Qualities of Powerful Essay Writing Institute

Monday, October 9 — Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Grade: 3-5
Featuring: Lucy Calkins, Mike Ochs, Annie Taranto

While essay writing has always been important, it has become even more clear in the 21st century that being able to write well-crafted, idea-based writing with fluidity is a skill all students need to master. This institute will share the Project’s latest and greatest thinking about the skillful teaching of essay writing.

Participants will get help teaching students to write tightly structured essays easily, on the run. The challenge is to meanwhile help students write well so that their essays don’t read like cookie cutter, pre-fabricated pieces, but are thoughtful, innovative, and filled with voice. You’ll explore ways students can write to think so that they generate essays about fresh, provocative ideas. You will also learn how helping your students “talk in essays” will put them at ease with academic language, transitions, the structures of claims, reasons and supports, and other elements of successful essay writing. You’ll especially hear about supporting students to craft thesis statements with strong, parallel supports.

The institute will help participants understand the trajectory of essay writing development so that you can gauge where a young writer is in that progression and intercede in ways that help the writer make progress. Learn to be adept at assessing your opinion writers using the Learning Progressions, and thus enabling your students to also use tools to self-assess, set goals, and create action plans for reaching those.

You’ll also learn how to lead productive conferences and small groups with your students around common essay writing challenges such as idea development, essay structures, and elaboration. You’ll gain a knowledge of how to use the tools from the Units of Study to support authentic student independence.

You’ll leave the institute equipped with specific strategies, tips, and tools designed to support you in teaching your students to craft well structured, thoughtful essays, and to self-assess their writing, and set and meet goals.


$650/ $600 NYC DOE


This institute will take place at the Teachers College campus.
Teachers College, Columbia University
525 W 120th Street
New York, NY