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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.…

When we embrace diversity, we strive to make the demographic of our schools and classrooms diverse. When we embrace inclusion, we ensure that diverse people are seated at the tables where learning is happening and decisions are being made. And when we embrace equity, we create environments and cultures where diverse people can show up authentically, as their complete, and wildly diverse selves, in order to be seen and appreciated, and in order to make…

Last week, I shared some thoughts about how we might speak with makers about the things they create in our writing workshops, in order to help them improve their writing. If you’re new to these parts, then you might be wondering: Why would anyone make anything other than words in workshop? Well, because quite a few of us who have been doing this teaching writing thing for quite some time now have found that when…

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,…

“Because she laughs so much, and when she laughs, it’s like music,” she explained when I asked her why she’d built a series of music notes to represent her grandmother. Fifth graders were developing characters for their personal narratives in that day’s writing workshop. “What kind of music?” I wondered aloud. “Gospel,” she said, without hesitation. “Her laughter is big and loud and rockin’. It makes everyone stop and listen. Yeah, it’s definitely gospel.” I…

This week, I had the opportunity to make and write personal narratives with writers and teachers from Fieldstone Middle School in North Rockland, New York. And I thought I’d share that process with you, so that you may iterate on it and share your own ideas and work back with the rest of us. We’ve been talking about narrative writing all month in my Facebook group, Building Better Writers, and I know that at least…

There are many reasons and many ways to make writing in our classrooms and workshops. And there are many things that should give us pause here, too.  For instance, if making isn’t elevating the writer in our students or the writing that they produce, I question whether we should be sacrificing writing time to it. But.  If you know me well, then you know that I also spend a bit of time questioning what it…

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,”…

“I miss my house,” she told me. “I came here from Puerto Rico with my family, after the storm.” I nodded and laid my eyes on her build. “I never thought my house was that nice,” she said. “I thought it was really ugly. I never thought it was anything I’d miss.” She’d built herself standing next to her home. She’d built the hurricane, crushing down around her. She’d built her broken heart, her healing…

This is the third in a series of reflections made upon my return from a study tour of Reggio Emilia schools. You may find the other posts here, as I complete them. Print is one language, but there are so many others, and when we offer children the option to learn and communicate with them, the understandings and theories they share expand far beyond the boundaries that print creates. And it does. I can’t tell…