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Yesterday was my work anniversary! One year ago, I accepted a position as an instructional designer at Daemen College. I’ve been designing a sociolinguistics course that I’ll be teaching remotely soon as well, and I get to teach advanced composition again! If you would have told me one year ago that my life would look anything like it does today, I wouldn’t have believed you. And I’m profoundly grateful for where I am right now.…

This week’s post is written especially for those who are making writing with their students and eager to elevate the quality of what writers build, before they help them transition to print. What do I mean by MAKING writing? Well, this is what I mean.  And why would we do this, anyway? I offer some brief thoughts on this here. —————————————————————————————————————————– If you’ve been experimenting with making inside of your own writing workshop or classroom,…

An important note, ahead of today’s post: There are different kinds of writing workshop teachers, in my experience: Those who are wanting a clearer path, those who are walking one (often in very good company), and those whose rich and varied experiences have called them to wander a bit, even as they carve a careful course for their students. And in an ideal world, with their students.  Those are the workshop teachers whose wisdom inspires…

Greetings to all who plan to join me on Tuesday, November 7th for a quick conversation about making and writing and learning from our students! If you’re interested in participating in this webinar but have not yet registered, you may do so right here. In an effort to make the evening as worthwhile as possible, I welcome all participants to share their greatest interests and needs with me through this online survey. Feel free to…

I’ve spent much of the summer working with teachers who are eager to integrate making and writing but uncertain where to begin. This is what I tell them:  I tell them that making must elevate writing, otherwise it will merely replace it. And writing matters. I tell them that we need frameworks that help us see how making and writing can connect inside of our classrooms and workshops. Making writing looks like play, but it’s purposeful.…

In Make Writing, I share the three layer design process that I’ve used each time I’ve set up my own makerspaces or helped school districts develop their own: First we establish the substructure of the space, which is prepared before we open the doors of the space. Then, we assess the needs and interests of the makers we serve during the start-up phase, which begins when the kids walk in the door. As individual writers begin to…

Guess what? I wrote a book! That’s right: Make Writing: 5 Teaching Strategies that Turn Writers Workshop into a Maker Space debuted Friday and quickly became an Amazon Best Seller. A big thank you to everyone at the WNY Young Writers Studio for being an important part of this project, and hats off to editor Ruth Arseneault, cover designer Tracey Henterly, and interior designer Steven Plummer for their careful attention and incredible work. I’m grateful to Mark Barnes…

“When a large and diverse set of tools is provided, a large and diverse group of makers comes out to live, work, and play.” Mark Hatch, The Maker Movement Manifesto: Rules for Innovation in the New World of Crafters, Hackers, and Tinkerers You will never have enough tools. Even if you have enough cash to purchase them in abundance and enough space to store them efficiently, you will never have enough of them. Thankfully, the…

I’m the founder of the WNY Young Writer’s Studio, a community of writers and teachers of writing just outside of Buffalo, New York. Over the last seven years, I’ve watched children and adults make writing in a variety of contexts and for a variety of purposes. Studio was born from my desire to create a kind of lab classroom for those that I support as a literacy specialist. For the last eleven years, I’ve spent…

Here’s what I know: when many young writers face sit down to confront flat, empty screens and pages, they freeze. These are the writers who experience frustration and even defeat as they wade into procedures that often feel contrived using tools that are completely intangible. Over time, these tensions perpetuate a sort of quiet trauma as well: these children begin to believe that they can’t write, and then they stop trying. All of this has…