Discovering Students’ OWN Language through Field Guides

This semester, I’m sharing how my students create language field guides to intentionally and systematically explore words in their reading, their writing, and their lives, not just memorize parts of speech and definitions. My first installment shared the basics of choice word field guides, the easiest and most fundamental way we explore words. My second […]

Discovering Language: Field Guide Entries that Explore the Language That Means the Most

Here’s my first post in this series that will give you some background on Language Field Guides as well the foundation of choice word field guide entries. Language field guides are a place where readers + writers make discoveries about the language they explore. It’s how I approach vocabulary instruction in a way that’s meaningful, […]

Language Exploration That Changes Writers in 30 Minutes Per Week

In sixteen years of teaching, I have only had less than one handful of students who truly, thoughtfully attended to word choice. It’s gritty and granular — the work of scrutinizing each and every word, turning it over in your mind, considering every other possibility, and landing on the very best word.  Few middle or […]

Ask Moving Writers: How do you authentically support and assess vocabulary?

Dear Noel (and fellow readers!), In a recent webinar, 2010 National Teacher of the Year Sarah Brown Wessling posited an idea that really rocked my world. It was at once so simple and so profound: Vocabulary is not a task or a thing, it is a literacy practice. Not so much a skill, but a […]

Making Time for Vocabulary Instruction that Matters

Years and years ago, before I had been bitten by the writing workshop bug, I became obsessed with vocabulary instruction. My school used a series of vocabulary workbooks at each grade level, and I had witnessed how that approach didn’t worked. Not for real. Not for the long term. Some students would dutifully memorize the […]