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The Teacher Tip

Daily Practices for the Beginning of Your Year

September 6, 2018

Adapted from 180 Days by Kelly Gallagher and Penny Kittle. 

We learn from conferences with our students and from their drafts what we must teach next, and we respond with targeted teaching in minilessons. The key here is the development of curriculum under the influence of the work students produce. Our engagement with student learning, class by class, student by student, dictates what we teach next. 

Text study and minilessons will always be connected to the discourse we are studying in writing, of course, but here are some guidelines for this daily practice at the beginning of the year: 

  • First, assess what students do and don’t know about the craft of writing by sharing a passage and asking them what they notice.
  • Model how to name craft moves in texts.
  • Honor what students notice and encourage them to have confidence in their ability to see what writers are doing.
  • Watch and learn how students work together by pairing or grouping them for text study in different ways.
  • Look at multiple examples that vary in complexity from a single author. This will give students an understanding of how craft is connected to voice and style.

To learn more about 180 Days and download a sample chapter, visit 

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