This summer is flying! I cannot believe it’s been a week since the big wind storm that knocked out power to our home. It’s been two weeks since I attended the summer writing workshop with Carl Anderson, thanks to the lovely staff at Indiana Partnership for Young Writers. Lots of learning, lots of fun, and even a tornado warning. (Spending a 1/2 hour in the basement of a school can be quite enlightening.) Carl didn’t seem to mind. We got back to writing and conferring with our “video children” quickly.

Of course, I learned a great deal about writing and conferring with young writers. I realized, however, that much of the learning in my brain was “reflective learning” — I heard the information before, but I thought about the last school year and how I could have made writing workshop better. Now that the learning is back to the forefront of my thinking, I plan to use the knowledge in a different way in the fall. These are some of the tips Carl gave that I plan to use right away next school year:

1) Writing is a slow-to-grow activity. Take it slowly.

2) Conferences are just conversations. “How’s it going?” with a goal/purpose.

3) Use the consistent, predictable structure of the conference: research, decide, teach.

4) Most of the lessons you will teach deal with focus and detail. Worry about grammar in the editing stage.

5) Ask, “What is the writer saying?” and “How does the writer go about getting his/her point across?”

6) Bonus: You should look for skills and strategies to teach — NOT how to pass the test! (My favorite.)

That was just the first day. I plan to refocus and reflect more on writing workshop in the coming weeks, as I look forward to a great new year of teaching.

Now that the power is on, I have some vacationing to do! Have a great week!