Lifting the Level of Student Writing through Goals and Feedback Institute: Grades K-8

Thursday, October 24 - Saturday, October 26, 2019

Grade: K-8
Featuring: Heather Burns, Lucy Calkins, Kristi Guinness, Natalie Louis, and Kristin Smith

The “Lifting the Level of Student Writing through Goals and Feedback Institute” is back by popular demand. Growth in writing can be hold-your-hat dramatic, and it can be that for all of our students. The key is that we first need to create environments in which kids will take the brave risk of putting themselves on the page, working on writing projects that matter to them, and then above all, we need to give them crystal-clear and ambitious feedback.

To teach in ways that dramatically lift students’ progress, it is important to see what a writer can already do so you can then teach the writer to progress, one step at a time. The writing learning progressions are one potent source of this insight, and the institute will help you mine them so they inform your one-to-one conferences and small groups. Learning progressions can help you get to know one child’s work in depth and they can also help you thin-slice data so as to form a quick snapshot of your class (or grade level) as a whole. Many of you know the checklists that have been built around on-demand writing assessments but you may not know the writing process trajectory, and we’ll be sure to direct your attention to that to inform your conferring and small group work.

Part of this institute will focus on conferring and small group work with young writers. You’ll hear the TCRWP’s important new thinking about both of these, and will watch demonstrations of both. You’ll benefit from the Project’s new emphasis on supporting kids; independent work with the writing process, learning the important role that the research component of a conference can play in helping writers shift from writing to rereading and revising. You’ll also hear ideas for how your small groups can get kids actively engaged, maximize opportunities for practice, and coach students toward greater independence. You’ll also hear about the record keeping systems that make your writing conferences and small groups especially potent, so that the data you collect in one conference or small group helps pave a course for the teaching you’ll do in future interactions.

Mentor texts will help you ensure you don’t go into your small groups and conferences empty handed. Presenters will share their top tips for choosing mentor texts and highlight some of their all-time favorites. You’ll learn how to mark up a mentor text, using what you notice naturally using the learning progression to guide you. You’ll also hear ways you can use that mentor text within your small groups, so that you’re buoyed up by a co-teacher as you teach. You’ll also learn how you can get students to interact with mentor texts, so that they’ve got a teacher they can draw on when you’re not by their side.

You’ll leave ready to lead more efficient and powerful conferences and small groups, leaning on mentor texts and learning progressions as tools.


$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