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This morning, I’m thrilled to announce that my new book, Hacking the Writing Workshop: Redesign with Making in Mind, is now available. I’ve also asked my publisher, Mark Barnes, to offer it at a discount to those who subscribe to my blog and participate in my Facebook group. We aren’t announcing this widely, but until the eBook is complete and we’re ready for our official launch, the book is only $9.95 on Amazon. It will…

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…

Each new year in the writing workshop begins with relationship building. We establish routines and rituals that establish predictability and trust. We sink into conversations and writing experiences that help us come to know one another better. We invite writers to share their interests and needs. We let them see us, too. These are essential conversations. But I have to ask: What are the unintended consequences of inviting our students to reveal themselves at the…

In recent years, I’ve learned that it’s not enough to have vision. In order to make it a reality, we must define the learning targets that will help us achieve it with our students. This can be daunting work, as vision is often sourced from diverse places and the volume of aligned targets can be great. Sticky notes offer a solution, though. I can explain. This was a piece of today’s work with teachers in…

Last week, I shared some thoughts about emergent curriculum design and specifically, the important role that constraints might play in getting it right. In my experience, how we pursue vision is critical. In fact, it seems that one thing that distinguishes emergent curriculum design from administrator or teacher or vendor designed curricula is that it’s fueled by a truly shared vision.  This changes our intentions considerably, challenging us to consider context and nuance as we…

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to work through the design process and contemplate the relationship between making and writing with a brilliant group of teachers in Atlanta, Georgia. As we were discussing empathy, one of them made a stunning point: He said, “Empathy inspires us to really figure out what really matters to US as teachers and why we’re teaching to begin with.” My friend Ellen often reminds me that empathy isn’t all…

It’s launch time in most of the schools that I support. Teachers are welcoming writers into new spaces, establishing routines, and filling their hearts and minds with renewed promise: This year, we will become writers. We’re always becoming, aren’t we? We’re always beginning again. This year, I’m celebrating twenty five years of launching writing workshop. Of course, twenty five years ago, no one was using the word launch to describe the beginning of a new…

I’ve just returned home from an incredible week with writers and teachers from Chappaqua Central School District. They hosted a Make Writing Pop-Up event that brought all of us into a shared community. Kids wrote from 8:30 until noon, teachers engaged in lesson study around and among them, and we reserved the afternoon for professional conversations and learning. I left with a spinning head, a full heart, and a reminder of this simple truth: It’s one…

Earlier this week, I shared this matrix for designing rich learning experiences, and a bunch of people asked what each dimension of the 2×2 might look like inside of a writing workshop. So, I made this tonight. I’m traveling a bunch this week, so this post is short and late, but it’s up! I’m wondering how it sits with you. How might your students pursue rich learning experiences of their own? Come talk with me about this…

On Tuesday, I shared a visual intended to help teachers conceptualize the whole of a writing workshop year before sharing a unit framework that middle level teachers might use to investigate social justice beside their students. Today, I’d like to show you the dashboard behind this kind of unit design. Those who have worked with me inside of writing workshops and studios are sometimes surprised to learn that I’m a fan of standards and other clear…