February 6, 2021

February 20, 2021

Building better writers in the COVID era

 This fun and engaging day of learning will feature more than 25 virtual, interactive sessions that will bolster your writing instruction whether you’re teaching students in person or remotely.

No matter if you are new to teaching writing or a seasoned pro, Super Saturday will provide the methods and motivation you need to build better writers!

Super Saturday Writing Conference: A Virtual Event for K-12 Educators

Choose from 25 sessions offering practical strategies to teach writing both in person & remotely

PLAN & ORGANIZE

Honor the most important “F” in class—Feedback
Students grow as writers when they are given feedback that is prompt, purposeful, precise, and personal. In this session, learn how to go beyond grading and correcting to providing feedback that grows writers whether you are meeting in person or remotely.

AUDIENCE: K-12, ELL All Levels

PRESENTER: Kristina Smekens

10:15 a.m. -11:00 a.m. EDT

Teach developmentally-appropriate writing all year
Learn how to guide beginning writers through the four stages of development. This session will focus on cultivating skills in drawing, labeling, listing, and sentence writing. In addition, learn how persuasive, informative, and narrative writing are represented within each of these stages and fit within yearlong writing instruction—even in the primary grades. 

AUDIENCE: K-2, ELL Levels 1-2

PRESENTER: Shona Lansdell

11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. EDT

Collaborate & engage students while social distancing
Whether working in person or remotely, productive conversations improve students’ thinking about new content and ultimately their writing. This session will provide strategies for peer collaboration about any concept that has been recently read, viewed, and/or learned.

AUDIENCE: K-12, ELL All Levels

PRESENTER: Bridget Longmeier

12:30 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. EDT

Plan the year of writing units

Teachers at every level are expected to provide writing experiences across the three major modes—argumentative, informative, and narrative. However, teachers need not be married to the mother-lode unit that spans weeks and ends with a single final draft. Participants in this session leave with a pandemic-proof calendar suggesting a progression of mini-units across the year.

AUDIENCE: 2-12, ELL Levels 3-5

PRESENTER: Courtney Gordon

1:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. EDT

Convert the writer’s workshop from in-person to virtual
Every writer needs explicit instruction, in-class time to try the skill, and an opportunity to receive feedback. In this session, learn how to transfer the three core components of the writer’s workshop from a traditional, in-person setting to a virtual one without missing a day of progress.

AUDIENCE: K-12, ELL All Levels

PRESENTER: Rachel Remenschneider

2:30 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. EDT

LESSON ESSENTIALS

Target the Six Traits within your daily writing instruction

This is a great first session. Knowing what the traits are and how they look and sound will help you make connections throughout the conference. Not only do participants learn about the traits in general but also the specific writing skills to target all year long in every grade level and any writing unit.

AUDIENCE: K-12, ELL All Levels

PRESENTER: Bridget Longmeier

10:15-11:00 a.m. EDT

Target the essential skills per writing unit
During a year when instructional priorities are paramount, it’s important to focus on the most essential writing lessons to be taught during argumentative, informative, and narrative writing units. This session will help teachers identify the foundational skills to teach and how each skill is aligned with the traits of ideas, organization, and conventions.

AUDIENCE: 3-12, ELL Levels 3-5

PRESENTER: Kristina Smekens

11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. EDT

Deliver best-practice lessons regardless of your classroom setting
Whether teachers are delivering instruction in person, via a livestream, or with pre-recorded video, the pillars of best-practice teaching remain the same. In this session, learn how the four steps of an effective, whole-class mini-lesson can be used to grow writers.

AUDIENCE: K-12, ELL All Levels

PRESENTER: Courtney Gordon

12:30 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. EDT

Support writers at home and school with procedural lessons
When strong procedures are in place, students benefit from a writer’s workshop that is organized, focused, and effective—regardless of whether it occurs in person or virtually. In this session, troubleshoot three common struggle points that are key to fostering a growth mindset and building writer independence.

