Writing Remix 2019

Writing Remix 2019

Ready to take your writing instruction from good to great?

Attend the Writing Remix conference and join the thousands of teachers who have transformed their writing classrooms with simple and effective strategies from Smekens Education.

During this second annual “Best of Smekens” event, you get to hand-pick the sessions that would make the biggest impact on your writing instruction. With 30 sessions to choose from, you’re sure to find topics that will advance your writers with writing lessons that get results.

 

DAY 1


Six-Traits
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 writing allows teachers to target their instruction and provide specific assessment feedback. This is a great first session as the trait language is central to nearly all other Remix sessions.

Session 1: 8:00-9:15 a.m.
Presenter: Kristina Smekens
Audience: K-12 | ELL All Levels

Introduce the 6 Traits to Students

Introduce the 6 Traits to Students

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 to introduce the traits to your own students.

Session 2: 9:30-10:35 a.m.
Presenter: Kristi McCullough
Audience: K-12 | ELL All Levels


Manage an Effective, Trait-Based Writer's Workshop

Manage an Effective, Trait-Based Writer's Workshop

It's not supposed to be a choice between using the 6 Traits of Writing or the writer's workshop model. The power is teaching the 6 Traits within the writer's workshop. Learn the ingredients of a well-run writer's workshop including the whole-class mini-lesson, independent writing time, and author's chair. See how the 6 traits are easily woven into all three facets and all steps of the writing process.

Session 3: 10:50-11:55 a.m.
Presenter: Courtney Gordon
Audience: K-12 | ELL All Levels

Discover 9 Ways to Target Elaboration and Organization

Discover 9 Ways to Target Elaboration and Organization

Although there are 6 traits, they are not equally important. The focus of writing improvement must be on idea development and logical organization. Just telling students to add more details and use transition words isn't enough. Rather, teach them ways to elaborate and then how to connect those ideas together. Attendees will learn popular Smekenized mini-lessons that make the biggest impact on the quality of student writing.
Session 4: 1:05-2:10 p.m.
Presenter: Kristi McCullough
Audience: 2-12 | ELL Levels 3-5

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 6-Traits rubrics can be incorporated in the intermediate and secondary 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: 2:25-3:30 p.m.
Presenter: Courtney Gordon
Audience: 2-12 | ELL Levels 3-5


Grammar & Conventions
Teach Grammar Skills One Mini-Lesson at a Time

Teach Grammar Skills One Mini-Lesson at a Time

Conventions instruction must go beyond memorizing rules. Rather, focus on the purpose, function, and impact the grammar skill has on a sentence’s overall message. When students know why a reader needs the convention and when a writer should apply the convention, they then realize the power of accurate conventions within their own writing. This session outlines several ways to make your initial grammar lessons more powerful, more visual, and more memorable.

Session 1: 8:00-9:15 a.m.
Presenter: Courtney Gordon
Audience: K-12 | ELL All Levels

Align Conventions within Writing Units

Align Conventions within Writing Units

One characteristic of strong writing is the accurate application of grammar and conventions. Unfortunately, many students who can correct sentences in workbooks and pass online quizzes, cannot apply appropriate conventions within their own writing. The secret to skill transfer is to avoid isolating grammar within a separate facet of language arts instruction. In this session, attendees learn effective ways to weave convention instruction within current writing units.

Session 2: 9:30-10:35 a.m.
Presenter: Kristina Smekens
Audience: K-12 | ELL All Levels

Teach the Same Grammar Skill Across Multiple Days

Teach the Same Grammar Skill Across Multiple Days

A grammar skill is not mastered in a single 15-minute lesson or via a workbook practice page. There is a developmental progression and gradual release that occurs across 3-5 days of a mini-lesson series. It begins with noticing the grammar skill within mentor text, then trying it within previous drafts, and then applying the skill in a new piece. While studying several mini-lesson outlines, participants will walk away with numerous ways to support students as they learn to integrate new learned skills in their own writings.

Session 3: 10:50-11:55 a.m.
Presenter: Kristina Smekens
Audience: K-12 | ELL All Levels

Move Toward Mastery of Convention Skills

Move Toward Mastery of Convention Skills

Once students have a solid understanding of a new grammar skill, it’s time to move them toward mastery. This includes numerous opportunities to practice the skill authentically through a variety of bell-ringer activities, peer-editing exercises, self-editing checklists, and more. The final step is to then hold students accountable for what they now know. Expect them to apply grammar skills accurately within their first drafts.

