PUSD Writing Project - Volume 1 Issue 20 - February 1, 2016

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Dear Trailblazers

This week we were on fire with collaboration!

Teachers took time out of their busy schedules on Monday to collaborate as a Trailblazer community at Writing Lab at Norma Coombs Elementary School. We studied the importance of mentor texts in writing instruction and how to best use them to teach into specific qualities of writing. See photos below.

Coaches and CRTs took time out of their demanding schedules on Thursday to collaborate as a Trailblazer community as we visited a K-5 demonstration school in Huntington Park to see balanced literacy - and reading and writing workshop in particular - in action during year 4 of implementation. We then traveled back home to McKinley TK-8 School of the Arts to see what this workshop environment looks like during year 1 of implementation. We also spent our afternoon studying the architecture of a minilesson and collaborating about how we can best support the brave, bold teachers at our schools who are and will be piloting this important work.

Through this collaboration, you continue to inspire us. Our district is full of educators who are on fire with learning and making great efforts to light fires and fan flames within each of our school communities. We look forward to designing more opportunities for us to come together and collaborate as a community.

Jamie & Alyson

Writing Workshop February Goals

  • To demonstrate your own writing and process as a writer -- the good, the bad, and the ugly -- during your minilessons and conferences.
  • To build students' stamina and volume as writers.

Shout Outs

Check out what's happening in workshops across PUSD! Keep sending us photos from your classrooms and schools to share with our community each week.

Studying a Workshop Demo School

This Trailblazer Teacher-Leader Team takes a trip to Huntington Park to visit a K-5 demonstration school for balanced literacy, including reading and writing workshop.

Together, we closely examined the teaching methods of both a 1st and 5th grade teacher during reading and writing workshop. We also engaged in a special Instructional Round using a Building Walk-through Workshop Learning Environment tool from Teachers College Reading & Writing Project. We visited every K-5 classroom and gained new ideas to bring back and share with our teachers and school leaders.

Special thanks to the following CRTs and Coach who were able to be part of this learning experience with Jamie:

  • Tina Chan, Mandarin TOSA
  • Jason Green, Franklin CRT
  • Hanh Le, Field CRT
  • Alan Lebada, Field Teacher
  • Lindsay Lewis, Sierra Madre CRT
  • Debra Lucas, Instructional Coach


Two Writing Teachers' Blog is a favorite of place to go for inspiration on living the Writing Workshop life. One of our goals for February is "to demonstrate our own writing and writing as a process". Two years ago, I challenged myself (Alyson) to join in the March Slice of Life Writing Challenge. It was a fabulous opportunity to grow as a writer and to push myself to write daily. Below are the sign-ups for the Slice of Life Challenge and the Classroom Slice of Life Story Challenge. I will be signing up for this year's challenge and hope that a few of you might consider joining in as well.

Websites & Blogs Worth Following

Columbia University's Teachers College Reading & Writing Project has a collection of classroom videos on Vimeo that take you inside reading and writing workshops at various grade levels. Check them out here:


Important Dates - Mark Your Calendars!!!


Join us for our FINAL 2015-2016 Trailblazer Writing Lab for the 2015-16 school year. More information to come soon regarding location and specific goals.

April 18, 2016 ~ Writing Lab #4: Student Work & Resource Share

WRITING UNIT PLANNING RELEASE TIME (see calendar invite for details)

February 8, 2016 ~ Wilson & McKinley Grades 6-8 (@ McKinley Room 109)

February 16, 2016 ~ McKinley Grade 3

February 17, 2016 ~ Norma Coombs Grades 1, 2, 4, 5

February 18, 2016 ~ Madison Grades K to 2

Note: If you don't see your school or grade level listed, we're likely still working out the details.