My lesson material is presently housed in a Haiku Learning LMS.  My Class Content Can Be Viewed HERE.  

I have been teaching Grade 7 and 8 English Language Arts in a private international school in Mexico for 2 years now.  Next year I'll be teaching both ELA and Humanities.   Moving here from Abu Dhabi was like visiting a dear old friend and building new friendships all at once. Those of you who know me well are aware of my preferences:  every few years it's important for me to step back a bit from a solely ed-tech focus and return to content classrooms to be sure that I retain a realistic and accurate perspective as both a teacher and a tech coach.  At my last post I have learned an enormous amount at each posting; yet when there were no additional professional growth opportunities left for me, I cast my net wider and searched for new horizons.

Professionally at this school my focus has been Standards Based Grading, Google Apps, best practices in ELA and learning all about my new students, language, families, culture, country (and cuisine).  I am embedding technology daily, of course, and so thankful that we are a 1:1 school with excellent T.I. and I.T. teams, yet I am not serving an ed tech specialist at the moment -- I want to concentrate on staying relevant and effective in these critical content areas (ELA and Humanities) for a season or two.   

My colleagues are gradually moving to standards-based grading under the Common Core State Standards and most teachers are using Understanding by Design concepts.  It's wonderful to teach in a block system again and be a participant on a large cross-curricular team which does significant projects incorporating every subject + outdoor education.  It's been a fascinating transition!  For updates, subscribe to my blog at this site.



The below entries are from prior to July, 2014 as I taught Information Technology from July 2014 to June 2016.  See the Tech Integration and About Me pages.


What Are Writer’s Workshop Conferences?

Sunday, September 5, 2010 at 4:34PM


There are hundreds of great resources on the web about Conferring in Writer’s Workshop.  Here are some basics:


  • Conversations about the work the child is doing as a writer
  • Conversations about how the child can become a better writer


- Student: You set the agenda for the conference by describing the work you’re doing as a reader or a writer.

– Teacher: I listen carefully to what you’re saying about your reading or writing work. I will ask you questions to clarify what you’re saying so that I can totally understand what you’re working on.


- Teacher: I will share an assessment of your reading or writing work based on what you told me at the beginning of our conference.

– Student: You listen carefully to the assessment. You should ask me questions if you aren’t sure of what I’m saying to you.

- Teacher: I will give you a strategy to help you doing better reading or writing work.

– Student: You try to figure out how to do better work. You should listen carefully to what I’m telling you about how to do better work. You may often have the chance to try out the strategy I’m presenting to you in front of me so that I can see how you’re doing with what I taught you on-the-spot.


In the first part of the conversation the teacher will:

• Invite the student to set an agenda for the conference

• Get on a line of thinking about the student’s writing work by asking research questions and reading the student’s writing

• Decide what to teach the student

In the second part of the conversation the teacher will:

• Give the student critical feedback

• Teach the student

• Nudge the student to have-a-go

• Link the conference to the student’s independent work


In the first part of the conversation the student will:

  • Set the agenda for the conference by describing her writing work
  • Respond to her teacher’s research questions by describing her writing work more deeply

In the second part of the conversation the student will:

  • Listen carefully to her teacher’s feedback and teaching
  • Ask questions to clarify and depend her understanding of her teacher’s feedback and teaching
  • Have-a-go with what her teacher taught her
  • Commit to trying what her teacher taught her after the conference

Thanks to MSU English Education’s presentation on their Wiki and “Two Writing Teachers” for their excellent blog.  I would recommend that anyone interested in learning more about conferring should check out Carl Anderson’s work on the topic.


English Language Arts Standards  New Common Core

for 8th Grade WRITING from



501 Writing Prompts by papersue