Session 4: 1:05-2:10 p.m.
Presenter: Kristina Smekens
Audience: 3-12 | ELL Levels 3-5

Improve Basic Sentence Conventions

Improve Basic Sentence Conventions

When primary students have acquired phonics skills and developed sentence sense, they are ready for their first conventions mini-lessons in writing. Attend this session for lesson ideas to teach spacing between words, ending thoughts with punctuation, stretching fragments into sentences, self-editing, and more.

Session 5: 2:25-3:30 p.m.
Presenter: Kristi McCullough
Audience: K-2 | ELL Levels 1-2


Writing About Reading
Generate 4 Types of Narratives in Response to Reading

Generate 4 Types of Narratives in Response to Reading

For most states, the writing portions of standardized assessments are now all rooted in reading. No longer are students writing personal narratives based on their background knowledge. Instead, they are asked to continue the story, rewrite the perspective, insert the missing piece and/or write fiction based on fact. Attendees of this session will leave with numerous ways to teach these new writing genres to students with mentor texts and lesson ideas.

Session 1: 8:00-9:15 a.m.
Presenter: Kristi McCullough
Audience: 2-12 | ELL Levels 3-5

Annotate and Note-Take in Preparation for Writing

Annotate and Note-Take in Preparation for Writing

Knowing students have to read and respond to complex texts, teaching them to engage in purposeful annotation can be a game-changer. When students intentionally code, mark, and highlight while reading, their after-reading responses inherently improve. Participants will receive a scaffold of age-appropriate codes and markings to build a set of consistent expectations across all grade levels.

Session 2: 9:30-10:35 a.m.
Presenter: Courtney Gordon
Audience: K-12 | ELL All Levels

Write After-Reading Summaries in the Content Areas

Write After-Reading Summaries in the Content Areas

Support students as they attempt to write strong, complete, and cohesive summaries that utilize content-area vocabulary. This session will include 10 different strategies including the Key-Word Summary, the Shrinking Summary, Information Pyramids, 20-Word Gists, Framed Writings, and more. Try out several strategies during this session and see authentic student examples collected from various content areas and grade levels.

Session 3: 10:50-11:55 a.m.
Presenter: Kristi McCullough
Audience: 2-12 | ELL Levels 3-5

Generate Opinion-Based Reading Responses

Generate Opinion-Based Reading Responses

Young writers are expected to write simple persuasive pieces and they have to respond to their reading. Why not combine these two expectations? Teach students how to share their opinions about characters, settings, ideas, and concepts learned from their reading. This session reveals numerous lesson concepts to improve students’ opinion writing tied to popular picture books read in the primary grades.

Session 4: 1:05-2:10 p.m.
Presenter: Courtney Gordon
Audience: K-2 | ELL Levels 1-2

Cultivate Compare-Contrast Writing Skills

Cultivate Compare-Contrast Writing Skills

Collecting information about two topics and then drawing conclusions about that information is a common writing expectation. However, for many students the product includes a generic laundry list of similarities and differences. This session will break down the 3-step process of comparative thinking so that students learn to independently generate compare-contrast pieces that are well-developed and logically organized.

Session 5: 2:25-3:30 p.m.
Presenter: Kristina Smekens
Audience: K-12 | ELL All Levels

DAY 2


Modes & Genres
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 both within a standards-based curriculum. This includes aligning with the strongest position, differentiating between reasons and evidence, and organizing the body to end with a strong conclusion.

Session 1: 8:00-9:15 a.m.
Presenter: Kristina Smekens
Audience: 3-12 | ELL Levels 3-5

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 – reports, how-to, letters, essays, biographies, etc. These include knowing how to pull information from sources, gather and organize the important details, identify a topic/thesis statement, and present interesting facts and expert quotes.

Session 2: 9:30-10:35 a.m.
Presenter: Courtney Gordon
Audience: 3-12 | ELL Levels 3-5


Plan the Year of Writing Units

Plan the Year of Writing Units

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

Session 3: 10:50-11:55 a.m.
Presenter: Courtney Gordon
Audience: 2-12 | ELL Levels 3-5

Know the Narrative Non-Negotiables

Know the Narrative Non-Negotiables

Although narrative writing is the third writing mode listed in the standards, it does have a place in today’s classrooms and tomorrow’s careers. Within the real world, police officers draft accident reports, medical personnel write up health histories, case workers document client actions, and more. This session will dig into the two required elements—problem and solution. Obtain strategies to teach students to craft narratives by first focusing on the middle (the problem) and then the end (the solution).

