Our Blog

Quick Writes in Action

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • Oct. 8, 2018, 9:34 a.m.

We love to show ideas from our newsletter and seminars in action! You have probably heard and read some of our posts about quick writes. It is one of the best instructional strategies for building writing stamina and confidence. Here are two educators who used quick writes in September!

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Micro-Interventions: Are We Taking Action Quickly?

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • Oct. 8, 2018, 8:56 a.m.

Using the success criteria, teachers can closely monitor learning and provide timely feedback about each students' progress or lack there of. The goal is to watch for students to demonstrate the success criteria. If they aren't able to demonstrate the daily learning target, then we must think about what is keeping them from doing so and take action quickly. Is there a gap or misconception that needs to be addressed in order to move students forward?

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Karaoke in the Classroom

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • Oct. 4, 2018, 9:44 a.m.

One of my favorite strategies for building fluency is using karaoke in the classroom! Youtube offers all the karaoke songs you could want for FREE!

When students participate in karaoke they are practicing reading from left to right, seeing sight words in addition to higher level vocabulary, and improving their rate. All while having a blast.


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Modeled Writing "The Write Aloud"

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • Oct. 2, 2018, 11:18 a.m.

Writing is an abstract macro-process that must be taught explicitly, followed by guided and independent practice. Writers need to learn to make a series of decisions using their schema and executive skills for planning, organizing, avoiding distraction, and staying focused on the message. Becoming a proficient writer takes years and needs to begin early in life.

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Learning Targets & Success Criteria

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • Sept. 27, 2018, 9:35 a.m.


There are two questions that kick off most professional learning community (PLC) meetings.

  1. What do we expect students to learn? What are the focus standards? What are the daily learning targets?
  2. How will we know if they have learned? What are the success criteria for demonstrating the learning?


While learning targets of some type are found on the boards in most classrooms these days, success criteria is often not seen. The learning target alone will not be enough for many students to hit the target. Without knowing what hitting the target looks and sounds like, many students will fall short of the goal.


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Making Math TIme Work!

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • Sept. 13, 2018, 10:23 a.m.

A balanced math program includes time to develop and practice conceptual and procedural knowledge to proficient levels. Fitting it all in is a challenge, especially when you have a limited amount of time.

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Math Quick Writes

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • Sept. 10, 2018, 9:58 a.m.

Writing in mathematics is a critical component for developing deep conceptual understanding. Math quick writes are a great way to get students thinking and explaining math concepts and relationships. A quick write is an opportunity for students to think about a specific topic or respond to a math-related question. The goal is to activate prior knowledge, make connections, and explore ideas. Any question or task that requires comprehension or analysis can be turned into a quick write.

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Grammar Scavenger Hunts

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • Sept. 7, 2018, 10:03 a.m.

Grammar and conventions can be boring tasks to teach, but they don't have to be! Turn the learning into a game where students can engage and internalize the rules.


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New Tools for Quick Writes

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • Aug. 7, 2018, 9:54 a.m.

Quick writes are a great way to kick off a writer’s workshop, or any class really. Give students a short prompt and ask them to write as much as they can, as well as they can, as quick as they can. Set a timer for one, three or even five minutes and let students write or "drite" (drawing + writing) about the prompt. 


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Getting to Know & Love You!

  • by Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson
  • Aug. 7, 2018, 9:53 a.m.

The beginning of the school year is all about getting to know students and students getting know you and each other. Building relationships is key to having a successful year.

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