How to improve student conferences

8 Ways to Improve Student Writing Conferences

One of the most rewarding and impactful aspects of writing workshop is the writing conferences your students will have with you and their peers. How can you make the most of this time?  Here are some ideas for you: Start with the Ideas Ever collect a stack of completed essays, sit down with your giant […] Read more…

Easy Assessments that won't bog you down

Assessments for Writing Workshop that Won’t Bog You Down

Your writing workshop is humming along beautifully.  Students are working, you are conferencing, life is grand…until you look in your grade book.  Gotta get those grades, right?  But where are those assessments going to come from? You might not want to wait until the final draft or essay is turned in.  Parents and administrators can […] Read more…

Tips for keeping your class working during writing workshop

Optimizing Writing Workshop Expectations

You’re ready to get started with writing workshop, but you have one nagging question looming in the back of your mind:  What is the rest of the class doing while you’re holding student conferences?  Fear not!  Here are some ideas for how to manage your class during writing workshop. Teach routines Students should understand completely […] Read more…

What does writing workshop look like?

What does Writing Workshop Look Like?

If you’re thinking about structuring your class to include writing workshop, you might be wondering what the writing workshop format looks like. What does writing workshop look like? The most important part of writing workshop is to make it YOURS.  There isn’t a “one size fits all” method.  Adapt and adopt ideas that work for […] Read more…

7 Common Questions About Writing Workshop

7 Common Questions about Writing Workshop in Middle School

If you’ve decided to teach writing using the workshop method, you probably have some questions.  Here are seven questions and answers to help you get started. 1.  What exactly is a workshop class? Remember the story of the elves and the shoemaker?  I think of that story when I think of a workshop class.  The […] Read more…

Getting Started with Writing Workshop

How to Get Started with Writing Workshop

Congratulations!  You’ve decided to adopt a writing workshop class!  Now, you might be wondering:  now what?  Here are some tips to get you headed in the right direction! How Are Your Class Management Skills? Let’s be honest.  One of the most important skills for a teacher is to know how to effectively manage her/his class.  […] Read more…

Here are 11 reasons for implementing Writing Workshop in your Middle School Classroom

11 Reasons to Use Writing Workshop in Middle School

Writing workshop can transform your classroom!  Sounds magical, doesn’t it?  I believe it’s true — and here is why: 1. Real Writers & Real Work Often students feel like they write something, it gets corrected, and…end of process.  In a workshop, students grapple with the entire writing process: revision, determining what they really want to […] Read more…

Use a time audit to help students manage their time

Strengthen Student Time Management Skills with Time Audits

If you assign homework, even if it’s just daily reading, you’ve probably encountered this excuse for incomplete work: “I didn’t have time…” Perhaps you’ve even had parents send notes or emails repeating the same thing — their child didn’t have time to complete homework. Kids are busy — that’s true, but are they managing their […] Read more…

How to teach students to peer review

9 Ways to Improve Student Peer Reviews

Peer reviews are beneficial to the reviewer and reviewee alike. Students benefit most from peer reviews when a few things are set in place. When one of my teaching friends noticed I was using peer reviews in my classroom, she commented that she never used them.  Why?  “It’s like the blind leading the blind,” she […] Read more…

nine ways to speed up grading, save time, and get your weekends back!

9 Ways to Save Time while Grading Student Writing

I recently saw an Instagram image of a teacher’s stack of grading for the weekend — next to a ruler.  She had three inches of grading to do (insert sobbing here!). When you were getting certified to teach ELA, they didn’t tell you the unspoken secret:  you will be doing a LOT of grading.  A […] Read more…

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