A (Writing) Library of Possibility: Structure and Freedom

In recent years, I’ve moved further away from assigned writing prompts to a more open workshop model. It’s been a hard shift, though, and it’s messy. Really messy. Like many teachers, my planning for writing often goes one of two ways: 1) read mentor texts and then develop a writing prompt, or 2) develop a […]

3 Strategies for Students Who Say, “I’m Finished” After Writing a Paragraph

  I grew up in Connecticut, so the old southern phrase “Bless your heart” isn’t a part of my everyday vocabulary. However, I’ve caught myself saying it a few times, in identical situations. Here’s the scenario: Student: Ms. Marchetti, I’m finished. [I look down at the student’s paper, see a few sentences scribbled. The mentor […]

YA Sentence Study Snapshot: We Were Liars

Text:  We Were Liars by E. Lockhart       Audience: Later middle school – high school (Perhaps 7-12?) Book Talk: Every summer, members of the incredibly wealthy Sinclair family gather on a private island. Everything appears to be perfect — perfect children, perfect relationships, plenty of money. But, of course, you know that things are […]