Writing workshop can seem a big mountain to climb when you’re just getting started. But in thousands of districts around the country, dedicated educators and instructional leaders just like you are making it happen—one step at a time. Jessie Miller is one such leader. Throughout her career as an educator, she’s been a strong believer in the power of effective writing instruction and the impact it can have on student achievement.
When Jessie became the curriculum coordinator for elementary English language arts and social studies for the Katy Independent School District, in Texas, writing instruction was one of the first areas she looked at—and she wasn’t satisfied with what she saw. Jessie observed that teachers were assigning writing, but they weren’t teaching writing. Now, after three years of hard work and intensive collaboration, she and her teachers have developed a district-wide focus on writing instruction that has been transformative for both teachers and students.
Lucy Calkins and her colleagues at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project have worked with hundreds of thousands of educators over the years, providing research, curriculum, and professional development to support teachers as they help their students become avid and skilled readers, writers, and inquirers. The deep reservoir of knowledge and experience that Lucy and her colleagues bring to their work has made daunting goals achievable in school districts all over the world. Granted, the process is not easy, but with the right mindset, support, and tools, they have shown again and again that it can be done.