The First Thing: a Moving Writers series for a new school year



When I start to think about a new school year, I have a tendency to mentally skip straight from buying school supplies in August to April — the place where my class is a well-oiled machine of student writers who live and breathe our workshop rhythms.

In my mind’s eye,  I can see them digging into their notebooks and sharing mentor texts and diligently drafting and conferring with me and passing computers across the tables to share bits of writing with their peers. What I can’t see as clearly while turning a new page in my planner is what those very first moments, first days, first weeks of writing instruction – writing indoctrination, really — will look like.

We know the finish line. But where is the starting line? What is the first thing we want our students to understand about writing?

That’s the question the Moving Writers team will answer over the next month as each of our writers contributes his or her own “first thing” of writing instruction. You will peek inside our planners, taste the first lessons our students will taste.

 Here’s what’s coming up:

August 9 (2)


We hope you’ll join us as we all kick off a new year — a fresh start — in the writing classroom!




  1. I feel like you folks must be reading my mind. Last night, I spent three hours reading through the blog index to help me prep for going full-out unapologetic rwworkshop starting next week. You should see my writer’s notebook! It’s filled with advice and notes from so many of your posts. (This is AFTER pilfering Writing with Mentors, the latest addition to my English Teacher Bibles Shelf, alongside Kittle and Gallagher and Atwell). I can’t wait to read these upcoming posts. Moving Writers is a treasure! –Kate Flowers, Santa Clara High School, Santa Clara, CA

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