One year ago today, we started a blog. Inspired at NCTE13, we felt compelled to join the global English teacher conversation. So, we picked a name, paid a graphic designer $5 for a logo, and hung a sign in our little corner of the Internet.
We started writing. And we have loved it. We love the conversations this blog has sparked with you. We love the way the blog has pushed our own writing. We love the way that, on occasion, the self-imposed pressure to post something new has driven us to experiment in our classrooms to exciting results. Moving Writers has made us better at everything we do.
Moving Writers has moved us.
And all this thinking and writing has propelled us into some very exciting new work. We are writing a book! Actually, we are very nearly finished writing a book for Heinemann that will be published in August 2015. Mentoring Writers (the working title — we hope it sticks!) gives teachers an approach for using a steady flood of mentor texts from the first day of school to the last, from planning a piece of writing through its polishing and publication. The mentor texts we use are the same as those you see featured regularly on this blog — hot-off-the-presses, just-published-this-week, relevant, and engaging.
We are humbled and amazed.
One year ago in our inaugural post, we posed a series of questions we hoped to explore through the blog. Below, you will see how we have started to address some of those big ideas. As you can see, there is a lot more to discuss — lots of territory for exploration, new questions to pose. Grab a cup of coffee and spend some time looking around.
What does writer’s workshop look like in the secondary – particularly the traditional high school – classroom?
- Reader Mail: How Do You Begin the Writing Workshop Year?
- Reader Mail: How Do You Plan for a Year of Writing Workshop?
- The First Six Days of School
- What a High School Writing Teacher Can Learn from Preschool Writer’s Workshop
- Writing Instruction When You Aren’t There
- How Can Writing Workshop Fit Into the Curriculum I’m Given?
What conditions, tools, structures, and norms help guide writers towards independence?
- Writing Our Way Into Critical Thinking
- The Power of Flash Drafting: Less Thinking, More Writing
- Offering Choice During Mini-Lessons
- Creating Writers, Not Writing Automatons
- Notebook Time: What It Is and Why We Do It
- Whole Class Writing Studies vs. Individual Writing Studies
What works in our writer’s workshop classrooms? What doesn’t work? How can we improve our craft as educators?
- New Years Writing Workshop Resolutions (Or Why Didn’t I Do This in August?)
- When Even Writing Workshop Doesn’t Work
- Coming to Terms with the P-Word in Writer’s Workshop
- Dabbling in Standards-Based Writing Assessment
- 2.5 Successes and a Failure
- Teaching High Schoolers How to Read Like Writers with Cynthia Rylant’s When I was Young in the Mountains
- Note-Taking Possibilities in Writer’s Workshop
- Finding Time for Technology in Writer’s Workshop
How can we help students maintain control of their own ideas while guiding them as writers? (Penny Kittle)
- Responding to the Writer, Not the Writing
- Connecting Writer’s Struggles to Mentor Text Solutions
- Ideas First, Genre Second
What are the short and long term benefits of writer’s workshop?
What makes a good mentor text? Where do we find them? How do we use them? Can we enlist students to find them?
- Step-by-Step: The Value of Mini-Mentor Texts
- An End-of-the-Year Mentor Text Workshop
- Introducing Mentor Texts, Introducing Ourselves
- Using Technology for Mentor-Text Hunting
- Questions from NCTE14: “Where Do You Find Mentor Texts? How Do You Select Them?”
Besides editorials, commentaries, and narratives, what other genres could and should be taught to secondary students?
What would a writer’s workshop scope & sequence look like?
How do writer’s workshop and reader’s workshop speak to one another? Build off of one another?
What would it take to change the way our students see themselves as writers?
- The Fifth Pillar of Writing Workshop
- Writers Have Plans: Using Next Lists to Build Writing Lives
- Writing Workshop Made Me a Writer — a Student Spotlight
- Encouraging Revision: Advice for Teachers from a Student Writer
- The Data That Writing Workshop Works, Part II
How can we develop these characteristics in our students: curiosity, clarity, self- confidence, autonomy, and mastery? (Penny Kittle)
How do we bring joy and meaning into the writer’s workshop?
Posts sharing lessons:
- Showing vs. Telling and The Walking Dead
- Writing a Persuasive Conclusion
- Using Art to Teach Repetition
- Layering Annotations for Richer Writing
- Using Pixar’s UP to Teach Scene and Summary
- Moving Students from Idea to Draft: a Sticky Note Structure
- Writing Like Crime Scene Investigators
- Sentence Study
Posts sharing mentor texts:
- Scary New World by John Green for The New York Times
- Carol Sherman Jones’ A Lesson Not Learned
- Mentors for Editorials
- The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha
- Using an Article about Peyton Manning to Teach Supporting Evidence
- Mentors for Using Concrete Details
- China’s Web Junkies Op-Doc
- Ken Tucker’s Review of Pharrell’s New Album
- Inspiring Mentor Texts
- Teaching Students to Write Meaningful Comparisons and Contrasts
- Restaurant Review PLUS Interview with the Writer
- Moving Past Summary in Film Analysis
- Weaving Argument and Description Together
- Mentor Text Dropbox Tutorial
- Mentor Text Anchor Charts
- Mentors for Writing, Mentors for Coping
- Mentors for Teaching Satire Humor Writing
- Engaging Students with Humans of New York
From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for going on this journey with us. We can’t wait for another year of thinking, discussing, and teaching alongside you.
What do you want to discuss? What are you itching for us to explore? Leave us a comment below and find us on Twitter — @allisonmarchett and @rebekahodell1.
- Allison & Rebekah