Category: Writing

Review of Ron Berger’s Beautiful Work

Guest Author: Tracy Williams – Follow her on Twitter: @trawill14 She’s an elementary teacher who has a passion for developing student writers, and empowering their voice through quality feedback. She has developed a related resource to help other teachers in their thinking to support their students: Feedback Screencast. Here is what she has to say, inspired …

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10 Writing Strategies to Differentiate So ALL Students Can Write

Writing is such an important skill set that requires a combination of honed skills and physical stamina to complete drafts and turn them into published products. Even though writing is an important part of professional life and work, it is likely that many people lack confidence, skills, and/or stamina to write well. This may be …

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RAFTs – Engaging to Differentiating Writer’s Voice

In a previous series of posts I wrote about RAFTs, a powerful strategy that engages students into writing, a means to coach students to improve writing, and an approach that when differentiated helps students at varying skills to success at a respectful pace. By popular demand, what follows are all 3 articles in one blog …

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Game ON – How kids want to learn

Game ON – How kids want to learn by John McCarthy, Ed.S. This past spring my two teenagers got me involved in playing Clash of Clans. It’s a game played on smart phones and tablets. It’s free, which is a major criteria for my cost-conscious kids, followed by if it captures their attention. Clash of …

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RAFTs – Differentiated for Learner Success

In the previous two articles, we explored RAFTs (Role, Audience, Format, and Topic + Strong Verb) as an instructional strategy, and how to use RAFTs for coaching writers on writing. RAFTs can ignite engagement and context for learning. Planned with forethought, students can explore a need or problem that exists in the world beyond the …

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RAFTs: Coaching Writing Tips

During workshops, I sometimes survey the teachers in the room: Rate yourself on a 5 pt scale. A five equals, “I can write for publication with confidence.” A one equals, “I do not like to write, preferring to avoid it when I can.” Yes, I know… rating scales should avoid an odd number range because …

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RAFTing the Writing Rapids

How do you get students engaged into writing? Sometimes this question feels like an exercise in futility, used as for abstract debate for the sake of venting frustration. But there are times when the answer to this question is simple: Make the writing interesting and meaningful. Some people like to write. Lots of people like …

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Writer’s Block Breakthrough

There comes a time after a lesson when the students are directed to write on a topic. An enlightened teacher will give students choices or let the learners choose their own topic. But often times, there are students, sometimes most, who can’t seem to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. The reasons for …

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Inspiring the Writer in everyone

The Window activity was taught to me by Sally Jessup, my close friend and colleague. She had a gift for recognizing in others a capacity that they did not always see in themselves. The Window activity, as she designed it, is a powerful tool for inspiring writing in all people. She understood that writing skills …

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Communication = Voice

Student voice in learning is a reoccurring topic for me. At every workshop I do, voice becomes an integrated action item that teachers grapple with. This was the case during my sessions at the PBL World Conference in Napa, CA. Fostering student voice is a critical key to enabling them to effect their learning experiences. …

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