AUDIENCE: K-12, ELL All Levels

PRESENTER: Shona Lansdell

1:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. EDT

Maximize the I do component of every lesson

The most effective writing mini-lessons follow a gradual release of responsibility and are rooted in oral Think Alouds and visual anchor charts. In this session, learn how to perfect the “I do” portion of every mini-lesson by moving beyond telling what to teaching how.

AUDIENCE: K-12, ELL All Levels

PRESENTER: Kristi McCullough

2:30 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. EDT

Write about the text
Advance from retelling to summarizing to main idea
Writing about literature may start with a simple retelling of the story, but students need the skills to go deeper. This session provides a scaffold of lesson concepts that guide students from listing story elements to writing simple retellings to generating organized summaries that ultimately reveal the central ideas and themes found in literature.

AUDIENCE: K-12, ELL All Levels

PRESENTER: Kristi McCullough

10:15-11:00 a.m. EDT

Organize text details in order to write

When students write about nonfiction, the challenge is rarely a lack of information. Instead, the real trick is teaching them how to organize the information in a way that is clear and logical. In this session, learn how to engage students in purposeful pre-writing that uses one of only three graphic organizers.

AUDIENCE: 2-12, ELL Levels 3-5

PRESENTER: Kristi McCullough

11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. EDT

Summarize content-area information

Teaching students to write strong, cohesive summaries is as important in the content areas as it is in English Language Arts. After all, scientists, historians, and mathematicians write. In this session, learn how to bolster content-area instruction by weaving together core vocabulary within accurate summaries.

AUDIENCE: 3-12, ELL Levels 3-5

PRESENTER: Kristi McCullough

12:30 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. EDT

Note & annotate reader thoughts
When students intentionally code, mark, and highlight while reading, their after-reading writing responses inherently improve. In this session, participants will learn how to engage students in purposeful annotation when reading print and digital texts.

AUDIENCE: 3-12, ELL Levels 3-5

PRESENTER: Bridget Longmeier

1:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. EDT

Target opinion-based reading responses in K-2
Even the youngest writers are expected to write simple persuasive pieces in response to reading. In this session, learn how to teach the what-and-why structure and get students to support their opinions with textual evidence using popular picture books read in the primary grades.

AUDIENCE: K-2, ELL Levels 1-2

PRESENTER: Shona Lansdell

2:30 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. EDT

Write Beyond the Text
Make an inference in 5 steps

Students can’t write beyond the text if they can’t comprehend what the text says. This session targets the inferential thinking that needs to occur before students begin writing about their reading. Learn the concrete, 5-step process that helps students to improve their thinking and ultimately their writing.

AUDIENCE: K-12, ELL All Levels

PRESENTER: Shona Lansdell

10:15-11:00 a.m. EDT

Convey inferences in constructed responses
This session begins with a quick review of what a strong constructed 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 RACE, CER, and Yes, MA’AM formulas.

AUDIENCE: 2-12, ELL Levels 3-5

PRESENTER: Bridget Longmeier

11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. EDT

Synthesize ideas across texts
Students need to know how to gather, organize, and present information learned from multiple sources. But during the COVID era, who has time for a huge research paper? This session will unveil strategies to help students synthesize author ideas within short research experiences that occur all year long.

AUDIENCE: 3-12, ELL Levels 3-5

PRESENTER: Kristina Smekens

12:30 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. EDT

Raise the rigor from short to long reading responses
As students master short constructed responses, it’s important to heighten the expectations. Learn strategies to move students beyond the basic RACE, CER, or Yes, MA’AM formulas in order to produce extended-reading responses with well-developed syntheses expressed in multiple paragraphs.

AUDIENCE: 3-12, ELL Levels 3-5

PRESENTER: Kristina Smekens

1:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. EDT

Compare ideas & concepts across texts
Collecting information from two texts on the same topic or theme and then drawing conclusions about that information is a K-12 expectation. (However, for many students the written product includes a laundry list of similarities and differences.) This session will break down the process of comparative thinking so that students learn to independently generate compare-contrast pieces that are well-developed, logically organized, and standards-based.

