Essential Lessons to Accelerate Student Writing



Target the Essential Skills Per Writing Unit

During a year when accelerated learning is the goal, it’s important to prioritize writing instruction so that the most essential K-12 skills are the foundation of a writing curriculum. This requires more than just showing strong examples and assigning writing topics. Students need explicit, skill-based instruction that demonstrates how to incorporate the most critical, genre-specific ingredients into their own first-draft writings.

Using the college and career-ready writing standards as the foundation, this workshop for K-12 teachers will identify the core writing skills to teach per unit.

What you will learn


Prioritize the type of “info” that must be incorporated in informative writings. Learn how to provide instruction so students can:

  • Embed content, text evidence, and topic-specific vocabulary accurately.
  • Explain and elaborate on information stated.


Target the different genres of informative writing and their various characteristics. Teach students to know how to:

  • Recognize the different ways to organize information depending on the writing purpose or prompt.
  • Move beyond predictable introductions and summary conclusions.


Craft instruction for powerful persuasives and sophisticated arguments appropriate for primary, intermediate, and secondary classrooms. Teach students how to:

  • Align with a side based on positional proof—rather than personal preference.
  • Identify reasons to support a position with evidence and elaboration.


Target the non-negotiables of any narrative writing unit. Whether students write in pictures or in paragraphs, they need instruction that:

  • Prioritizes the two required elements of every story—a problem and a solution.
  • Reveals how to generate read-write narratives that align with the expectations of standardized tests (e.g., rewrite the story from a different character’s viewpoint).

Each session of this workshop will offer numerous lesson concepts, student writing samples, digital resources, and specific instructional points. In addition, every session will include direct connections to the 6 Traits of Writing—emphasizing the significance of the traits of ideas, organization, and conventions.

Whether you assign topics or students choose them, whether your students write multiple paragraphs or draw a single picture with letter labels, this four-part series will identify the top-tier instructional priorities to plan into any writing curriculum.

Who should attend?

K-5 Classroom Teachers
Grades 6-12 English Language Arts Teachers
ELL Teachers
Literacy Coaches/Coordinators
Title I Teachers/Directors
K-12 High-Ability Teachers
K-12 Administrators

Workshop Pricing

1-9 Registrants


Groups of 10+


Groups of 25+

Custom Pricing

What’s included:

Lifetime access to the workshop “Secret Site” featuring:

Ready-to-go Digital Resources

Downloadable Lessons
Blackline Masters
Related Video Content
Links to Helpful Websites

A completion certificate acknowledging 5 hours of professional development when educators complete all four parts of this workshop series by December 9, 2021.


A full-color downloadable handout to accompany each session.

On-demand access to all workshop videos through November 10, 2022.

The option to pursue up to three hours of graduate-level credit for the purpose of license renewal or salary advancement. (This is available, for an additional fee, to attendees who complete this workshop within 30 days.)

Three reasons to attend this workshop:

When it comes to instructional time, every minute counts.

Make your time count by prioritizing your writing instruction to address gaps and accelerate learning.

Explicit teaching gets results.

Standards and resources tell you what to teach, but in this workshop you’ll learn how to teach each essential skill.

Strong writers perform better on standardized assessments.

Preparing students for the challenging read-write tasks they will encounter on state and national assessments requires instruction on how to convey comprehension in a written response.


Meet Your Guide

Kristina Smekens
After learning from Kristina, you’ll feel excited and ready to apply new ideas in your own classroom. This is because she has a gift for making the complex seem simple. You will learn how to meet the needs of readers and writers by bridging the gap between education research and practical classroom-tested strategies that get results!

What educators say about Smekens workshops

“I love how simple you made the concept of tying writing into the other subjects. It makes so much sense!”

Michelle McKinney

4th Grade Teacher, Our Lady of Hungary – South Bend, IN

“Excellent. Very practical advice to use with my 9th graders! I appreciate the constant application to standards.”

Debra Kincaid

Teacher, Clinton Central HS – Michigantown, IN

“Practical—common sense—to the-point.”

Tiffany Cook

Principal, Simmons Elementary School – Versailles, KY

“My writing curriculum just got the boost it needed to be effective!”

Nicole Glacinski

2nd grade teacher, Jefferson Park School – El Paso, IL

“Kristina is a master teacher and dynamic presenter . . . effective at sharing useful writing instruction tips & resources!”

Max Melgarejo

Teacher, Latin School of Chicago – Chicago, IL

“Awesome, realistic, and usable information. Made me feel more confident about teaching writing!

April Firestone

Saint John’s Lutheran School – Marysville, OH

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I earn Professional Growth Credits?

When you complete all four parts of the workshop series by December 9, 2021, you’ll receive a completion certificate acknowledging 5 hours of professional development.

Can I earn Graduate-Level Units?

Attendees have the option to pursue up to three hours of graduate-level credit for the purpose of license renewal or salary advancement. (This is available, for an additional fee, to attendees who complete this workshop within 30 days.) Visit our Graduate-Level Credit page to learn more.

Can I share access with my colleagues?

Sorry, sharing your personalized link to watch the workshop is not allowed. Our Terms of Use specify that one registration fee allows access for just one person. However, we are happy to offer group discounts. Give us a call at (888) 376-0448 to get the details.

Do you offer a group discount?

Yes! For groups of 10 or more, contact us for special pricing and arrangements.

What is the cancellation policy?

Cancellations may occur at any time and a full refund, minus up to 5% transaction fees, will be paid.

Substitutions may occur at any time. If you need to cancel your registration, please submit your request to

Ready to register for this workshop series?

Have a Question?

Complete the form below or call (888) 376-0448.