Adjust Conventions Expectations

Posted on March 05, 2019

As we teach the tools and rules of conventions, it's important to include something more than just the rules. Teach students how to adjust their conventions--to change their grammar and mechanics based on purpose and topic and writing process.

Execute Mini-Lessons in 4 Steps

Posted on March 01, 2019

All whole-class reading and writing skills should be executed in mini-lessons. Identify a single, small skill to teach within each short, 10 to 15-minute lesson. Lessons should be short or "mini" because students don't get better list

Create a Writing Curriculum of Mini-Units

Posted on March 01, 2019

Create mini-units to replace the "mother lode" approach. This utilizes a spiral-instruction approach where students experience a particular type of writing in multiple, smaller doses.

Build Kid-Friendly Writing Rubrics

Posted on March 01, 2019

When generating a 6-Traits writing rubric for an upcoming assignment, consider building it with your students. Often teachers make a rubric on their own and then "go over" it with the kids.

Juggle Reader & Writer Workshops in 50 Minutes

Posted on March 01, 2019

For the departmentalized ELA teacher who is teaching both reading and writing in a short 50-minute period, scheduling can be a serious juggling act.Ideally, teachers should instruct on reading and writing every single day. However,

Identify Strong Word Choice with the Purple Highlighter

Posted on March 01, 2019

Provide students frequent feedback on their word choice. If teachers don't acknowledge the extra effort students make in selecting just the right word, why would they continue to strive for it.

Explore Bell-Ringer Options

Posted on March 01, 2019

Many ELA classes begin with a bell-ringer task—a short exercise students complete in 3-5 minutes while the teacher attends to attendance. Consider bell-ringer ideas that are faster to assess and that provide practice for recently learned skill.

Plan Problems into Narrative Pieces

Posted on April 16, 2018

To ensure every story includes a problem, plan the middle portion first. In other words, determine the conflict the character(s) will face before writing the beginning.

Align with the Strongest Position

Posted on February 19, 2018

Persuasive and argumentative writing tasks typically begin with students announcing which side they agree with. This is before reading, researching, or even considering all possible perspectives.

Define the Purpose of Every Grammar Skill

Posted on November 10, 2017

To counter students' disinterest in conventions, make a point to add the purpose of the convention in your lessons. Explain why a writer would use this skill. Show the impact or effect of this skill on their message in writing.