Calling all Teachers: Share Your Expert Advice and Earn $50!

TeacherFeature

Do you have a solution to share for the problems teachers face while teaching writing? Help teachers around the nation by submitting a video with your tip. If we select your video for use in our future professional development sessions, we will send you a $50 check! Better yet, submit as many videos as you like.

You don’t need to be using the WriteSteps program to participate. Please spread the word to your elementary teacher friends and colleagues. Together, we CAN improve writing in elementary schools.

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A Culture of Writing: Writing Instruction at Washington Elementary

One of the most difficult challenges I have had in my career was to instill a culture of writing at my school. It’s not that we weren’t doing writing at our school, but the question was, “Were we doing the writing effectively across the grades to make our children better writers?” This has been challenge that needed to be met head on during the past years. My quest was to find a writing program where my school could create a culture of writing and utilize this program to improve writing and writing scores across the grade levels.

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On the Road to Recovery: Writing Instruction at Chauncey Davis Elementary School

By Kresta Byington, Principal of Chauncey Davis Elementary School

It’s a rainy, breezy day as I walk through the quiet halls of Chauncey Davis Elementary, nestled in a sleepy town along the Willapa River in Washington. I hear the sound of the rain pattering on the building, and the mossy trees are glistening outside, leaning heavily from the rain, as I begin my walkthroughs for the day. I step inside one of my fourth grade classrooms and witness an encouraging sight. The students are deep in concentration.  The only sound is the collective hum of their pencils scribbling and scratching as they write their words on the paper.

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Professional Development & Common Core Writing: What Works?

We know that standards cannot impact student learning if they’re just sitting on the shelf. We need teachers who can teach them. Standards accomplish nothing alone. But many teachers have told us they still feel unprepared when it comes to the Common Core. Are you one of them? Continue reading “Professional Development & Common Core Writing: What Works?”

Teaching Tips for Successful Conferences with Elementary Writers: Part 2-5

In part one of this blog series, I shared tips on the conference challenges of the old-fashioned English teacher mindset. Keep reading to learn about another common conferencing challenge I hear from teachers during coaching.

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Teaching Tips for Successful Conferences with Elementary Writers: Part 1

Conferencing lies at the heart of effective writing instruction. Why?

Because, unlike math or even spelling, writing offers no single correct answer. In some ways, it is like playing a sport. You have to put a variety of skills together to hit the target. As teachers, we demonstrate the “rules of the game” and then guide our students in strengthening their “performance.” It’s a step-by-step process. Like the coach who offers personalized advice to help each athlete improve, we give individualized feedback that helps students discover their power as writers. Continue reading “Teaching Tips for Successful Conferences with Elementary Writers: Part 1”

My New Year’s Resolution: Turn Frustration into Fuel!

Suzanne Klein's inspiration for WriteSteps was sparked for her own search for teacher-friendly solutions for writing instruction as a first-grade teacher. The inspiration for WriteSteps came out of my own search for teacher-friendly writing solutions when I was a K-5 teacher.

K-5 writing instruction has taken some baby steps forward since I first began offering WriteSteps lessons outside my own school in 2007. Because the many state standards elevate the teaching of writing at all grade levels, I see more districts starting to take writing seriously.

But we have such a long way to go! As I travel the country to address school leaders about writing, I still find teachers everywhere who are completely lacking the support they need to give their students the gift of clear written expression. I just feel so disheartened when I hear their stories.

Continue reading “My New Year’s Resolution: Turn Frustration into Fuel!”

3 Secrets to Great Conferences with Young Writers

Conferencing with the teacher is a time of personalized coaching and encouragement for students practicing Common Core Standard writing skills. Conferencing individualizes instruction and reinforces new skills, ultimately helping K-5 students discover their power as writers.

“Teaching writing must become more like coaching a sport and less like presenting information. You have to do more than call out the errors.”

~Lucy Calkins

Conferencing lies at the heart of effective writing instruction. Why?

Because writing, unlike other subjects, offers no single correct answer. In some ways, writing is like playing a sport. You have to put a variety of skills together to hit the target. As teachers, we demonstrate the rules of the game and guide our students in strengthening their performance. Like the coach who offers personalized advice to help each athlete improve, we give individualized feedback that accelerates learning. Continue reading “3 Secrets to Great Conferences with Young Writers”