AUDIENCE: K-12, ELL All Levels

PRESENTER: Courtney Gordon

2:30 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. EDT

Evidence-Based Writing
Write arguments based on textual evidence

The standards expect students to read multiple texts on a debatable topic and then write an argumentative response. This requires students to have a strong grasp of the difference between inferring reasons and finding evidence. Attend this session to learn strategies for teaching both.

AUDIENCE: 3-12, ELL Levels 3-5

PRESENTER: Courtney Gordon

10:15-11:00 a.m. EDT

Recognize evidence in videos and visuals

Textual evidence comes from more than just traditional print text. This session provides actionable techniques to help writers be discerning readers in the digital era. Teach students how to extract meaning from illustrations, photos, infographics, audio, and videos in order to write evidence-rich content.

AUDIENCE: K-12, ELL All Levels

PRESENTER: Courtney Gordon

11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. EDT

Troubleshoot the 4 common evidence errors
Although including textual evidence to support thinking is not a new concept, not all students are observing standards-based expectations. This session troubleshoots four common errors that plague students’ answers to text-dependent questions. Learn strategies to combat each of these weaknesses and fine-tune students’ understanding of textual evidence.

AUDIENCE: 2-12, ELL Levels 3-5

PRESENTER: Shona Lansdell

12:30 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. EDT

Incorporate textual evidence in small-group guided writing
In this session, learn what K-2 students can do (and should be expected to do) when writing about their reading during guided-reading groups. Learn how to capture the reciprocal benefits of combining reading and writing instruction to boost comprehension, build language structure, and solidify word-study concepts.

AUDIENCE: K-2, ELL Levels 1-2

PRESENTER: Kristi McCullough

1:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. EDT

Achieve a blend of evidence and elaboration
Constructed response formulas like RACE, CER, and Yes, MA’AM are simply a starting point. Eventually, students need to learn how to elaborate on the textual evidence they cited. This session focuses on strategies to help students add more of their own inferential thinking into their written responses.

AUDIENCE: 3-12, ELL Levels 3-5

PRESENTER: Kristina Smekens

2:30 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. EDT

PD on a Saturday??

Ok, let’s face it—teachers are being stretched to the limit, and weekends are a cherished pocket of personal time. So why would you want to attend a full-day workshop on a Saturday?

Super Saturday is going to be super fun! With free digital giveaways and periodic prize drawings, everyone will be a winner.

You will learn so many practical, ready-to-use strategies, you’ll be excited to return to school on Monday.

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Substitute teachers are virtually nonexistent at most schools, making mid-week attendance nearly impossible. Even if you could find a sub, attending on a Saturday means no sub plans!

Attending on a Saturday allows you to participate from the comfort of your own home.

Don’t want to give up your Saturday? No problem! Register anyway so that you have on-demand access to the entire conference after the live event concludes.

Earn Completion Certificate

Earn continuing education credit

Receive a certificate reflecting 5.25 hours of professional development when you attend the full event on February 6 or February 20, 2021.

Choose your date

February 6, 2021

9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. EDT

$199/person

February 20, 2021

9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. EDT

$199/person

Group Registration

Register a group of 2-19 people.

Groups of 20 or more, contact us for special pricing and arrangements.

What you’ll get:

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More than 5 hours of relevant and engaging PD

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Downloadable handouts & digital resources for every session

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On-demand access to video replays of every session until June 1, 2021

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Completion certificate showing 5.25 hours of PD

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Practical strategies you can use right away whether you’re teaching in person or remotely

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Tools & motivation to impact every student

What to expect from a Smekens Writing Conference

You walk away with all the materials you need to go back and implement immediately. It’s easy to follow, very real-world.

Kelley Grate

Literacy Coach,
Bon Air Elementary, Kokomo, IN

Students’ motivation, enjoyment that they get from the lessons I take from here and then apply into my classroom—it’s engaging for them!

