Strategies for the Writing Teacher

Strategies for the Writing Teacher

Launching and managing a writer’s workshop

This popular in-service provides teachers with a road map for teaching writing during the first six weeks of the school year. Teachers learn how to start up their writer’s workshop with procedures for building writer independence, tools for managing the environment, resources to introduce the 6 Traits of Writing, and more.

Understanding the 6 Traits of Writing

This session outlines the six researched ingredients of all good writing— ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, and conventions. During this training, teachers see the traits come alive in student writing samples and are able to draw connections between the traits and the Common Core State Standards.

Assessing writing in 6-Traits classrooms

Whether teachers have used writing rubrics for years or never heard of the "R” word, this workshop reveals how to incorporate rubrics into the writing classroom. Teaches will learn how to create "kid-friendly” rubrics, revise the rubrics as writers grow, convert writing scores to grades, and use the scores to drive future mini-lesson instruction.

Weaving trait-based writing skills within various units

This training guides K-12 teachers through the planning of a yearlong writing curriculum that is anchored in the 6 Traits of Writing. Teachers will learn a framework for developing trait-based units that target the significant writing skills per genre, while incorporating exemplars, assessments, and the writing process.

Teaching constructed-response writing skills explicitly

Students need explicit instruction on how to write a well-developed, text-dependent, short-answer response. With these specific skills, the likelihood for success on state assessments skyrockets. This training helps cultivate constructed-response skills by outlining a step-by-step process for incorporating four key components.

Achieving the argumentative writing standard

There are subtle but significant differences between opinion, persuasive, and argumentative writing. This training zeroes in on those differences and provides teachers with grade-specific strategies for incorporating effective argumentative writing activities into all K-12 classrooms.

Delivering dynamic mini-lessons in writing

Everyone says they teach "mini-lessons,” but what are they really? During this workshop teachers learn the four steps of a powerful writing mini-lesson and how to execute those steps within a 10-15 minute whole-class presentation. Beyond delivery of the lesson, teachers also learn how to identify priority writing skills to teach per grade level.

Guiding students through the Writing Process

This workshop reveals proven strategies for implementing the writing process with success in any grade. Teachers learn how to improve instruction and troubleshoot key writer weaknesses by addressing pre-writing, drafting, revising, self-editing, and publishing while they discover the key traits involved with each step of the process.

Preparing students for state writing assessments

If you want to raise test scores in writing, students have to "nail the prompt.” In other words, kids need to pull together all that they know about writing and apply it in one sitting and under the pressure of a ticking clock. In this powerful training, teachers in grades 3–12 learn what skills to focus on for prompt-writing assessments and how to target those skills using mini-lessons throughout the year.

Immersing students in reciprocal reading and writing units

Literacy instruction is strengthened when students learn how reading and writing are reciprocal. Planning that intentionally by incorporating complementary skills in both areas increases the likelihood of students mastering skills. Learn how to identify reciprocal skills and how to plan genre units of study with parallel reading and writing mini-lessons.

Modeling of effective reading and writing mini-lessons

It’s one thing to hear about delivering effective mini-lessons. What teachers really want is to see an effective mini-lesson modeled with real students in a live classroom setting. With this training model, teachers observe as a Smekens Education consultant conducts a 10-15 minute reading or writing lesson addressing a skill of the teacher’s choice. Following the lesson model, observing teachers debrief with the consultant for a few moments to share observations, ask questions, and discuss what skills would be taught next. NOTE: Teachers can slate the day’s schedule to include numerous lesson models conducted back-to-back in order to increase the quantity of lessons teachers can observe in one day.


Customize Your On-Site Workshop
Brady Smekens, Director of Professional Development, is ready to help match your school with the consultant who is best qualified to meet your unique professional development needs.

Call Brady toll free: (888) 376-0448. | Email Brady

Meet Our Consultants

Kristina Smekens

Teachers feel empowered and encouraged after working with Kristina. She is an expert at developing practical ways for K-12 teachers to apply research-based literacy strategies.
Learn More About Kristina | Email Kristina



Courtney Gordon

Known both for her enthusiasm and expertise, Courtney is a dynamic presenter whose practical strategies resonate with teachers across the K-12 spectrum.
Learn More About Courtney | Email Courtney



Kristi McCullough

A passion for teaching and learning is what drives Kristi, who consistently leaves teachers both excited and well-equipped to apply new literacy ideas in their PK-6 classrooms.
Learn More About Kristi | Email Kristi



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