Session 4: 1:05-2:10 p.m.
Presenter: Courtney Gordon
Audience: K-12 | ELL All Levels

Teach Developmentally-Appropriate Writing in the Primary Grades

Teach Developmentally-Appropriate Writing in the Primary Grades

All teachers are expected to provide writing experiences across the three major modes—persuasive/argumentative, informative, and narrative. However, these units do not have to span weeks and end with a final draft. Rather, learn how to spiral through the same skills in multiple mini-units that provide students with numerous writing opportunities.

Session 5: 2:25-3:30 p.m.
Presenter: Kristina Smekens
Audience: 2-12 | ELL Levels 3-5


Writer's Workshop Management
Fit Writing into your Schedule

Fit Writing into your Schedule

How often should students be writing? How many minutes should students write at a time? What do I do while students are writing? This session begins with various ways to fit writing into the daily schedule of a self-contained classroom. The rest of the session dissects the facets of the whole-class mini-lesson and independent writing time, including how they can be applied to math, science, and social studies.

Session 1: 8:00-9:15 a.m.
Presenter: Kristina Smekens
Audience: K-12

Confer with Writers Daily

Confer with Writers Daily

Meeting with every writer every day is a daunting task. However, group conferring is 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-specific feedback, sample forms for documentation, and a procedure for peer conversations.

Session 2: 9:30-10:35 a.m.
Presenter: Kristi McCullough
Audience: K-12 | ELL All Levels

Fine-Tune Author’s Chair Procedures

Fine-Tune Author’s Chair Procedures

The writer’s workshop concludes with an Author’s Chair where a couple of students share their writing with the rest of the class. This should be a productive and powerful activity— but for many, it’s not. After identifying what’s working and what’s not, attendees walk away with a set of procedures that transform the Author’s Chair from a show-and-tell activity to a powerful and purposeful celebration of great writing accomplished that day.

Session 3: 10:50-11:55 a.m.
Presenter: Courtney Gordon
Audience: K-12 | ELL All Levels

Execute the 4 Steps of a Dynamic Mini-Lesson

Execute the 4 Steps of a Dynamic 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 and several video clips from real classrooms.

Session 4: 1:05-2:10 p.m.
Presenter: Courtney Gordon
Audience: K-12 | ELL All Levels

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 “I need help” student. Walk out the door with several routines and procedures that will build writer stamina and student independence, regardless of their age or grade level.

Session 5: 2:25-3:30 p.m.
Presenter: Kristi McCullough
Audience: K-12 | ELL All Levels


Text-Based Responses
Refine the Definition of Textual Evidence

Refine the Definition 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 to strengthen responses to reading.

Session 1: 8:00-9:15 a.m.
Presenter: Courtney Gordon
Audience: 2-12 | ELL Levels 3-5

Strengthen Short Constructed-Response Writing

Strengthen Short Constructed-Response Writing

Students are assessed in reading through their 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 the essential ingredients to a well-written constructed response utilizing the Yes, MA’AM strategy. Participants will learn to repeat key words, cite textual evidence, and conclude a constructed response with a written explanation.

Session 2: 9:30-10:35 a.m.
Presenter: Kristina Smekens
Audience: 2-12 | ELL Levels 3-5

Generate Long Extended Responses Based on Reading

Generate Long Extended Responses Based on Reading

Extended-reading responses are longer essays that require students to know how to supersize the Yes, MA’AM formula. This concept works for any informative or argumentative writing prompt based on provided passages. In this session, attendees learn how to teach students to generate a strong, multi-paragraph response that includes a powerful combination of textual evidence and its significance.

Session 3: 10:50-11:55 a.m.
Presenter: Kristina Smekens
Audience: 3-12 | ELL Levels 3-5

Generate Opinion-Based Reading Responses

Generate Opinion-Based Reading Responses

Young writers are expected to write simple persuasive pieces, and they have to respond to their reading. Why not combine these two expectations? Teach students how to share their opinions about characters, settings, ideas, and concepts learned from their reading. This session reveals numerous lesson concepts to improve students’ opinion writing tied to popular picture books read in the primary grades.

