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Possibilities over Proscriptions: Understanding What You’re Seeing in Student Writing / A Virtual Mini-Workshop

Presented by Martin Brandt

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Date and Time

A 90-minute virtual mini-workshop from 6:30pm to 8:00pm Eastern Time (ET).

  • Monday, May 3, 2021

Please note that this virtual mini-workshop is scheduled for Eastern Time (ET). If you are in a different time zone, please plan your schedule accordingly.


When reading our students' writing, we often fall too easily into the trap of noting errors simply to justify a grade, without providing a positive way forward. But if we truly understand what we're seeing at the sentence level, then we are more likely to respond in a way that promotes discussion and development. In this mini-workshop, we will discuss the principles of sentence focus, sentence development, and sentence coherence and how we can apply them to the goal of promoting real growth for our students as writers.

Learning Objectives

  • Participants will gain a greater insight into how sentence focus—the choice of the grammatical subject—constitutes the make-or-break point for most sentences
  • Participants will gain a greater understanding of how sentence development—expanding and modifying text to grow their syntactic maturity—plays a crucial role in effective writing instruction
  • Participants will gain a greater understanding of coherence—how sentences work together to anticipate the needs or expectations of the reader—as the basis for encouraging students to write with greater autonomy and confidence

About the Presenter

Martin Brandt has been teaching English at Independence High School in San Jose, California, for almost thirty years. He has received the California Teachers of English Award for Classroom Excellence and the Carlston Family Foundation Outstanding Teachers of America Award, and he won the 2015 CATE professional essay contest. He also serves as an associate director of the San Jose Area Writing Project. Between the Commas: Sentence Instruction That Builds Confident Writers (and Writing Teachers) is his first book.

Who Should Participate

Classroom teachers of grades 6-12, literacy coaches, reading and language arts specialists, curriculum coordinators, and administrators.

Special 2021 Tuition Fee

The cost of this virtual mini-workshop is $40.00 per person. Tuition also includes access to the recorded workshop for 60 days.

Related Book

To support your learning in this workshop, we highly recommend Between the Commas: Sentence Instruction That Builds Confident Writers (and Writing Teachers).


Registrants will receive multiple emails from Heinemann, including enrollment confirmation, which also serves as your tuition receipt and contains some basic instructions. If you have not received your confirmation email within 48 hours of your registration, please contact us at or 800-541-2086, ext. 1151. Approximately two days prior to the event date you will receive an email with the PD event's Zoom link and log-in instructions.

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 and provide a unique email address.

Registration Form

Our Registration Form is now standardized to be used for any Heinemann PD Services open-enrollment event. Download our new PD Event Registration Form here.

Upcoming Dates & Locations

05/03/2021 - Eastern Time, ET

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Availability: Available When: 05/03/2021 Where:
Virtual Workshop

Eastern Time, ET

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