Books

What Student Writing Teaches Us: Formative Assessment in the Writing Workshop
(Stenhouse, 2009)

What student writing teaches usAssessment, when used correctly in a formative way, can empower students and teachers to not only improve, but better yet, to believe in themselves as writers and teachers of writing. And once you believe you are a writer, and a teacher of writing, any barrier, no matter how imposing, begins to crumble.
—Mark Overmeyer

 In What Student Writing Teaches Us, Mark shares his ideas about how teachers and students can use formative assessment effectively in all stages of the writing process. As Mark demonstrates through descriptions, anecdotes, and student samples, formative assessment requires meaningful planning: feedback through rubrics, checklists, conferences, and classroom discussion; and a partnership between student and teacher.

When Writing Workshop Isn’t Working: Answers to Ten Tough Questions, Grades 2-5
(Stenhouse, 2005)

When Writing Workshop Isn't WorkingWriting is hard work. Teaching it can be even harder. As most teachers know, writer’s workshop doesn’t always go as planned, and many find there are obstacles that they consistently struggle with. In his role as a literacy coordinator and teacher, Mark Overmeyer has heard the same issues raised again and again by both new and experienced colleagues. When Writing Workshop Isn’t Working provides practical advice to overcome these common problems and get your writing workshop back on track. Acknowledging the process-based nature of the writing workshop, Mark does not offer formulaic, program-based, one-size-fits–all answers; rather, he presents multiple suggestions based on what works in real classrooms. The ten key questions this book addresses include:

  • How do I help students who don’t know what to write about?
  • How do I help students develop stronger vocabulary and word choice?
  • How do I prepare my students for standardized tests without compromising my writing program?
  • How should I assess student writing?
  • How can I help my students use revision effectively?

This book is a handy reference tool for answering specific questions as they pop up during the year. Mark uses student examples throughout to help teachers envision these solutions in their own classes, and he includes an array of classroom-tested ideas for helping primary and intermediate English language learners.

There may not be any easy answers to the complexities of writer’s workshop, but by identifying and providing advice on the most common stumbling blocks one encounters, When Writing Workshop Isn’t Working provides a solid groundwork—freeing up time and creativity for teachers to address the specific needs of their students.

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