Collins Elementary

Introducing the Collins Writing Program Grades - K to 3

This is 3.5 day training with Kristine Gibson

October 19, 2017 Day One: Developing a Strong Foundation of Writing Skills Through the Collins Writing Program in the Primary Grades

This session will provide an overview of the Collins Writing Program’s Five Types of Writing as implemented at the primary grade level. Participants will learn practical strategies and techniques to help their students gain writing fluency, become comfortable thinking on paper, and develop the essential writing skills they need for future academic success in any subject area. Topics include employing the power of frequent, formative assessment and “effortful retrieval,” selecting clear focus areas in all types of writing, differentiating writing instruction to meet the needs of all learners, providing effective feedback, and exposing students to self-editing strategies and practices to encourage independence and accountability in the writing process. The strategies introduced will help students to meet the rigorous literacy demands of the PA Core while remaining developmentally appropriate for our emerging writers as they begin to build a successful and enriching writing practice.

Participants will learn how to…

  • Integrate writing into every class and content area.
  • Employ the power of frequent, formative assessment and “effortful retrieval.”
  • Select, teach, and evaluate clear and strategic focus areas in all genres of writing.
  • Build solid writing habits with emerging writers through the use of symbolic criteria and pictures.
  • Develop and expose students to self-editing and peer-editing strategies and practices.
  • Use writing as a method to differentiate instruction to meet all student learning needs and to enhance classroom discussions.
  • Implement a portfolio model to manage and assess student progress and productivity.
  • Use the Collins Writing Program as a school-wide initiative for improving students’ cross-curricular literacy.


Date: October 19, 2017

Location: CIU #10 Centre County (New Site)

Time: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm (registration begins at 8:30 am)

Cost: $150 (includes lunch and materials)

Act 48 Hours: 5.5

Register Here for Day 1 - Deadline: October 11, 2017

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January 25, 2018 Coffee with Kristine: Connect, Share, and Fine-Tune, K-3

**Prerequisite: All participants must have completed a minimum of one introductory training session on the Collins Writing Program and will be expected to bring along their Teacher Implementation Folder including samples of student work (Types 1, 2, and 3).

This half-day virtual session is the perfect follow-up to Day One training and an opportunity for those trained in 2016-17 to check in with Kristine and refresh and rejuvenate their Collins practice. Participants will be asked to bring along samples of Type 1, 2, and 3 assignments that they have completed with their students as well as curriculum materials that will assist in future panning. CIU trainers will begin the session by facilitating sharing of student samples and best practices related to Collins Writing. Kristine Gibson will join the session via an online platform to tackle questions and concerns, offer suggestions, and introduce new tips and strategies. The session will end with CIU facilitation of team and individual planning, applying the new strategies introduced.

Participants in this session will:

  • Collaborate with colleagues to share effective strategies, answer questions, and plan activities that will further their Collins implementation.
  • Address common questions and concerns using Kristine’s expertise

***Topics for this session will be pre-determined, in part, by an online survey completed by all registrants.


Date: January 25, 2018

Location: CIU #10 (Clearfield County)

Time: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

Cost: $70.00 (includes a light breakfast)

Act 48 Hours: 3

Register Here for Coffee with Kristine - Deadline: January 17, 2018

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March 7, 2018 Day Two: Meeting the Challenges of the PA Core, Sentence Building, and Essential Conventions with the Collins Writing Program, Grades K-3

**Prerequisite: All participants must have completed a minimum of one introductory training session on the Collins Writing Program and will be expected to bring along their Teacher Implementation Folder including samples of student work (Types 1, 2, and 3).

Designed as an extension of our introductory workshop, in this two-fold workshop, participants will deepen their understanding of the Collins Writing Program and also tackle one of the biggest challenges of primary grade writing instruction: proper sentence structure and correct use of basic mechanics skills in writing. This session will guide teachers in designing authentic, content-rich writing assignments, with a special focus on developing clear Focus Correction Areas, creating effective mini-lessons to teach these FCAs, and assigning a collection of well-chosen, core-aligned FCAs strategically over time to build students’ repertoire of writing skills, including style, organization, and mechanics. Participants are asked to bring with them to this workshop collected samples of student writing (Types One, Two, and especially Three) to review and discuss with colleagues; these pieces will be used to assist teachers in self-evaluation and to practice new Collins strategies.

