Tag Archives: Writing Instruction

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater on The Many Uses of Poetry

Poems Are Teachers book cover

"Poems explore everything. You can go anywhere," explains Amy VanDerwater, author of Poems Are Teachers . In her new book, VanDerwater argues that poems should be the backbone of writing instruction, instead of being swept under the carpet as an afterthought. She shows us that there is a poem for every kind of life experience, big or small. 

Continue reading

What Kind of Writers Do We Hope To See In Our Classrooms?

E08880_Fletcher_Bookcover_9201Adapted from the introduction to Joy Write: Cultivating High-Impact, Low-Stakes Writing, by Ralph Fletcher

In the autumn of 1983 I started in the MFA writing program at Columbia. This led to a famous first encounter, at least for me. In September I wandered uptown from 116th Street to 120th Street, walked into Teachers College, and met Lucy Calkins for the first time. She was a brand-new professor. I signed up for Lucy’s first course on the teaching of writing. Soon after that I took a position with the TC Reading and Writing Project as a consultant in New York City schools, helping teachers find wiser ways of teaching writing.

I didn’t realize it then, but more than taking an interesting job, I had embarked on my career. I have spent most of my professional life speaking, demonstrating, and writing books about the teaching of writing. Recently I ran into a teacher, a man in whose classroom I had worked twenty years earlier.

Continue reading

Supporting Convention Work in the Units of Study: Punctuation and Spelling

essaySupporting Convention Work in the Units of Study: Punctuation and Spelling

Written by Anna Gratz Cockerille

One of the bottom-line essentials of writing instruction, detailed in Chapter 3 of A Guide to the Common Core Writing Workshop, part of the Units of Study for Opinion, Information, and Narrative Writing by Lucy Calkins and colleagues, is this: 

"Children deserve to be taught explicitly how to write. Instruction matters—and this includes instruction in spelling and conventions as well as in the qualities and strategies of good writing." Further, Lucy explains, “Writing improves in a palpable, dramatic fashion when students are given explicit instruction, lots of time to write, clear goals, and powerful feedback (p.21).”

Continue reading

Writing Masters: The Essentials of Writing Instruction With Lucy Calkins


With classroom-tested tips from our Curricular Resources authors on how to improve your teaching at any grade level, each Writing Masters installment will share author insights and practical suggestions on teaching writing in the classroom that you can use the very next day. This week in the Writing Master series, Lucy Calkins asks what kind of promise you make to your students about their writing education.

“It has become increasingly clear that children’s success in many disciplines is reliant on their ability to write.”
—Lucy Calkins

Continue reading