#engchat: March 16

In an age of standards, how can teachers bring the creativity and vitality of a writing workshop into the secondary classroom?  How can teachers devote meaningful, consistent time to writing instruction while balancing the demands of literature study, independent reading, test preparation, and a standardized curriculum?

For the #engchat conversation on 3/16/15 (at 7 PM EST), join co-authors Allison Marchetti (@allisonmarchett) and Rebekah O’Dell (@rebekahodell1) as they share some strategies from their blog (movingwriters.org) and forthcoming book, Writing with Mentors (Heinemann, August 2015).

Some questions we may pursue are:

  • How can classroom routines support meaningful, consistent writing instruction?
  • Where do you see room in your curriculum for units of writing study?
  • How can mini-lessons be streamlined and sequenced to both meet the requirements and push past the limits of a standardized curriculum?
  • How can the power of mentor texts be harnessed to teach any element of good writing (and reading!)?
  • What conferring strategies can help you maximize instructional time and move writers forward?


We can’t wait to share strategies and inspiration with #engchat friends soon!

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Teaching High Schoolers How to Read Like Writers with Cynthia Rylant’s When I Was Young in the Mountains

Fact: high schoolers love storytime. They love sitting cross-legged on a patch of carpet as the teacher reads a story from a chair, fanning open the pages of the book.

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When I told them we were having storytime, my ninth graders appeared confused at first, exchanging dubious glances around the room.

“Like in elementary school when the teacher read aloud?” someone asked.

They gathered around me on the carpet in front of the white board, fidgety at first. I held up the cover of the book. “When I Was Young In the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant. Does anyone want to make a prediction? What do you think this story will be about?” I summoned the calm reading voice of my mother, an amazing first-grade teacher and storybook reader, and we began.

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