On-Demand Professional Learning

Choose your own adventure with...

This course was designed to support schoolwide or districtwide growth and change using the writing workshop instructional model within a balanced literacy framework. There is a storyline that arches over the entire course if you choose to view it from start to finish. There is also a storyline arching over each module which can be used as individual puzzle pieces to differentiate for the various needs of your staff. And then many individual lessons can be used in isolation for quick bite-sized PD. In other words, you can "choose your own adventure" to customize for your professional learning needs.

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A member of our team will meet with school leaders to discuss professional learning options and ways to most effectively utilize this tool.

Course Curriculum

Here's what you'll learn...

  • 01

    Module 1 : Introduction and Rationale

    • Overview of This Course

    • How to Use the Course Features

    • Why Teaching Writing is Important

  • 02

    Module 2: Leveraging Balanced Literacy in the Reading/Writing Workshop

    • Why Focus on Balanced Literacy?

    • Balanced Literacy Components

    • Importance of Oral Language

    • Recommended Times

    • Gradual Release of Responsibility

    • Another Look at Balanced Literacy

    • What Happens During Independent Time?

    • Balanced Literacy in the Middle Grades

    • Does This Really Work?

  • 03

    Module 3: Balanced Literacy Components

    • Introduction to Read-Aloud and Mentor Texts

    • Introduction to Modeled, Shared, and Interactive Writing

    • Introduction to Word Study

    • Introduction to Conferring and Small Group Instruction

    • Introduction to Independent Writing

  • 04

    Module 4: Understanding Writing Instruction (A Crash Course)

    • Materials for This Module

    • Introduction: Text Types, Writing Process, and the Qualities of Strong Writing

    • Explanation of the Text Types

    • Text Types and Genres Part 1

    • Text Types and Genres Part 2

    • Text Types and Genres Part 3

    • Text Types and Genres in the Calkins WUOS

    • Text Types Along a Progression

    • Text Types in the Middle Grades

    • Supporting Strong Structure Across the Text Types

    • The Writing Process

    • The K-2 Writing Process

    • The Grades 3-5 Writing Process

    • The Writing Process in the Middle Grades

    • BONUS: Setting Up a Teacher's Writer's Notebook

    • The Qualities of Strong Writing

    • Understanding the Hierarchy of Writing Skills

    • The Qualities of Strong Writing Intersect the Writing Process

    • A Special Note about Grammar and Conventions

  • 05

    Module 5: Overview of Writing Workshop

    • What Writers Need

    • Approaches to Teaching Writing - Why Workshop?

    • Workshop Structure

    • Literacy Essentials Connections in the Writing Workshop

    • Tips for Departmentalized Schedules or Shortened ELA Blocks

    • Getting Started With Writing Workshop K-8

  • 06

    Module 6: Minilessons

    • Introduction to Minilessons

    • The "Minnie" on the Mini

    • Architecture of a Minilesson, Common Pitfalls, and Useful Tips

    • Minilesson Planning Template (Crowd Favorite!)

    • Let's Observe a Minilesson

    • How to Distill a Lesson (and Save Planning Time)

    • How to Plan a Lesson (and Save Time)

    • Reproducible Cheat Sheet and Planning Template

    • More Tips for the Planning Template

    • Teaching Tools in Writing Minilessons

    • Supporting English Learners During Minilessons

    • Reflecting on Our Minilessons and Setting a Goal

  • 07

    Module 7: Independent Writing Time: Tips for Building Engagement and Independence

    • Introduction to this Module

    • What Makes Us Engaged?

    • Boosting Writing Volume

    • Choice in the Workshop

    • Topic Choice

    • Tools: Mentor Texts, Anchor Charts, Micro-Progressions, Student Samples

    • Language That Supports Independence

    • Response

    • Ways We Offer Students Response to Support Independence

    • Considerations for Bolstering Engagement in the Middle Grades

  • 08

    Module 8: Shares and Celebrations

    • Why Share

    • Ways We Can Share

    • Unit Culminations: Celebrations

    • Ways to Celebrate

    • Considerations for Celebrations in the Middle Grades

  • 09

    Module 9: Special Consideration for Emergent Writers (PreK/K/1) and English Learners

    • Supporting Emergent Writers

    • The Pathway Along Which Young Writers Progress

    • Let's Examine the Emergent Writer Progression

    • Debrief the Progression

    • Unpacking the Progression

    • Let's Observe an Emergent Writer Conference

    • Emergent Writer Conferring Tool

    • Drawing or Writing?

    • Drawing as Writing vs. Sketching vs. Illustrating

    • Supporting Emergent Writers with Balanced Literacy

    • Using Oral Language to Boost Writing

    • Supporting Independence Among Our Youngest of Writers

    • Concluding Thoughts

  • 10

    BONUS: Unpacking the Calkins Writing Units of Study Kits

    • What's in Your K-5 Kit?

    • What's in Your 6-8 Kit?

    • Accessing Heinemann Resources

    • Units, Bends, and Sessions, Oh My!

    • Planning Tips: Understanding the Storyline of the Units

    • Planning Tips: Tabbing the Sessions

    • PD in a Box! (K-2)

    • PD in a Box! (Grades 3-5)

    • PD In a Box! (Grades 6-8)

    • Writing Pathways K-5

    • Writing Pathways 6-8

    • Additional Unit Resources to Support English Learners

    • Supporting Families with the Units of Study

Your Instructors


Annemarie has a passion for growing readers, cultivating writers, and empowering teachers! She has 33 years of teaching experience--15 years as an elementary teacher and 18 as a K-6 literacy specialist/consultant in schools across the U.S. and Canada. During 7 of those years, she served on Lucy Calkins' Units of Study Team (TCRWP) and for the past 18 years, she has been an instructor for the Bureau of Education and Research (BER). She is also the founder of www.Teacher2Teacher Help.com, a website of free resources for elementary teachers. Her goal is to provide engaging, practical, and relevant strategies that inspire teachers to grow lifelong readers and writers in their classrooms.

Annemarie Johnson

Literacy Specialist

Your Instructors


Jenna Furr spent the first seven years of her teaching career as a first-grade teacher. Jenna's classroom wasn't just a place for 6-year-olds to learn, but it also served as a lab classroom for her colleagues to observe reading and writing workshop. She found joy in teaching teachers and soon transitioned into a her district's Literacy Coach role supporting K-12 teachers across 7 schools. After taking a parenting leave to raise her three small children, Jenna was able to continue supporting teachers through literacy consulting opportunities. As a mother & teacher, Jenna is passionate about growing the love of reading and writing with her two favorite kinds of people…educators and children.

Jenna Furr

Literacy Specialist

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