Professional Development Possibilities

Conferences and Workshops

I offer workshop sessions and keynotes for conferences. Recently, I presented for RRCNA with two colleagues. We talked about building communities of readers through read alouds, book talks, and book clubs. I presented virtually with colleagues this February for KSLA Delaware Valley. In 2020, I did several workshops at the Write to Learn Conference in Missouri – just before covid closed travel and many conference activities. Two years ago, I traveled to Birmingham, Alabama for the Mid-South Reading and Writing Conference where I delivered  a keynote, “Close Reading: What It Means for a Writer” and a session focused on using nonfiction mentor texts in the classroom.  Then I traveled to Austin, Texas to present at USSBY on raising social awareness with diverse picture books. I enjoy being busy and often do a morning and afternoon session or sessions over two days.

At conferences, my sessions include how to use mentor texts to help students become more successful writers. For schools, I offer sessions on all the types of writing and how to use mentor texts to imagine the possibilities. Specific workshops include:

  • building content with nonfiction mentor texts,
  • understanding organizational patterns,
  • building a writer’s identity,
  • building a reading community with read alouds, book talks, and book clubs
  • embedding grammar and mechanics instruction into writing workshop and across the day,
  • how to use a writer’s notebook (finding topics to write about),
  • peer conferring,
  • tips for quick and easy ways to use formative assessment daily,
  • small group instruction in writer’s workshop,
  • revision, the heart of writing workshop,
  • the writing classroom, grades K-2,
  • writing in the content areas for grades 6 – 8,
  • reading in the content areas for grades 4 – 8,
  • poetry mentor texts – making reading & writing connections.

Professional development days are often tailored to a district’s needs. Organizing and maintaining writing workshop, writing in the content areas, developing a literacy approach that makes sense for everyone, using mentor texts to support and develop student writers, grammar and mechanics instruction across the day, building vocabulary and developing a love of words, using poetry to build readers and writers, and formative assessment tools are some of the most current topics requested by schools and districts.  Sometimes, a professional development day is followed with several days in the classroom to consult with teachers, co-teach and plan, or demonstrate with model lessons. For the last several years, I have been in one district as a literacy coach for middle school ELA, social studies, and science teachers. It has been a wonderful experience.  Additionally, I was in several districts throughout the year to model writing lessons in grades K-5 and instruction and demonstration lessons for text dependent analysis. Right now, I am able to be part of some writing classrooms, attending virtually through Zoom and Google classroom. 

I have three wonderful co-authors: Rose Cappelli, Diane Dougherty, and Stacey Shubitz. Rose and I have written three books on mentor texts. In May, the second edition of Mentor Texts: Teaching Writing Through Children’s Literature.  Diane and I co-authored Grammar Matters and our newest book, A Closer Look: learning More About Our Writers with Formative Assessment.  Welcome to Writing Workshop is out this March 2019 with Stacey Shubitz.  This book is a great addition to texts for undergraduate students and preservice teachers. It will support new teachers who want to support a writing workshop in their classroom. Video clips and specific descriptions of key components of workshop make this book user-friendly and helpful. All the books are published by Stenhouse.

Two additional projects are also in the works for a book about reading workshop and a book about raising social awareness with quality literature. I hope to be able to share more about them with you this summer.