Professional Development

Conferences and Workshops

I offer workshop sessions and keynotes for conferences. Recently, 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.  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. I offer sessions on all the types of writing and how to use mentor texts to imagine the possibilities. Specific workshops on building content with nonfiction mentor texts, understanding organizational patterns, building a writer’s identity, 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, and tips for quick and easy ways to use formative assessment daily are a few of my favorite conference sessions.

Professional development days are often tailored to a district’s needs. Organizing and maintaining writing workshop, writing in the content areas, developing a balanced literacy approach, 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.

Although I am willing to come by myself, I do 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.  Currently, I am working on Welcome to Writing Workshop with Stacey.  This book will be out in January 2019.  All the books are publshed by Stenhouse.  Another project is also in the works. I hope to be able to share more about it with you this summer.