To help with teaching and holding students accountable for the basic conventions of written language (grammar, mechanics, capitalization, punctuation), we introduce the Check Mate folders during the second portion of this workshop. Participants will learn what the essential conventions of formal language are, how to teach them, and most importantly, how to coach students toward applying these skills within their own writing. Teachers will also learn how to use FCAs and a variety of templates to teach sentence structure, motivating students to write clear, correct, and compelling sentences that will add both quality and voice to their writing.

Participants will learn how to…

  • Use graphic organizers to help students produce organized and content rich compositions.
  • Select and teach specific writing skills by grade level that are carefully aligned to the PA Core and linked to criteria-based writing assignments.
  • Systematically structure assignments so that longer assignments are less daunting.
  • Give clear, productive feedback that will help improve students’ writing.
  • Utilize strategies to improve self and peer editing.
  • Implement guidelines to create unambiguous criteria for evaluating assignments.
  • Use the Essential Conventions Check Mate to model and teach the most critical writing conventions at each grade level.
  • Help students master conventions through meaningful practice and application to authentic writing tasks.
  • Present the structures of sentences in a logical way that students understand and incorporate into their writing.


Date: March 7, 2018

Location: CIU #10 (Clearfield County)

Time: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm (registration begins at 8:30 am)

Cost: $150.00

Act 48 Hours: 5.5

Register Here for Day 2 - Deadline: February 28, 2018

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May 8, 2018 Day Three: Designing Curriculum-Based Writing Assignments, Unit Planning, and Grading Calibration in the Primary Grades

**Prerequisite: All participants must have completed a minimum of one introductory training session on the Collins Writing Program and will be expected to bring along their Teacher Implementation Folder including samples of student work (Types 1, 2, and 3).

The most advanced of the series, this session will guide teachers in designing authentic, content-rich writing assignments at the primary level using a seven-element template. Special focus is on developing clear Focus Correction Areas, creating effective mini-lessons to teach these FCAs, and assigning a collection of well-chosen FCAs strategically over time to build students’ repertoire of writing skills, including style, organization, and mechanics. Participants will also spend time developing cross-curricular units of study that embed writing into instruction using the Collins Writing Program. Finally, time will be spent as grade levels to calibrate grading of FCAs and move toward greater consistency in writing expectations.

Participants will learn how to…

  • Design clear writing assignments using a seven-element template.
  • Apply strategies that help students add voice and personality to their writing.
  • Systematically structure assignments so that longer assignments are less daunting.
  • Give clear, productive feedback that will help improve students’ writing.
  • Utilize strategies to improve self and peer editing.
  • Implement guidelines to create unambiguous criteria for evaluating assignments.
  • Select grade appropriate essential conventions that students need to be successful writers.
  • Calibrate grading to build consistency in writing expectations.


Date: May 8, 2018

Location: CIU #10 (Clearfield County)

Time: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm (registration begins at 8:30 am)

Cost: $150.00

Act 48 Hours: 5.5

Register Here for Day 3 - Deadline: May 1, 2018

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Contact Information:

For information regarding the training, contact Bethann McCain, Director of Curriculum & Innovation at (bmccain@ciu10.org) or (814-342-0884 ext. 3076)


For information regarding registration, contact Bethann McCain, Director of Curriculum & Innovation at (bmccain@ciu10.org) or (814-342-0884 ext. 3076)

  • If you are paying by personal check, please contact Bethann McCain prior to the deadline closure, or the school district for which you are registered will be billed.
  • Registration fees will not be refunded for cancellations made after the registration deadline.
  • Full registration costs will be charged to those who register but do not attend the event.
  • Registrations made after the registration deadline will incur an additional $15.00 processing fee. Costs (i.e., overnight shipping of materials) incurred by the CIU # 10 due to late registration will be charged to the registrant.
  • Cancellations can be made through your E-LRNR account by hovering over My Account, selecting View/Cancel Current Registrations, and finally selecting Cancel This Registration. Cancellations made after the deadline should be made in writing to Bethann McCain at bmccain@ciu10.org.
  • If you have special dietary needs please contact Bethann McCain (bmccain@ciu10.org) before the event deadline, so arraignments can be made.
  • The Pennsylvania Department of Education's policy not only requires evaluation forms to be completed but also 100% attendance of the event for Act 48 Hours to be earned. At the start of each event, a roster will be provided for participants to sign in. Everyone attending a CIU #10-sponsored event must sign in to confirm 100% attendance. Anything less than 100% attendance (and confirmation thereof) will forfeit Act 48.