Writing Remix Confirmed

Writing Remix Confirmed

 
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Smekens Education Writing Remix 2-Day Workshop
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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 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. 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


Writer's Workshop Management
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

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 requires noticing the grammar skill within mentor text, then trying it within previous drafts, and then applying it in a new piece. Participants will learn numerous ways to support students as they integrate new skills into 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


Text-Based Responses
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 & Note-Take in Preparation for Writing

Annotate & 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 and comparing information about two topics 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


Mini-Lesson Instruction
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-tos, 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—argumentative, 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 digs into the two required elements of every story—first crafting the problem and then its 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

We need to honor the developmental stages of our youngest writers. This session reveals skills that fit the drawing, labeling, listing, and sentence-writing stages. In addition, learn how persuasive, informative, and narrative writing are represented within each of these stages and fit within a yearlong calendar.

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


Genre-Specific Units
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 4-step rhythm to an efficient teacher-writer meeting. In addition, acquire examples of trait-specific feedback, sample forms for documentation, and a procedure for peer/buddy conversations.

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

Fit Writing into your Elementary Schedule

Fit Writing into your Elementary Schedule

How often should students be writing? How long should students write at a time? What is my role when students are writing? This session begins with various ways to fit writing into the daily schedule of a self-contained classroom, including how they can be applied to math, science, and social studies. The rest of the time focuses on the importance of providing regular whole-class mini-lessons and independent writing experiences.

Session 3: 10:50-11:55 a.m.
Presenter: Kristi McCullough
Audience: K-6, Self-Contained

Foster Independent Writers

Foster Independent Writers

Teachers struggle to keep their writers 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. Learn several routines and procedures that will build writer stamina and student independence, regardless of their age or grade level.

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

Craft Powerful e-Learning Writing Tasks

Craft Powerful e-Learning Writing Tasks

Many districts have instituted e-learning days where students engage in academic studies via a digital device. Although this is a fantastic option to “snow days,” it requires teachers to plan differently. This session targets how to utilize the writer’s workshop as an e-learning experience, including executing a mini-lesson and providing for independent writing time.

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


Hot Topic Repeats
Follow 5 Steps to Make an Inference

Follow 5 Steps to Make an Inference

Reading comprehension is no longer assessed with literal questions that have right-there answers. Now students must face text-dependent questions that require them to make an inference and support it with evidence. This session demystifies this abstract concept into a concrete 5-step process. Learn explicit mini-lessons and engage in hands-on activities to improve students’ thinking about their reading so they are primed to eventually write constructed responses.

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

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 what a strong response includes as defined by state rubrics and artificial-intelligence scoring. The rest of this session focuses on the essential ingredients to a well-written constructed response utilizing the Yes, MA’AM and RACE strategies. Participants will learn to repeat key words, cite textual evidence, and conclude a constructed response with a written explanation.

Session 3: 10:50-11:55 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 and RACE formulas. This concept works for any informative or argumentative writing prompt. In this session, attendees learn how to teach students to generate a strong, multi-paragraph response that includes a powerful combination of evidence and elaboration as defined by state rubrics and artificial-intelligence scoring.

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

Refine the Definition of Textual Evidence

Refine the Definition of Textual Evidence

Although supporting thinking with textual evidence is not a new concept, not all students are adhering to the expectations as deemed by the standards. This session troubleshoots 4 common errors that plague students’ responses--lacking evidence, making up evidence, providing just a detail, or missing an explanation.

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


 
Smekens Education consultants Kristi McCullough and Kristina Smekens and Courtney Gordon
Smekens Education consultants Kristi McCullough, Kristina Smekens, and Courtney Gordon
 

Pick your mix

  • Choose from 25 unique breakout sessions!
  • Immerse in one of 5 strands 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 11 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

 


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 Credit
 

 

For an additional fee, attendees may earn three nationally accredited graduate-level credits from the Midwest Teachers Institute and their university partner, Colorado State University-Pueblo. These non-degree credits are designed for professional certification renewals and salary step increases. (Check with your district for approval prior to making a commitment.)


Midwest Teachers Institute (MTI) — 3 credits/$375

  • 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 Colorado State University-Pueblo to provide teachers with an official transcript.
  • Colorado State University-Pueblo is nationally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. MTI courses through CSU-Pueblo are accepted in all 50 states.


Check out the Smekens Education

Six-Traits Hub