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Reflecting on Bringing Words to Life: Evidence-Based Vocabulary Instruction in Grades K–2

Evidence-based vocabulary instruction in practice. We unpack 3 key recommendations from Dr. Beck’s approach to teaching vocabulary in grades K–2 and draw connections from research to classroom practice.

Jan 13, 2023  |  By Jeremy Hyler & Kristy Rauch
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Deepening the Classroom Writing Community Through Collaborative Writing

Collaborative writing is a practice that supports both student engagement and growth in writing skills. In this post we will highlight how we built collaboration when teaching a specific writing strategy, sentence combining.

Nov 23, 2022  |  By Troy Hicks & Jeremy Hyler
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Establishing a Classroom Writing Community: Three Essential Elements

For decades, teachers of writing have understood that intentionally building a classroom writing community is far more than just a way to help students work well with classmates and stay engaged, though these are worthwhile outcomes, too. In fact we know—both through our own action research and from empirical studies of numerous classrooms—that learning to write within a writing community is what ultimately leads to the success of individual writers.

Nov 1, 2022  |  By Jeremy Hyler & Troy Hicks
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Personal Narrative in Being a Writer: Telling the Stories of Our Lives

Sometimes students struggle with examining their lives in the deep and powerful manner it takes to write effective personal narratives. One of my students, Laura, exclaimed in frustration one afternoon, “Mrs. D., you have 50+ years of memories. I only have 11. How can I reflect like you do?”

May 9, 2022  |  By Kathy King-Dickman
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Leader Spotlight: Paula Kavalec, Principal, Falcon Elementary School, Colorado Springs, CO

We are noticing that Collaborative Classroom programs are aligned with developmentally appropriate approaches, and our students are developing a strong reading foundation due to the explicit instruction and a variety of opportunities to apply skills.

Mar 29, 2022  |  By Andreia Simon
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The Power and Joy of Following the Opinion Writing Units Found in Being a Writer —Part Two

In Part One of this two-part blog series, I discussed the importance of teaching students the Opinion Writing genre and explored the goals of the Being a Writer Opinion…

Mar 24, 2022  |  By Kathy King-Dickman
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The Power and Joy of Following the Opinion Writing Units Found in Being a Writer— Part One

Children love to voice their opinions, and when taught how, will often share them in writing. Some will even share their written viewpoints with very little instruction or…

Mar 3, 2022  |  By Kathy King-Dickman
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Being a Writer Educator Spotlight: Lindsay Young, North Branch, MI

In this spotlight, we highlight Lindsay Young, third grade language arts teacher at North Branch Elementary School, Michigan. Lindsay has been implementing Being a Writer for two years…

Feb 8, 2022
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Facing the Shadows, Moving Toward Grace: Best Practices for Equity in Writing Instruction

Words belong to everyone and no one. When we write, we’re taking a seat at the communal table—sharing a poem, arguing a point, telling a story, laughing and weeping, responding vociferously or reflecting on others’ contributions. Everyone deserves a place at the table.

Sep 30, 2021  |  By Sarah Rosenthal
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School Leader Spotlight: Christie Graves, North Rose-Wolcott Elementary, New York

We’re honored to spotlight Christie Graves, the Assistant Principal at North Rose-Wolcott Elementary School in North Rose, NY. In this interview, she shares her experiences implementing Collaborative Literacy and SIPPS (Systematic Instruction in Phonological Awareness, Phonics, and Sight Words).

Apr 19, 2021  |  By Katy Cortelyou
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The Power of Conferring and Collaborating with Peers

I will never forget listening in on a peer conference with second grader Cruz and his writing partner more than two decades ago. Cruz had just finished reading…

Jan 25, 2021  |  By Kathy King-Dickman
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Writing Conferences, Part Two: Seven Common Struggles

As I admitted in Part One of this two-part blog series, early in my career, I didn’t confer often. If I did, it was only every once in…

Nov 24, 2020  |  By Beth Winschuh
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Writing Conferences, Part One: Getting Honest About the Struggle

The beautiful part of writing is that you don’t have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon. You can always do it better,…

Nov 3, 2020  |  By Beth Winschuh
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Being a Writer to the Rescue: One District’s Response to Virtual Teaching

In March 2020 school districts across the United States announced closure, and teachers left their classrooms at the end of the day without resources, initially believing that they…

Oct 13, 2020  |  By Stephanie Milligan
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A Conversation about Writing Instruction with Elyse Eidman-Aadahl of the National Writing Project

The executive director of the National Writing Project discusses best practices in writing instruction and the NWP's role in the development of the Being a Writer program.

Oct 6, 2020  |  By Elyse Eidman-Aadahl
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Celebrating Growth: Students Reflect on Their Reading and Writing

“This is the gold we work for—we are crafting lifelong readers and writers!” —Morgan Huber The 2019–2020 school year was Morgan Huber’s first year teaching Collaborative Literacy to…

Jun 18, 2020  |  By Leona Hunt
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Authentic Connections: Peer Conferring with Google Docs

At some point in the past couple of weeks, all of us were expected to work and teach from home. It has been a sudden transition. I thought…

Apr 1, 2020  |  By Isabel Sawyer
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Being a Writer: Powerful Writing Instruction for Older Writers – Part Three: Assessments

This is the third part of a three-part blog series that highlights the power of Being a Writer instruction. You can read Part One: Immersion and Drafting here. You can…

Mar 10, 2020  |  By Kathy King-Dickman
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Being a Writer: Powerful Writing Instruction for Older Writers – Part Two: Revision, Proofreading, and Publishing

This three-part blog series highlights the power of Being a Writer instruction. You can read Part One: Immersion and Drafting here. Part Three will cover assessments in the program. Revision…

Feb 26, 2020  |  By Kathy King-Dickman
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Understanding the Purpose of the Read-Aloud in Making Meaning and Being a Writer

If you currently teach any of our Collaborative Classroom programs, you know that we appreciate the value of a read-aloud to support student learning across all instruction. In…

Feb 19, 2020  |  By Stacey Abeyta & Katie Fuchs
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