Physical Therapists and Conferring...

Mar 5, 2012 by

I’ve been thinking a lot about conferring again.  I’ve recently read a couple of books on the topic and have decided it is an area I want to focus on for the rest of this school year.  Several posts ago I shared my epiphany about how much the daily work of a teacher is like that of a doctor in Doctors and Conferring.  Today…more thoughts on this topic.  My doctor ended up sending me to a physical therapist.  While having my neck manipulated by the PT, I told her I was going to write this blog about her.  She was sharing with me how much she loves the work she does and how her philosophy of treating patients has changed over the years.  She said, “I used to prescribe a pre-determined plan for my...

read more

Doctors and Conferring

Dec 13, 2011 by

I’ve been struggling with some neck pain for a little over a year.  Several weeks ago I finally went to see my doctor about it.  As I was waiting for him to enter my exam room, I was thinking about conferring with our students.  Weird, I know, but follow my line of thinking here.  I heard my doctor in the room next door and knew he would be coming to my room next.  I heard the door close, but it was several minutes before he came into my room.  Why?  You know the answer—he was taking notes about his previous patient.  Conferring notes! Think about what doctors do when they meet with their patients: Research: They ask questions and run diagnostic tests. Decide:  Based on their research, they make decisions. Treat: They prescribe a...

read more

Do Conferring Notes Really Matter?...

Dec 2, 2011 by

I can’t tell you how many times I have been asked this question.  Teachers who ask this are not questioning the value of conferring itself, just the notetaking that comes during/after the conference. Typical reasons I hear against notetaking: “If I spend time writing notes, I end up conferring with fewer students.” “I don’t know which is the right form to use or the right way to do it.” Even before I was immersed in workshop teaching, I always believed that it was important to keep anecdotal notes on my students.  That doesn’t mean I was good at it, but I did do it.  I am here to tell you that there is not one right form or method, but I do believe that notetaking is a non-negotiable.  Here are a few of my...

read more

This Seals the Deal!

Oct 17, 2011 by

I will continue to add to the series of blog posts on the importance of student choice in writing, but today I feel compelled to share on the topic of technology in the classroom. Recently I have been thinking seriously about purchasing an iPad.  It started about a year ago when a friend showed me her new toy.  With her new iPad she had constant access to her Kindle, her e-mail and Facebook, her to-do lists, and more.  I thought that was pretty neat but just couldn’t justify purchasing a new device when I already had a Smartphone that could do most of what she showed me.  But I still thought it was pretty cool! This school year, as I have attended many meetings, I have often found myself in the minority (sometimes the...

read more

Conferring Toolkit

Nov 12, 2010 by

Has the following ever happened to you?  You are conferring with a writer in your classroom.  You do your research by asking, “How’s it going?  What are you working on as a writer today?”  You pinpoint a teaching point that you would like to teach this writer.  Then you go blank.  You’re not sure how to teach it off the top of your head.  You know there must be a good mentor text you could use to demonstrate your teaching point, but you can’t put your hands on it at the moment or you don’t even have a title in mind.  So you make some half-hearted attempt to teach or you cop out all together and say, “Good job, keep working, thanks for sharing your writing with me today.”  A wonderful teaching opportunity is...

read more