Tara Vogt & Aimee Wesling

7th & 8th Grade Teachers
Westview Jr. Sr High School, Topeka, IN

I was a little bit nervous about teaching writing because it wasn’t in my comfort zone. Now we are writing in math, social studies, science, and responding to reading.

Nicole Detres

3rd Grade Teacher
Liberty School, Orland Park, IL

Who attends this conference?

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K-6 General Education Teachers
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K-12 Special Education Teachers
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Literacy Coaches & Coordinators
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6-12 Language Arts Teachers
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ELL Teachers
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High-Ability Teachers

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MS & HS Content-Area Teachers
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Principals & Assistant Principals

Meet the presenters

Kristina Smekens

President & Lead Consultant
Learn more about Kristina
Kristina has a gift for making the complex seem simple—for showing teachers how to meet the needs of readers and writers by bridging the gap between education research and practical, classroom-tested strategies that work.

A master of motivation, Kristina helps educators find the encouragement they need to return to their classrooms and execute change.

Courtney Gordon

Smekens Literacy Consultant
Learn more about Courtney

Known both for her enthusiasm and expertise, Courtney is a dynamic personality who makes friends fast and serves as a trusted guide to teachers across the K-12 spectrum.

With more than 10 years of experience as a Smekens literacy consultant, Courtney has the expertise to support teachers at every level of implementation.

Shona Lansdell

Shona Lansdell

Smekens Literacy Consultant
Learn more about Shona

Always approachable and empathetic, Shona taps into her 25 years of experience as a teacher, coach, and building leader to offer practical and realistic guidance to teachers.

This professional development dynamo packs a punch with crowds of all sizes as she motivates educators to apply best-practice literacy strategies.

Bridget Longmeier

Bridget Longmeier

Smekens Remote Coach
Learn more about Bridget

Bridget loves to learn, grow, and help others. That’s why she’s so motivated to come alongside teachers as they execute best-practice instruction in reading and writing.

Bridget’s career as an elementary teacher, literacy coach and Reading Recovery-trained practitioner has equipped her with the skills to help new and experienced educators alike.

Kristi McCullough

Kristi McCullough

Smekens Literacy Consultant
Learn more about Kristi
Teachers love the authentic, “from-the-trenches” insight that Kristi McCullough offers during her professional development sessions with K-6 teachers.

Her rich experiences as a teacher, professor, coach, author, and literacy consultant allow Kristi to offer practical, classroom-tested support to elementary educators.

Rachel Remenschneider

Rachel Remenschneider

4th Grade Teacher, Leo Elementary
Learn more about Rachel
Always developing her craft and expanding her knowledge, Rachel Remenschneider is driven by the desire to make a difference.

She and her colleagues at Leo Elementary made a difference with their students by continuing with a new brand of school after COVID-19 caused a fast pivot for teachers, students, and families.

FAQs

Can I earn Professional Growth Credits?

With prior approval from the attendee’s school district, participants may receive credit for 5.25 hours of professional development for participating in this virtual workshop. After the workshop concludes, attendees will be awarded a Certificate of Participation 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.

Can I earn Graduate-Level Units?

Through a partnership with University of the Pacific, workshop attendees are eligible to pursue one, two, or three nationally-accredited graduate-level semester credits/units after this virtual conference.

The cost of graduate-level credit ($62 per credit/unit) is separate from the cost of attending a workshop. For more information, please contact us.

What is the workshop itinerary?

The conference will begin at 9 am. and end at 4 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time). More specifics about the itinerary will be released soon.

Will this workshop be recorded?

Yes, you can watch the replays of all 25 sessions until June 1, 2021!

Do you offer a group discount?

For groups of 20 or more, contact us for special pricing and arrangements.

Will I receive a note-taking handout?
Yes! Every session will have its own note-taking handout. Attendees will receive an email a few days before the conference with instructions on how to download all of the handouts.
What is the cancellation policy?

If you have a change in plans and need to cancel your registration, please submit your request to workshops@smekenseducation.com. Cancellations and a full refund may occur at any time prior to the workshop. 

Ready to reignite your writing instruction?

Have a Question?

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