Craft effective connections during reader's and writer's workshop.

As I shared last week, the best conferences and strategy groups are composed of a connection, teaching point (and obviously teaching), active engagement, and link. Today's post is about all things connection. Connections start off each conference and explain what you're teaching.

Connections should last no more than a minute. That might not seem like a lot, but it needs to be explicit and clear so that the rest of the conference doesn't take too long.

Connections state the purpose for learning.

Again, you need to tell kids what they are learning and why. If you have a big skill you're working on (like building comprehension in reading or elaborating in writing), then you might have a similar connection each time but name a different skill. 

This means you might something like, "We've been working on elaborating in our writing so our readers get excited when they read our stories. Today we'll elaborate by describing the setting." 

That might be your entire connection, and that's OK! Connections can be longer, but they sure don't have to be.

Connections are a chance to point out important skills.

Perhaps you noticed that a group or individual you've been working with on a particular skill has done a nice job. You might say just that. "Yesterday you worked really hard on adding character actions, and it made me feel like I was right there in your story!" 

It might also just be a general reminder. "Readers, I want to remind you of what we worked on yesterday..."

Sometimes the skills are related to what you'll be teaching in your conference or strategy group, and sometimes they won't. Both are fine (as long as you still say what you're teaching and why).

Connections give you a chance to engage your students.

Sometimes the best connections just start with a story. If you're discussing why writers need to have a an organized structure, you might tell a personal anecdote about how much better you felt when you organized your utensil drawer at home. Then you can compare that to how writers need to help their reader by following a logical structure. 

It goes without saying that afterwards, you need to still state what you're teaching and why if you haven't, but you probably have if you've truly connected your anecdote to reading or writing.

Anecdotes are especially effective to use because your students will be hanging onto your every word if you've done your due diligence and built your community; they always want to know about your personal life! I vividly remember telling a story during math workshop about putting up gutter guards on my house and how I needed to measure the perimeter of my roof in order to buy the right amount of gutter guards. GUTTER GUARDS GUYS. You'd think I was talking about dabbing and Minecraft with the way the kids were focusing on me!

I hope these suggestions for your connections get you excited to start off your strategy groups. Next week will be all things teaching, so make sure you don't miss my next post on Monday! You might want to subscribe to my blog so you get posts delivered straight to your inbox. You can enter your email on the top right of my page under the social media buttons where it says, "Don't miss a post."

If you're already thinking about setting up for next year like I am, make sure you go download my conferring toolkit to help you launch reader's workshop.  The connections are written for each lesson for you! The free product preview is a practical, easy-to-use tool that you won't want to miss out on! The conferring toolkit is discounted, so make sure to download it now while it's at its lowest price! Click here or on the picture below to see the toolkit.

By the way, if you haven't already subscribed, we'd love to have you! Join our community by signing up in the box right under my bio to the right. That way, you won't miss any blog posts. I promise not to clutter your inbox! And make sure to follow me on Instagram for more classroom inspiration.
Effective reader's and writer's workshop conferences are critical for the workshop model to work; they are the teacher's cha...
My little website has been growing, so I wanted to celebrate with a Giveaway from Oriental Trading ! This is one of my (and my school's...
Summer is our time to recenter and refocus. I'm excited to give these books a whirl this summer, and I hope you will be too. Click on th...