Meaningful Revision in Five Days

Tara Smith of Two Writing Teachers once posed the idea of an in-between study, a study that occurs during the brief pause at the end of one unit and the beginning of another. In the middle of December, I found myself with an extra week before exams began — not quite enough time to start something new before seeing students off for the holiday.

I had been looking for a way to teach revision meaningfully — not as a series of single lessons at the end of each unit that often felt rushed and last-minute — but as a true unit of study that would allow students to explore different revision techniques and experience the power of transformation. At the time, students were working on assembling midterm writing portfolios, so it seemed a perfect opportunity for a mini unit on revision. Continue reading


Two Writing Workshop Calls to Action

Hi, friends. We’re back. Our little project is safely in the hands of our publisher, and we are so happy to turn our attention back to the blog.

Ever since NCTE, I have been thinking about the challenging realities so many teachers face in their classroom. Not only poverty, not only discipline issues, not only lack of educational funding, not only unsupportive administrations — but also the challenges posed by the curriculum, by rigid pacing guides, by benchmark testing, not to mention state testing. We talked to teachers at NCTE who said, “This kind of writing instruction is great, but I just don’t know how to make it work.” I attempted to address that question here.

But then, I chatted with a former student this week. She visited to observe one of my classes since she was home between student teaching assignments. She had just spent a semester in an inner-city middle school where the pacing guide dictated which pages of the literature textbook and what forms of writing should be taught each week. When she left, I got curious and found it up online. Here’s what was listed under the heading “Writing Workshop” for the week of December 8, 2014: Continue reading

Be right back…

Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 8.16.43 PMThis scene is lovely and peaceful and not very similar to what we are feeling right now in our very last two weeks of finishing our first book.

So, friends, we are on a little break from writing on the blog so that we can finish writing the book. We will be back with all sorts of new ideas & renewed energy on January 19!

While we’re gone, spend some time with our Mentor Text Dropbox, browse our archives, or send us a Tweet to let us know what you would like to see featured on the blog in 2015! You can find us at @rebekahodell1 and @allisonmarchett.