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Improving Student Writing Practices (small group coaching)






Terry's Workshop Planning Sheet:

Over the course of six days of small-group coaching, Terry Saba (EMSB) supports teachers to learn about the vital role of writing for pleasure in the elementary classroom. She does this through a series of activities including: modelling, co-planning, classroom observations and sharing of classroom artefacts.


 In the long term, what do you want students to be able to do?

Therefore, what do you want teachers to be able to do?

● does this involve a shift in epistemic stance?

● what high leverage teaching practices are targeted for development?

● why is this important?

● what does this look like in the classroom?

Who is the audience?

● what is the range of teachers’ experience and expertise?

● is there a gap between teachers’ current practice and the proposed practice?

● what possible misconceptions might audience have?

● is participation voluntary or mandated?

● number of teachers?

What are your goals for this session?

● reasonable grain size (explain)

● what models of this exemplary practice can you share early (videos/transcripts)?

● opportunities for teachers to learn experientially

● evidence of teacher learning

What is the proposed sequence of activities? (before, during, after)

      What is the purpose for each activity?

      Is there an expected outcome for each?

      Is there a sequential order for scaffolding learning?


My personal professional goal, e.g. facilitation move(s):

To successfully incorporate facilitation moves like Press, Consolidating learning, positioning teachers as experts, in order to manage group discussion profitably.




·         A planning template was emailed to all team members to them help prepare for their audiotaped writing conference by identifying their goal and the intended strategies they would use.

·         A meeting was arranged with the teacher whose class we would be visiting to review the planned lesson and discuss the goal for the learning and the activities and teacher moves.




                What example of exemplary practice will you share right at the beginning?

                 Prior to this session a DVD of Regie Routman from her book Writing Essentials was shown and discussed. It

                 featured Routman conferencing individual students.



Goals for Teacher learning

Resources and Materials


Activity I Audio conferencing

Each teacher in turn distributed their planning sheet outlining their goal for the writing conference and their intended strategies as well as a copy of the student’s writing piece, They then played their audiotape of the conference. All team members listened and recorded their notes on a sheet designed for this purpose. Following each recorded conference feedback was shared and appropriate recommendations were noted by the teacher.

Collecting and analyzing  data of classroom practice. Incorporating suggestions for revisions.


Audio tapes, Planning template, Recording sheet for note taking.



Activity II - Handbook for teachers work time


Teachers shared the letters describing their personal journey as a writing teacher that they had written for the Handbook for Teachers that will be produced. Team members listened and commented providing feedback to one another as before. They then worked in pairs on the section each pair has committed to for the handbook.


Reinforce community of learners and ownership of their shared writing project.

Personal letters supplied by the teachers


Handbook outline for template to be created




Activity III Class visit

After a briefing by the class teacher of the writing lesson that would be observed in her class, the team spent 45 minutes in the class watching the focus lesson and then interacting with the students as the students worked. Following the visit each teacher wrote down one thing they noticed, one thing they appreciated and one question they had. The class teacher shared her own impressions of the lesson and then responded to the observations and questions of the other team members and PD leader.


Teachers will observe and analyze teacher practice as it is actively enacted noting teacher moves that advance the learning.


Respect for sharing personal practice and further trust building.


Teacher’s lesson plan outline on word choice (provided by the class teacher).


Reflection sheet: something noticed, appreciated, and a question.






Wrap-up Thank you message for the day’s work and the positive energy of the team. Planning for next steps between this session and the next. Work to continue on the sections of the handbook.

Two classes to be videotaped.





Follow-up Between this session and the next one teachers will continue their work on the handbook and post same on a google drive document created for them to deposit their work.


To allow the team members to benefit from seeing an enactment of classroom practice in the two remaining classes they have not been able to visit, arrangements have been made to videotape in those 2 classes. This will then be shared for analysis at the next project team meeting.

Handbook ownership




Observation of teacher moves.



Terry's workshop planning sheet -Downloadable Word doc

Blank planning template for you to use- Downloadable Word doc