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Finding a Reading Workshop within my Writing Workshop

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I was able to co-present at the Pennsylvania Council of Teachers of English (@PCTELANews) Conference last weekend (October 19-20) with my good friend, Dr. Jen Toney (@JENTONEY). We presented on Writing Workshops in K-12. Jen is a third grade teacher, and as I teach ninth and tenth grade, we divided the session into elementary and secondary sections after an overview. As I explained my journey to my group—including my daily class schedule (15 minutes of independent reading, 20 minutes of instruction, 45 minutes of workshop)—I got many questions on the independent reading I allow my students.
In considering how the session went, I had to inquire more with Jen on her elementary reading workshop approach because I realized that my class has independent reading as a central component (especially when students are asked to write about their writing in writing workshop), but that I do not have a true reading workshop approach.
Most of my instruction leads my students to writing about their re…

Letting Go of Stories I Love So Students Can Find Stories They Love

As I have shifted to a readers-writers workshop approach and focused more on standards-based learning, I have had to change not just how I teach but what I teach. If students are working more in class (rather than on homework or writing outside of class), I cannot fill an 80-minute block with lecture or group reading. Comprehension questions are no longer necessary as students are working on a lot of independent reading or as they are writing paragraph-length analyses. This has caused me to “lose” some stories and lessons I have enjoyed in the past.
But that’s the catch. I enjoyed them. We all know we each appreciate different stories and different concepts. When I opened my class up to choice reading and having students analyze their own texts, I had to provide more class time for this. As others have said more eloquently than me, we must make time for what we value. I want my students to love what they are reading (and, by extension, I want them to love reading), and I want my studen…

Constructing Standards-Based Rubrics in the Secondary ELA Classroom

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My Instruction and Assessment Philosophy
Over the past couple years, I have been reading into standards-based grading and “healthy” grading practices. Along with a variety of blog posts, @TG2Chat/#tg2chat and the #sblchat community, the following resources have assisted me in developing my standards-based assessment (and, in turn, instruction) philosophy:
·Grading from the Inside Outby Tom Schimmer (@TomSchimmer) ·On Your Markby Thomas R. Guskey (@tguskey) ·Assessment 3.0by Mark Barnes (@markbarnes19) ·Standards-Based Learning in Actionby Tom Schimmer (@TomSchimmer), Garnet Hillman (@garnet_hillman), and Mandy Stalets (@MandyStalets)
I believe that students must seek learning, not points, and that their grade in my course should be a reflection on that learning. To that end, I allow students to reassess to show mastery, and my workshop approach allows me to coach individual students as they work. I am still averaging scores, but my gradebook this semester will look different than it has in …