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Professional Development>Online PD>Live Webinars

Between the Commas - and Beyond!

Presented By Martin Brandt

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Webinar Dates:

Three, 75-minute webinar sessions from 7:15pm–8:30pm Eastern Standard Time.

  • Tuesday, November 10, 2020 (Archived)
  • Tuesday, November 24, 2020 (Archived)
  • Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Please note that these webinars are recorded and made available to all participants within two business days of each live session.


In his book Between the Commas, Marty Brandt argues that a deeper understanding of the sentence is the most crucial element for teachers to help their students grow as writers. To this end, he identifies three main pillars of writing instruction that help produce student growth:

  • Sentence Focus: the choice of the grammatical subject, which plays a major role in some of our students' greatest struggles as writers.
  • Sentence Development: the process of helping students develop confidence with the phrase and clause forms that go into the creation of longer sentences.
  • Sentence Coherence: the ability to write sentences that work together, based on the ability to anticipate the needs and expectations of the reader.

In this webinar series, Marty will take participants on a tour of the three pillars, expanding on the arguments he makes in his book, introducing some new exercises, and encouraging participants to apply the three pillars to their own practice, whether their classroom is in virtual or physical space.

The following is a description of the learning objectives to be met within each session of this series:

SESSION 1: Get the "Awk" Outta Here: Understanding the Importance of Sentence Focus

  • Defining and exploring the importance of sentence focus
  • Further exercises and activities that help students better understand how to make the best choice in answering questions and writing prompts
  • Exploring how an understanding of sentence focus can help us to respond more positively to our students' most challenging work

SESSION 2: Possibilities over Proscriptions: How to Encourage Sentence Development

  • Activating students' aptitude for grammar
  • Creating sentence modeling and manipulation exercises from your course content
  • The positive implications for growth that arise from a "Latency" approach to comma splices and fragments

SESSION 3: Coherence: Making Sentences Work Together

  • Anticipating the needs and expectations of your audience
  • Introducing and explaining the Coherence Model
  • Using the Three Pillars to respond positively to student writing


Marty Brandt is an English teacher at Independence High School in San Jose, California. Between the Commas is his first book, the product of almost thirty years of classroom practice. He is an Associate Director of the San Jose Area Writing Project, former winner of the California Teachers of English Award for Classroom Excellence, and the recipient of an Outstanding Teachers of America Award from the Carlston Family Foundation.

Who should participate?

Classroom teachers of grades 6-12, instructors in college composition and English education, literacy coaches, curriculum coordinators, and administrators.


The cost of this Webinar Series is $169.00 per person. If you register a group of three to nine people at the same time there is a discounted rate of $159.00 per person. When signing up ten or more participants at one time, please call in advance for large group discount pricing. Tuition also includes access to the recorded webinar sessions for up to 90 days after the conclusion of the webinar series.


It is highly recommended that participants have a copy of Between the Commas. If you do not have a copy, you may purchase one online here: Between the Commas: Sentence Instruction That Builds Confident Writers (and Writing Teachers).


Participants will receive a series of email correspondence from Heinemann. The first email confirmation will serve as your receipt for the webinar series along with some general instructions on how to prepare your computer for the webinar. The second email confirmation will be sent approximately 2 days prior to each webinar date with a link to our webinar platform Zoom, directing you to the webinar class and giving you instructions on how to log in.

We highly recommend you test your computer readiness by clicking on this link.

If your computer needs any software upgrades, Zoom will walk you through the updates.

Note: We encourage group participation, however, we require that each person be registered. For group pricing information please call 800-541-2086, ext. 1100.

Upcoming Dates & Locations

11/10/2020-12/08/2020 - Join Us in Progress

Register Now:

Availability: Available When: 11/10/2020 - 12/08/2020* Where: Online

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