The Teacher Tip

Teach Children to Start Writing Without Needing an Individualized Jump-Start

May 12, 2017

Adapted from One to One: The Art of Conferring with Young Writers by Lucy Calkins, Amanda Hartman, and Zoë White


As you work to develop young writers’ understanding of the writing process, one of the first challenges is to teach them to get started on their writing each day without lots of support and coaching.


Try this: After the minilesson ends, while children are still gathered around you, ask for a thumbs-up to show that students know what they are going to write about and are ready to get started on their own. After two or three individuals signal, send them off. Then act like a sportscaster, chronicling these students’ every move, describing effective strategies they are using, and praising their progress.


After a few days of this, you will probably be able to send whole groups of kids to get started on their writing with no additional support from you.

To learn more about One to One: The Art of Conferring With Young Wirters, click here.

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