Overcoming Obstacles to Writing Workshop

Overcoming Obstacles to Writing Workshop - Management Tips

My previous posts on Writing Workshop have generated a greater than normal amount of feedback from you, my faithful readers. Several of you contacted me with questions and requests for more information. A few themes emerged (How do I find the time? What about management?) so I decided to consult my friend (and expert writing teacher) Carol Cook.

First, know that I write this post under the impression that you already believe in Writing Workshop as a best practice. If you need more convincing, read the following:

What Do Kids Need To Learn About Writing?

What Is Writing Workshop? An Overview

Writing Workshop is a “Kid-Changer”

Architecture of a Mini-Lesson

Now then. Let’s assume you are “all in” in terms of want-to but you need some help with the how-to. I asked Carol to talk about the common obstacles teachers face when implementing WW and share her suggestions for overcoming them. Her answers are paraphrased below. [Read more…]

Auditory Attention Getters for Classroom Management

attention getters for classroom management Stocking a fun collection of attention getters is an important component to an effective classroom management system. In my previous post I shared some strategies for effectively getting student attention. (And it wasn’t saying “Shhhh!”)

One of the strategies I suggested involved using a variety of “sound effects.” A few people asked me for specific suggestions, so here is a list of my favorites! [Read more…]

Shhhh…Replace Shushing with Effective Attention Getters!

Replace shushing with effective attention getters

“Shhhhhhhh! Boys and girls (shhhh), today we are going to review how to add with regrouping (shhhh.) We learned this last week (Aiden- shhh!) and I want to review it because some of you seem a little confused (shhhhhhhhhh.)”

Is there a snake in the room? A leaky tire? Or just a room full of chatty children with a frustrated teacher TRYING to teach?

I have a confession to make: I am a shusher. Not only do I “shhhhh” in the classroom, but I “shhhh” in the movie theater, I “shhhh” during meetings with adults, and I “shhhhhh” in situations where shushing really isn’t my responsibility! (Like other people’s children at church. Oh dear.)

This is a bad habit I have worked hard to eliminate in the past few years. However, in my effort to stop my own shushing, I have come to realize how much we teachers shush in general! Sometimes it’s so bad it almost becomes part of a teacher’s sentence structure (like the example above.)

Here is the problem: “Shhhhhh!” doesn’t really work. It certainly doesn’t work when we shush all day long! Children get immune to the shushing. In fact, children grow immune to any attention-getting device that we overuse.

That’s why I collect attention-getting ideas and mix them up throughout the day. The children are quick to learn the different signals, are much more likely to respond with quiet attention, and actually find it fun to “stay on their toes.”

Here are a few of my favorite attention getters! [Read more…]

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