Tips, Titles and Tools for Teachers

Instructional Resources for Writing Workshop

I can't believe we are entering the month of March! The teachers at WES will be celebrating March Madness with a nonfiction book bracket. I can't wait!

If you are interested in Skyping with an author this spring, it's not too late! I'm including a link to Kate Messner's list of authors who will schedule short, FREE Skype visits with classrooms. Let me know if you would like help arranging a virtual author visit!

In this week's newsletter, I am also sharing a few blog posts and book recommendations for writing workshop. Take a few minutes to read the blog post from Paula Bourque on creating "Look-Fors". I know we are all short on time, but I think you may all appreciate this quick and valuable strategy!

Happy Reading,


Ready for Some March Book Madness?

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On Friday, March 4, WES will kick off our March Book Madness! Teachers will have until Friday, March 18 to read the 8 books on their side of the bracket. I can't wait to see which titles move to the next round!

WES Teachers ~ I will be sending you the link to our March Madness Google Doc file for directions and your bracket assignment. We will plan to create a Google Doc of ideas for using the titles at our book talk on Thursday!

Author, Melissa Stewart, also shared a rating guide with us to help your students make an informed decision between two nonfiction titles! See her link here:

Skyping with Authors

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On Friday morning, Valerie's fourth grade class Skyped with Dana Alison Levy, author of The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher as part of World Read Aloud Day. Dana read a chapter from her book to the class and answered questions from the students. She told us about her writing process and her life as an author. Finally, she took the time to share a few of her new book recommendations with the kids. It was AWESOME (and FREE)! I highly recommend that you check out Kate Messner's link of authors who are willing Skype with a classroom for 15-20 minutes for free! (Some authors have limited availability, but it's worth checking out!) Let me know if I can help!

New Blog Posts from Two Writing Teachers

Instant Minilesson Follow-Up from Elizabeth Moore

The essential elements of a writing minilesson, as well as suggestions for engaging and informally assessing students.

Looking At Student Writing from Dana Murphy

Suggestions for comparing two pieces of student writing for growth and topics for instruction. (Perfect for this time of year with parent conferences!)

Student Writing Reflection from Deb Frazier

Ideas for encouraging students to reflect on their writing using the prompt, "Tell me what you noticed about yourself as a writer."

The Importance of "Look Fors"

Why We Need Look-Fors

An excellent blog post by Paula Bourque

Often we hang student work in the hallway or on a bulletin board to celebrate the writing process or the final product. A "Look-For" is a way of drawing the audience's attention (parents, teachers, other students, etc.) to a particular element of the piece. It's a way of sharing the 'behind the scenes' work that is behind the artifact on display. Your Look-Fors can be particular learning targets, but they can also be created by the students. What does the child want us to "look for"or notice in his or her writing piece?

Paula has excellent questions and suggestions in her blog post! I highly encourage you to take a few minutes to read it. I think you will find Look-Fors to be an easy-to-implement strategy that encourages your students to be more reflective!

Check out Paula's Gallery of Look-Fors with photographs from elementary classrooms!

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I'm looking forward to reading Paula's new book! Let me know if you would like to check it out!

Mentor Text Recommendations

Shelly Moody

Instructional Coach, K-5

Atwood Primary School

Williams Elementary School