Reading Teacher Writes

Sharing a love of literacy with fellow readers and writers


Slice of Life Tuesday: Week of Writing with Carl Anderson

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!




Slice of Life Tuesday: Lifelong Learning

I love being called a lifelong learner! I am extremely honored to be in the company of Carl Anderson this week at the Indiana Partnership for Young Writers summer institute. I am half jealous/half living vicariously through my pals who are attending various reading and writing summer institutes this week. We all travel to the ends of the earth for one purpose: to learn. Fabulous!

I remember the first time I went to New York to take part in a summer reading workshop — my gracious cousin invited me to Teachers College. I was overwhelmed and overjoyed. My family made fun of me, saying, “It’s like you think you’re going to hang out with celebrities.” Well, yeah! Lucy Calkins, Kylene Beers, Lester Laminack, and all the other literary geniuses I met are celebrities!

Now each year, I look forward to my “vacation learning experience.” I guess I’m the literary “groupie.” I’m so happy that there are so many of you out there just like me.

Have a great time learning. And…share your notes!



Slice of Life Tuesday: Now That School’s Out…

Now that school is out for the summer I am working through my “to-do” list of items I left on the back burner. First, get away from home, to a quiet place, and read and write more. Yes!  Two days in a row now, I have read books for the #bookaday challenge. I heard about this through several friends on Twitter, and decided to take the plunge, into books! It’s been a wonderful “waste of time!” Lol

I planned next week, too. I will be at Butler University for the writing workshop with Carl Anderson! I cannot wait to be a learner again — and I’m jealous of all of you attending the TCRWP summer institutes! So this is my back-up plan. It’s a good one, yes?

Then I will drive south to visit my best friend. I haven’t seen her in soooo long! It will be fantastic to catch up.

Last, but not least, I must prepare for school again in August! It seems hard to believe that summer is flying by so fast. I hope to rest and get a little more sun before the new group of students enter Room 138.