Structure as Mentor Text: How Can We Organize Ideas Beyond the 5-Paragraph Essay?

A few weeks ago, I came across a post on the Teaching and Learning Forum on the NCTE website. The conversation centered around the usefulness—or the lack of usefulness—of the five-paragraph essay. Comments varied, with many teachers chiming in with their thoughts, both fervently for and against the form. I spent the first five years […]

Writing Workshop Workflow: A System for Tracking Student Progress in Workshop

In the last three years I have moved from a paper system to an almost exclusively digital system in writing workshop. Finding a good rhythm in a digital environment requires just as much thought as in a paper environment. After a lot of experimentation, I think I’ve landed on a workflow that satisfies my student […]

Reading and Writing Workshop: The Essentials of Getting Organized

I found Rebekah’s visual guide to planning for writing workshop tremendously helpful, and I know many of you did, too. In an effort to be transparent and share the systems that work for us, this week I am going to write a little bit about the various organizational tools that help my workshops run more smoothly […]

Moving Students from Idea to Draft: a Sticky-Note Structure

Structure seems to be something young writers innately sense … or don’t.  Those who don’t tend to have explosive bursts of thought, leaving word shrapnel all over the paper. To try to combat this, one of my first mini-lessons of the year is on brainstorming — hoping that if students write their ideas down somewhere, […]