Life Happens: “What to Do When You Don’t Have What You Need”

There’s a John Lennon song that addresses an issue that teachers know all too well: “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making [lesson] plans.” Even the most responsive and differentiated approaches can fall victim to the different kinds of chaos that life throws our way (Technology, I’m talking to you). On top […]

Wait! 1 Book Recommendation and 4 Productive Pauses for the Problem-solving Teacher

Image via publicdomainpictures.net Let’s face it: no matter how well we run our reading and writing workshops, there are about a hundred different points in any given class period where problems can crop up. There’s no such thing as a perfect lesson plan, and as a result, teachers have to be decision making machines on a […]

Toward Better Writing Conferences & More Independent Writers

Conferring with writers has always been the hardest part of workshop teaching for me. When it goes well, a writing conference is where the energy is, where the lightbulb turns on, where the writing and the writer move forward. But it takes a lot of work to train writers to have a meaningful, energizing writing […]

3 Techniques for Students Who Know What They Want to Say But Not How to Say it

Can you picture the student who has just said this in a writing conference? He smoothes the pages of his notebook to reveal countless scribbles and doodles that he has spent the past few days getting down. He has generated multiple ideas for his next writing project. He has done his homework. But he sits […]