“Like a good music teacher, the writing teacher endures the bad melodies and shaky rhythms, stays patient, and picks out moments when the writing works well. It might be but a sentence… It might be but a single phrase. Even in a ‘bad’ piece of writing, the mentor reaches into the chaos, finds a place where the writing works, pulls it from the wreckage, names it, and makes the writer aware of this emerging skill with words.
Careful praise of this kind can fuel a writer for a long time.”
-Ralph Fletcher, What A Writer Needs
“…every child deserves to start where he or she is as a writer
•Stretch out the words and write the sounds you hear
•Use your ABC chart
•Use the word wall
•Quietly ask someone who is near you
•Give it a try and go on
•“When you think you’re done, you’ve just begun.”
•Writers are never done… Look at Dr. Seuss
•Read over your work and add to the words or pictures.
•Start a new piece
Classroom Management for Conferring
Model how to ‘try your best and move on’
Celebrate and recognize students who work independently
Think of today’s problem as tomorrow’s mini-lesson
Create anchor charts that are relevant and kid-friendly
Use mid-workshop interruption to redirect
Have materials available for students
Model how to self-manage and share materials
Model how and when to use classroom resources
Use the teaching share to recognize independent writers
Move around the room while conferring
Types of Conferences
Getting to know you as a writer
Sets the tone
Begins the process of conferring
How to get started
Expectations & classroom procedures
How to solve problems independently
Managing writers tools
Good writing habits
Develop a story
Stretching words & other spelling strategies
Using classroom resources
Writing for readers
How is your writing going?
How can I help you with your writing?
Tell me more about…
What do you plan to do next in your writing?
How do you feel about this piece of writing?
Do you have any questions/ concerns about your writing?
Is this easy/ hard for you as a writer?
Last time we talked about… how did that go?
We’ve been working on.. can you show me where you tried that?
I’m trying to picture it like a movie in my mind…
My writing is about…
I am working on…
I need help…
I am not sure how…
I think the strongest part of my writing is…
I think the part I need to work on is…
My Video Disclaimer:
These are imperfect videos, in imperfect classrooms, taught by an imperfect teacher, with nearly perfect students. These videos are here to show one way a writing conference COULD go. There are infinitie possibilities. Often, when I go into classrooms, I do not have the opportunity to work with the same students and develop a relationship with them. As you confer on a regular basis with your students, you begin to know them and their stories and they begin to know your expectations and their role in the conference. Writing conferences are like everything else, you get better with practice!