Tag Archives: Georgia Heard

Standing on Shoulders


By Jennifer Serravallo

The Writing Strategies Book started shipping this week. I’ve been overwhelmed and humbled by the positive responses and enthusiasm from so many. Before you all get this book in your hands, though, I need to get something off my chest:

This book would not exist were it not for a community of friends, mentors, colleagues and teachers—giants—whom I’ve been lucky to know. I want you all to know them, too.

My most immediate teacher and mentor around the teaching of writing is Lucy Calkins. I first read her books in college, leaned on them heavily throughout my years in the classroom, and eventually was lucky enough to spend years with her at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. Her contributions are deep-reaching—not only in writing curriculum and workshop methods of instruction but also as a mentor to so many who have gone on to inspire others. If you asked Lucy, though, she’d probably tell you she stands on the shoulders of her mentors, chief among them Don Graves. I came to Graves’ books, such as Writing: Teachers and Children at Work, many years after being introduced to Lucy’s books, but through Lucy, I was learning from this work years before going directly to the source.

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NCTE16 Don Graves Breakfast Podcast

donaldgravesToday on the Heinemann Podcast, we're exploring credo. 

In 2013, Heinemann celebrated the legacy of Don Graves at a special breakfast during the National Council of Teachers of English conference in Boston. Three years later, at the 2016 NCTE conference, we wanted to reprise this moment by inviting those in attendance to consider the theme of credo. The event was hosted by Tom Newkirk and Penny Kittle and featured Heinemann authors Katherine Bomer, Smokey Daniels, Georgia Heard Allison Marchetti, Rebekah O’Dell, Cornelius Minor and Heinemann Fellow, Kimberly Parker. We began the event with a welcome from Heinemann’s General Manager, Vicki Boyd. Listen below: 

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Tune in to Your Heart Map Playlist


The following essay by Penny Kittle appears in Georgia Heard’s newest book, Heart Maps: Helping Students Create and Craft Authentic Writing.

Tune in to Your Heart Map Playlist

By Penny Kittle

Music unlocks memories.

Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major puts me at the back of a church on a snowy December Saturday, trembling as I hold my father’s hand. He pats my arm and says, “Easy now,” as we start toward the altar.

When a song I once labored to learn on my guitar comes on the radio it transports me to Oregon State’s campus, and I see a swirl of fall color as I walk from class with my black guitar case bumping my leg in a bouncing rhythm. I’m twenty again and the year suddenly returns to me in images, feelings, and songs.

Our hearts hold hidden playlists.

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Heart Maps: What Matters


The following essay by Nancie Atwell appears in Georgia Heard’s newest book, Heart Maps: Helping Students Create and Craft Authentic Writing.

What Matters

By Nancie Atwell

Like most of the poems Carl wrote in eighth grade, “The Bowl” was prompted by a posting on his heart map. Between Hans’s paws and potato picking techniques, using just enough words to capture the memory, he’d written breaking the red bowl. When he fleshed out the phrase, it became a poem about family, heritage, love, and regret.

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Heinemann Podcast: Heart Maps by Georgia Heard

Heart Maps by Georgia Heard

How do we get students to “ache with caring” about their writing instead of mechanically stringing words together? The the question author Georgia Heard asks in her new book: Heart Maps:Helping Students Create and Craft Authentic Writing. She says we spend a lot of time teaching the craft of writing but we also need to devote time to helping students write with purpose and meaning. 

In today's podcast we speak with Georgia about what heart maps are and why they're so helpful for children as writers. Be sure to check out her website, www.georgiaheard.com.

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Heinemann Author Q & A Series: Georgia Heard, Part 2

Revision Toolbox Cover

Finding the Heart of Nonfiction Cover

In part 1, Georgia told us about her two newest professional books. Now, in part 2, she gives us a glimpse into her own life as a writer and teacher.

What in your life as a writer has given you the most insight into teaching young writers?

When I was a writing student at Columbia University and at the same time a member of TCRWP, I traveled to classrooms all over NYC teaching writing. Those hundreds of hours in the classroom, along with reflections with my colleagues at Columbia and TCRWP, gave me invaluable insights into teaching writing. Also, my classes at Columbia University with some of the best writers in the world expanded my vision and knowledge of writing.

In Finding the Heart of Nonfiction, as you discuss mentor texts, you mention Stanley Kunitz and Anne LaMott as personal and in-print mentors for your writing life. Who are your mentors and go-to authors for teaching writing?

I have so many mentors, go-to authors, and colleagues I could fill this whole page with their names. There is a renaissance in the field of teaching writing, and I feel so lucky to have been part of such an amazing group from its very beginnings. I’m afraid if I started listing all my mentors I might leave someone out, but I’ll always be grateful to the very early days of TCRWP with Lucy Calkins, Shelley Harwayne, Hindy List, Ralph Fletcher, JoAnn Portalupi, Martha Horn, Jenifer Hall, and Jim Sullivan. And, of course, I’m indebted to the foundational work of Don Graves, Nancie Atwell, Don Murray, Tom Romano, Linda Rief, and Mary Ellen Giacobbe. Here I go, I’m already thinking about all the people I’ve left out!

As Don Graves taught us, a teacher’s own writing life is vital source material for teaching writing. What suggestions do you have for teachers who don’t feel confident as writers?

Write. Write. Write. Write at least one page in your journal every day. And if you’re just beginning to write, don’t stop to reread your words just yet and don’t listen to any critical voices in your head. Also, find a loving and gentle reader whom you can trust to give you wise, insightful guidance.