Back-to-School Literacy Conference

Back-to-School Literacy Conference

Teaching Writing Skills All Year Long

INDIANA SESSION: July 26, 2019
Elkhart Central High School, Elkhart, IN

After you’ve devised a plan to launch your writer’s workshop during the first weeks of school, the next step is to look ahead toward the rest of the year. This full-day workshop is designed to guide K-12 teachers through the planning of a yearlong writing curriculum. This includes determining mini-lesson instruction, identifying frequent assignments, and communicating assessment feedback all within the three major types of writing— opinion/persuasive/argumentative, informative/expository, and narrative.

Workshop Topics

  • Define a “writing unit”: its length, its focuses, and its final product(s).
  • Discover how often to “publish” a final draft and how frequently students should produce first drafts.
  • Identify procedures for selecting priority writing standards to target within each writing unit.
  • Learn strategies for teaching a writing skill over multiple days to deepen student understanding and gradually release responsibility to the students.
  • Learn effective ways to integrate convention/grammar skills throughout the year.
  • Learn how to incorporate mentor text examples and kid-friendly rubrics within a unit.
  • Receive suggestions for grading student writing and assessing students’ understanding of a genre.

When you leave, you'll be able to:

  • Organize grade-level writing standards and grammar skills to be taught within any writing unit.
  • Embed the 6 Traits of Writing throughout the school year as you spiral through specific skills that are unique to each trait.
  • Speed up or slow down any writing unit to meet the needs of your writers.
  • Target isolated skills within intermittent "maintenance" mini-lessons throughout the year.
  • Assess mastery of writing skills via grades or standards-based reporting.
  • Teach writing with confidence and intentionality.

Free follow-up training video:

  • Teachers who attend Teaching Writing Skills All Year Long will be given a complimentary one-month subscription to Kristina's matching video on webPD, Building Kid-Friendly Writing Rubrics (PK-1, 2-12).
  • During the complimentary subscription period, teachers are encouraged to share access with every colleague in their school, allowing the entire staff to learn key concepts from the workshop.

Workshop Excerpts:


Target Audience

K-6 Classroom Teachers
Literacy Coaches
Literacy Coordinators
Title I Teachers / Directors
6-12 ELA Teachers
K-12 High-Ability Teachers
K-12 Administrators


“So grateful for your expertise & how you bring it all together! ” Becky Nelson, Grade 4 Teacher, Butterfield Elementary School, Lombard, IL
“Thanks for all your ideas, lesson plans, & easy-to-implement ideas. I can't wait to start using these in my classroom. My writing instruction & student achievement is going to explode!” Robin Young, Grade 5 Teacher, Hamilton Southeastern Junior High School, Fishers, IN

"This is what I wanted to see. I feel prepared and ready to jump in!" Kaitlyn Caskey, Grade 1 Teacher, John F. Kennedy Elementary School, Kettering, OH

"My writing curriculum just got the boost it needed to be effective!" Nicole Glacinski, Grade 2 Teacher, Jefferson Park Elementary School, El Paso, IL

"I am leaving this professional development energized and better prepared to help the teachers in our school system with their writing instruction. I loved every minute." Dr. Melanie Park, Writing Coach for Huntington County Community School Corporation and Huntington University Assistant Professor, Huntington, IN

Call Smekens Education toll free to learn more.



Attend one day:
$225 (Early Bird)  |  $250 (Standard)

Attend two days:
$425 (Early Bird) | $450 (Standard)

Attend three days:
$625 (Early Bird)  |  $650 (Standard)

Attend four days:
$800 (Early Bird) | $825 (Standard)


Discounts available!

  • Register at least 15 days in advance and save!
  • Register for more than one day and save!
  • For teams of 3+: Save $6 per person.
  • For teams of 10+: Contact our office for a 10% savings.
Principals attend free!
With the paid registration of at least one staff member, the building principal may attend this workshop at no charge. (Registration is still required & substitutions are not permitted.)

Workshop Itinerary
7:30-8:30 a.m. — Check in & breakfast snack
8:30 a.m. — Workshop begins
11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m. — Enjoy lunch on your own
12:45 p.m. — Workshop resumes
3:30 p.m. — Workshop concludes


Can't attend in Indiana?
Check out these other locations!

Elkhart Central High School
One Blazer Blvd.
Elkhart, IN 46516

Lodging Recommendation:
Hilton Garden Inn
3401 Plaza Court
Elkhart, IN 46514
(844) 267-2246

To secure discounted room rate, mention Smekens Education and make reservations at least 30 days in advance.

Professional Growth Credits

With prior approval from the attendee’s school district, participants may receive credit for 5.25 hours of professional development for each full-day session of the Back-to-School Literacy Conference. At the conclusion of each day, attendees receive a Certificate of Completion, which can be used to verify attendance. Visit our Continuing Education Credit page for more information about how this workshop fulfills your state’s unique continuing education requirements.

Graduate-Level Credit

Through a partnership with University of the Pacific, workshop attendees can earn one, two, or three nationally-accredited graduate-level semester credits for attending a workshop during the Back-to-School Literacy Conference. The cost of graduate-level credit ($62 per credit) is separate from the cost of attending a workshop. For more information, please contact us.


Cancellations may occur up to 3 days prior to the selected workshop without penalty. A refund, minus a $50 service fee, will be paid for cancellations made within 3 days of the workshop. No refund will be given to registrants who fail to provide advance notice to Smekens Education of a cancellation. Substitutions may occur at any time. However, free registration (for principals) is non-transferable.