Every single time I talk about teaching writing, someone will ask me, "How do you get your students to revise their writing?" Well, I don't really give them a choice. That's not too helpful! Let me explain... First, what is revising? When I first started teaching, I thought that revising and editing were synonyms. I didn't understand why they were two different steps in the writing process when they meant the same thing. #roughfirstyearteacher  Revising and editing are not the same. Revising: things we do to make our story sound better can take days or even weeks to completely revise a piece includes things like making our lead stronger, adding examples to support our reasons, adding more descriptive words, etc. Editing: things we can do to make our story look better can take a day or two to complete includes things like fixing misspelled words, correcting punctuation, and capitalizing proper nouns If you need some tips about helping s...
When I first started teaching, I used to take a few students' writing journals home to edit each night. I would spend my evenings marking up mistakes in my students' writing. I would then meet with them the next day to discuss what they needed to fix. I would do this every single night! When I did this, we mostly focused on spelling, grammar, and other mechanical errors. I made spelling very important because, at the time, I thought it was the most important skill. Well, I found that my students did not respond well to this type of editing (like they started to hate writing and were scared of the color red) and changes needed to be made. I made a big change. I decided to stop editing my students' work. Instead, I found ways to teach students to edit their own work. 5 Reasons I Don't Edit Student Writing It is too time consuming! Taking your students' writing home every single night is draining. You need time in the evenings to refresh and take ca...
Teachers in my Facebook groups are always asking for suggestions for what they should have their students write about. They always get a big list of ideas, but I am the crazy one who says: "Let them write about whatever they want to write about!" That scares the begeebers out of some teachers! I have to be real with you, it scared me too. It scared me real bad. I like having control. I like things to be just so. I didn't want to let go because I didn't know if my kids would come up with good topics or if I would be able to help them with their pieces when I knew nothing about the topic.  These are all very legitimate excuses. But they are just excuses. Once you take the leap and get out of your comfort zone, you and your writers will grow by leaps and bounds!  You can read my top three reasons for ditching the prompts and the questions I get asked most often, or you can listen to the same information on this podcast. 1. The Qualit...
As you may already know, I am a huge proponent of the writer's workshop model in the classroom. But finding time for writing workshop can be tricky. When I asked teachers in my Facebook groups what their biggest challenge was when teaching writing, most said it is finding the time to teach it.  I believe that you need at least 30 minutes  for  writing instruction, but  45 minutes is preferred. This can be tricky for some of us to fit in to our daily schedule! I totally get that. It’s easy to say, “I can’t come up with that time.” But are you willing to try? Are you willing to do something different? Are you ready to get creative?  All of these solutions will not work for all of you, but maybe you are able to find one or two that will help you  find the time needed for writing instruction. Let's jump in with an open mind. If you prefer to listen to my ideas, you can listen to my podcast. Otherwise, keep reading. Your first step... Write ou...