult or are struggling. Kristina does this for me every time I attend a workshop! Her energy and enthusiasm are contagious. Additionally, the continued support she and her team offer are invaluable.” S. Hoover



 

 

Registration closed.

What's included in the registration fee?

Beyond two days of dynamic instruction, attendees also receive:

  • A full color packet of materials featuring handouts from all 25 sessions,
  • Private access to exclusive web resources,
  • Plus a continental breakfast and lunch each day.


NOTE: Lodging fees and tuition for graduate credit are not included with registration.

Who attends Writing Remix?

  • K-6 General Education Teachers
  • K-12 Special Education Teachers
  • Literacy Coaches & Coordinators
  • 6-12 Language Arts Teachers
  • ELL Teachers
  • Title I Teachers
  • Gifted and Talented Teachers
  • Principals & Assistant Principals
 

Drury Lane Conference Center


100 Drury Lane
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181
(630) 530-8300

Lodging Recommendation:
Hilton Suites Oakbrook Terrace


10 Drury Lane
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181
(630) 941-0100

To secure discounted room rate, make reservations at least 30 days in advance through the customized Smekens Education discount link.
Group Code: SES
Room Rate: $139 per night
 
Professional Growth Credits

All registrants who attend both days of the Writing Remix will be given a completion certificate on Day 2 that acknowledges that 10 hours of professional development were fulfilled during the conference. Registrants who attend just one day will receive a completion certificate for 5 hours of professional development. Visit our Continuing Education Credit page to learn more.

 
Illinois-Specific Credit

As an approved professional development subcontractor, Smekens Education is happy to provide all Illinois teachers with state-approved professional development credit for attending this workshop in Illinois.

Graduate Credit

For an additional fee, attendees may apply the 10 hours of training earned during the Writing Remix toward graduate-level credit from one of two different sources. Both graduate credit options are for non-degree credits which are designed for professional certification renewals and salary step increases. (Check with your district for approval prior to making a commitment.)

NOTE: For Ohio residents, Calumet College of St. Joseph out of Indiana holds an accreditation recognized by the Ohio Department of Education. Education coursework completed and reflected on an official transcript from this university would be accepted for license renewal purposes. If you are employed with an Ohio school and part of an LPDC, you do need to get approval for renewal coursework from your LPDC.
 


 
  • Attendance at both days of the Writing Remix, plus additional coursework related to the workshop, is required for credit.
  • MTI has an exclusive agreement with Calumet College of St. Joseph (Whiting, IN) to provide teachers with an official transcript for completing course  MTI 506.
  • Calumet College is nationally accredited by NCA, NCATE, and CAEP.

Check out the Smekens Education

Six-Traits Hub