Reading Teacher Writes

Sharing a love of literacy with fellow readers and writers

Slice of Life Tuesday: Purposeful PD is Powerful


Purposeful PD is Powerful. I’m all about getting together — whether it’s eating lunch, traveling to an interesting new place, or meeting with fellow staff at a team meeting, I like socializing with others. But when that meeting happens because everyone wants to learn something new and improve their teaching…Wow!

Our professional development this month is based on helping our students improve writing skills. Many teachers are looking for ways to improve test scores, but we really want our students to think of themselves as writers and write well because they are sending a message to an audience. Thank goodness we have many mentor authors (and illustrators!) to guide us, and we have Jeff Anderson and Whitney LaRocca’s new book, Patterns of Power, to push us towards our goal. Jeff and Whitney are excellent teachers; I was the PD facilitator today at each grade-level team meeting. We had engaging conversations around this “powerful” professional title and learned a great deal about how to teach writing conventions using “invitations” (created by Jeff Anderson).

What do we notice about our students’ writing (in general), and how can we help them to write better sentences/paragraphs/texts? We followed Jeff’s “invitation to notice” a mentor sentence. We noticed that pauses came with commas, names had capital letters, and that “when” and “if” are “comma-causer” words, indicating that the sentence was not complete. Then came the “invitation to imitate.” This time was used to thoughtfully create sentences like the mentors. We discussed how students might do this in classrooms. We finished today by talking about “focus phrases,” a term coined first by Terry Thompson in The Construction Zone (another fabulous professional book).

Staff members are looking forward to next week, when we continue discussing the Invitational Process, and trying Patterns of Power lessons with students.

Thank you Jeff and Whitney! We appreciate your guidance!

(Patterns of Power book image from



Author: Jennifer Sniadecki

I write about literacy education and my love for reading and writing. My passion is sharing titles I use for school libraries, classroom collaborations, and professional development. My goal is to collaborate, research, and share with other life-long literacy learners. Welcome to my blog!

4 thoughts on “Slice of Life Tuesday: Purposeful PD is Powerful

  1. It is such a great book, such a powerful strategy! Added power for teachers to come together to study it and try it out!

  2. Loved PD when we did and learned strategies that really help kids to improve. I love this line: but we really want our students to think of themselves as writers and write well because they are sending a message to an audience…so important. xo

  3. Love Jeff Anderson and his approach to grammar! It will be interesting to see how the teachers take to it and apply it.

  4. PD for teachers is an opportunity to become a learner again. I always applaud every PD moment. As for the book you chose to read, I have been wanting to read this book by Jeff. I did read Terry’s book and presented with him and Debbie Diller at NCTE one year. What a great experience that was. Jeff is a veteran grammar instruction and this new book sounds like it spices up the mechanics.

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