Session 4: 1:05-2:10 p.m.
Presenter: Kristina Smekens
Audience: K-2 | ELL Levels 1-2

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 all year long.

Session 5: 2:25-3:30 p.m.
Presenter: Courtney Gordon
Audience: K-12 | ELL All Levels


 
Smekens Education consultants Kristi McCullough and Kristina Smekens and Courtney Gordon
Literacy consultants Kristi McCullough, Kristina Smekens & Courtney Gordon
Led by the dynamic trio of consultants from Smekens Education, the Writing Remix offers two days of engaging professional development that will equip you with tools to make this year your best yet!

Kristi McCullough
Literacy Consultant
Kristina Smekens
President and Lead Consultant
Courtney Gordon
Literacy Consultant

Bonus Items

  • Receive a binder containing full-color handouts from all 30 sessions.
  • Gain lifetime access to the conference "secret site." This password-protected website features hundreds of digital resources, including lessons, videos, photos, whiteboard documents, and more. (All 30 sessions are included!)
  • Enjoy complimentary breakfast & lunch each day.
  • Earn up to 11 hours of continuing education, plus the opportunity to earn 3 hours of graduate-level credit.

Something for everyone

For veteran writing teachers:
  • Re-energize your writing instruction with a refresher on specific topics.
  • Pick a mix of sessions that will “fill in the gaps” of your writing training.
  • Learn classroom-tested strategies that are targeted for your specific grade range.
For new writing teachers:
  • Learn the Smekens strategies that have helped thousands of teachers transform their writing instruction from good to great.
  • Attend multiple sessions from the same topic strand to build a strong foundation on a single facet of writing.
  • Choose sessions that address your greatest challenges 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 Remix workshop?

“I would love our school district (all subjects) to be on board with this for consistency through grade level & across content.” Emily Hickok, teacher at Buckskin Elementary School, South Salem, OH

"You all are crazy organized and it's fantastic. Love the layout of the binder! I can hardly believe you gave all the handouts for all sessions on both days. You ROCK!" Lori Hacker-Tobolski, teacher at Manor Hill Elementary School, Lombard, IL

"I brought a team of teachers, instructional coaches, and one principal. K-12 levels. I hope to send another group the next year or whenever Remix is offered again." Linda L. Black, Director Elementary Teaching and Learning, Boone County Schools, Florence, KY

"Great presenters and very organized. Love all the supplies provided and the fabulous notebook full of amazing ideas!" Laura Cornett, teacher at University Park Elementary, Dallas, TX

"Actually, we were super impressed with how everyone started and ended on the dot. This conference was well organized, based on research, and provided many materials and lessons for my actual classroom." Kim Davidson, teacher at Churchill Center & School, Town & Country, MO

“Huge bonus was providing participants with ALL the resources. This took the stress out of choosing the ‘right’ sessions because you could pre-look and still learn even if you didn’t attend the session.” Angie Garber, teacher at Wilson Elementary School, Cincinnati, OH



REGISTRATION FEES:
$449 (Register by Oct. 15)  |  $479 (After Oct. 15)  

DATES & LOCATIONS

INDIANAPOLIS, IN
November 4-5, 2019

LAWRENCEBURG, IN
November 7-8, 2019

CHICAGO, IL
November 13-14, 2019

COLUMBUS, OH
November 20-21, 2019

Discounts available!

  • Register by October 15 and save $30!
  • For teams of 3+: Save $6 per person.
  • For teams of 10+: Contact our office for a 10% savings.


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 30 sessions, private access to exclusive web resources, plus a continental breakfast and lunch each day.


NOTE: Lodging fees and tuition for graduate-level 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
  • MS & HS Content-Area Teachers

 Letter to Your Administrator

Download a template to share with your administrator the benefits of attending the Writing Remix.

Professional Growth Credits

Certified educators can earn professional growth credits for attending a Smekens Education workshop. All workshop attendees receive a certificate of participation for 5.5 hours of professional development for each one-day workshop. 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-Level Credit
 

Workshop attendees can earn one, two, or three hours of nationally-accredited graduate credit for attending one or more of the Back-to-School workshops. The cost of graduate credit is separate from the cost of attending a workshop. For more information, please contact us.



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Six-Traits Hub