Choice as the Keystone in Secondary English Classes

In a readers and writers workshop, everything comes back to choice.

Have you seen the movie You’ve Got Mail?  If so, you’ll recall the scene where Tom Hanks is giving Meg Ryan business advice.  “The Godfather is the answer to any question. ‘What should I pack for summer vacation?’ ‘Leave the gun, take the cannoli.’ ‘What day is it?’ ‘Maunday, Tuesday, Thursday, Wednesday.'”

It’s the same with choice.  “How will I know they’re reading if I haven’t read the book?”  They’ll be engaged, authentically, because they’ve chosen their books.  “How will I get them to want to revise their writing?”  They’ll want to strengthen the writing about topics and in genres they’ve chosen.  “How can I assess them if they’re all reading different books?”  You offer choice in ways for students to show their mastery–reflections, conferences, blogs, and more.

Choice is the keystone.img_1957

We have written about choice here and here and here.  It crops up again and again in our writing, thinking, and talking.

And we’re excited to talk more about choice with you all this Saturday, April 2, during The Educator Collaborative’s annual Gathering.  This amazing, free, inspiring day is the perfect way to spend a spring Saturday, as it will leave you energized, rejuvenated, and brimming with ideas.  It’s the modern PLC at its best, and the perfect way to help you finish the school year strong.

Tune in at 1:00 EST as we discuss choice as the keystone in English instruction.  We’ll share:

  • Research to support choice in literacy education
  • Strategies for teaching independent vs. small group vs. whole-class novels
  • Why conferring is at the heart of workshop
  • Writer’s workshop non-negotiables and the use of skills learned from independent reading

Please let us know in the comments, via Twitter (@amyrass or @litreader), or on our Facebook page what questions you have about choice as the keystone in secondary English classes.  We’ll be happy to answer them Saturday, and we can’t wait to see you there!


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4 thoughts on “Choice as the Keystone in Secondary English Classes

  1. msethna2012 April 2, 2016 at 12:49 pm Reply

    Your presentation was just as motivating as your blog posts always are! Will you be sharing your presentation online? I would love to look back at a few of the examples you shared with us today and try to incorporate them into what I am doing with the teachers in my building. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Amy April 2, 2016 at 4:09 pm Reply

      Thanks for joining us today, Melissa. Yes, we will post the video of our presentation. We sure appreciate you!


  2. Lynn March 31, 2016 at 10:11 am Reply

    I am SO excited about this! As a former middle school, I brought indepdendent reading, writing and a classroom library to high school, and I feel ALONE! I’ll be tuning in. I’ve started blogging about my journey at Can’t wait to learn more!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Kari Lynch March 31, 2016 at 9:00 am Reply

    I have a question about choice in writing genre. I gave my juniors a midterm similar to the ones you featured on your blog and found that I have some very talented creative fiction writers. However, when they write “academic” papers, the skills don’t translate. They tell me they just can’t do that kind of writing. How can I get them to be more confident and creative when writing academically?
    Excited for the Saturday presentation! You ladies have made a difference in my classroom!

    Liked by 1 person

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