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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,…

“But how is that writing?” he asked, and I got it. I get it. This doesn’t look like writing, does it? And his question is one we should all be asking, make writing friends. In recent weeks, I’ve explored why we might want to use loose parts in our writing workshops and classrooms. I’ve also shared a bit about how. I haven’t blogged about transitioning makers to print, though. This post is for those of…

If you’ve been hanging out in the Building Better Writers Facebook group this month, then you know that I’ve been sharing daily posts intended to help teachers of all grade and experience levels design a beautiful narrative writing experience for their students.  Each day, I’ve shared unit plans, mini-lesson ideas, mentor text ideas, and professional resources worth contemplating.  I’ve also started conversations about equity.  Join us if you haven’t, and let me know how I…

When I was a fellow in Communities for Learning, Leading Lasting Change, I learned a great deal about seeking representation. “Who will be most affected by the shift you’re making?” I was asked. “How do you plan to assess their needs and interests and include them in the planning?” These questions came back to me as I began planning to plan a new standards based grading and reporting initiative a few months ago, and they…

Over the last ten years, I’ve facilitated district-wide shifts to standards based grading numerous times. As I prepare to begin again in a new-to-me school district, the memories of those professional experiences aren’t the ones rising to the top of my consciousness, though. I’m thinking about how standards based grading helped me parent better. I actually wrote a tiny bit about that on this blog, way back when. My daughter Nina was in fifth grade. She…

Two weeks ago, I invited writing teachers far and wide to share their biggest workshop dilemmas with me! Okay, if I’m being honest, I asked a bunch of people who recently read Make Writing to share their biggest workshop dilemmas with me. BUT! They did not disappoint! I also think that their responses will leave some of you nodding your weary heads. “My mini-lessons go too long,” many told me. “My feedback is mess,”…

Schools have become increasingly skilled at gathering data about learners–particularly quantitative data in the form of standardized and local test scores. But these data often fail to communicate the most essential information that teachers need in order to serve students well. These data help us develop hunches about what students struggle with. They don’t really help us understand why, though. This is why story matters. More than tools to engage listeners, story teaches all of us…

This post is my fifth and last in a series about organizational story writing.  In the first post, I described the form and spoke about why organizational story writing matters.  In the second post, I shared my approach for facilitating a listening session.  The third post defined story writing as more than a mere marketing tool. It’s a process that leads to individual growth and organizational improvement.  The fourth post focused on the importance of…

This post is the fourth in a series on organizational story writing: The first post defined why organizational story writing matters. The second included the interest survey and listening session protocol that I use with new clients during the pre-writing phase of the work. My third post framed story writing as a learning opportunity that can inspire improved leadership and organizational growth.  Each of these posts includes links out to other helpful resources and tools…

This post is the third in my organizational story writing series. In the first post, I defined the form and shared ten reasons why organizational story writing matters.  Then, I introduced a current client, Jackie James Creedon, in my second post. Here, I included the interest survey that I ask most clients to complete ahead of our work as well as the approach and tools that I use when conducting my initial listening session. These first meetings…