Out of This World Literacy : Blogging From Boston...Day One
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Blogging From Boston...Day One

Hello Friends!  I am coming to you from Cambridge, MA this week as I am spending the week at Lesley University.  As a Literacy Collaborative Coordinator, I head to Boston for a week of professional development in literacy every year.

I’m planning a Top 10 blog post about my new thinking at the end of each day.  We are talking about literacy instruction this week, specifically on guided reading and genre studies in writing.  There is also a lot of talk about the Common Core State Standards as well. 

Here are my TOP 10 things I am thinking about tonight:

1. This idea comes from Carl Anderson’s work in Assessing Writers.  Let’s stop calling the time before a rough draft ‘prewriting.’  Our students are in fact writing.  Let’s call it ‘rehearsing’ instead.

2. What do we, as teachers, understand about writing?  And what do we teach our students about writing?

3. What does an effective writing process look like? 

4. Let’s take some time to watch students writing and assess what they do.  Are they rereading their work?  Do they spend some time rehearsing or do they jump right into a rough draft?  How is their writing stamina?  These are just a few of the questions we can answer about our students as writers when we observe the process.

5. The most important thing we can teach our young learners is to see themselves as writers…real writers who have something important to say that matters to this world!

6. As teachers, we need to accept that writing can get messy.  We have to be okay with lots of marks, fixes, corrections, do-overs.

7. Just like students learn math differently, they all have their own approach to the writing process.  We need to teach different ways writers write and give students the options to try what works for them as writers.

8. To have an effective writing process, kids need flexibility.  They need to be able to try new approaches to their writing.

9. Our young writers MUST have a strong sense of audience and purpose so that they can see their writing as not just another assignment, but rather as something of great value not only for themselves but for their future audience. 

10. Teachers NEED to be writers in order to teach writing!

That’s my TOP 10 for today…let me know your thoughts.  Hopefully there is at least one idea in here for you to think about.  Happy Monday!


  1. I like the suggestions for questions to ask about our writers while we observe them. Have a great week in Boston! Jealous that you get a week-long training. I love trainings!

    Ladybugs Lounge

    1. Thanks Rebecca! That is something I am thinking a lot about. How much time do I spend actually observing my students in the writing process? I can't wait to get back to school and watch them carefully when they are writing. It will be eye-opening I'm sure:)


  2. Welcome to my neck of the woods! I am a special educator in Boston :)

    As a teacher of writing, I find that is very hard for me to slow down and teach the fundamentals for writing. My students are currently at the parts of speech level, and while they have so many ideas, they are not at the step of formally writing these thoughts and stories as it pertains to the writing process that we so often teach to students. I am learning everyday the best ways to engage my students and tell myself, that these skills I am teaching them are benefitting in the long run of their writing careers :)

    Enjoy your time here -- you've come during a nice, mild week :)

    Mindful Rambles

    1. Thank you Rae!

      I especially like what you said about how you are learning about your students as writers every day. I think that is so important for teachers to think about. I try to teach my students the tools writers use and then give them the freedom to try them out in their own way. Every writer has their own process of formulating thought that makes sense to them. My process may not make sense to some students, so giving them the flexibility to create writing in their own way is powerful!