The Small Stuff (which really is the big stuff)

Last week, my daughter sat next to me while I was working and wrote a fiction book about fruit and a non-fiction book…

The Beauty of Confusion

One thing is for sure. Learning is a messy, uncertain process. Many teachers embrace this idea; while others cringe at the thought of…

Teacher Engagement

  Do you have time to plan and implement lessons collaboratively with your colleagues? Have you ever watched your students with others, noting…

3 Tips For Using Resources Effectively

Are you using a resource to help you teach writing?  Are you feeling overwhelmed and not sure how to use it in a…

What does Charlotte’s Web Teach Us about the Importance of Optimism?

Can we change the fate of our students with our optimism? I think we can. Look what optimism did for the pig, Wilbur…

How Can A Blank Booklet Improve Student Writing?

  Sometime teaching writing doesn’t have to be hard!  Here is a simple technique you can try tomorrow.  Often children tell stories and…

Why “Ask 3 Before Me” Worries Me (And What I Would Do Instead)

How can it be a bad thing that a child is reaching out for help?  Great question. Let me be clear. Partner work…

Begin your year with less stress!

There is no question that the start of the year is stressful but maybe there is something that can help !  While it’s…

In-Classroom Visits:  A Wonderful Way to Learn New Writing Techniques

Many people have asked me what a typical day looks like when I visit a school. Although the work will look different depending…

One Simple Tip for Improving the Feedback You Give Students.

Do you want to give your students feedback in this upcoming school year that dramatically improves their writing? If so, read on. Teachers…

Make your Planning More Effective With This One Simple Tip!

The new school year is just around the corner. Have you started planning your Writing Workshop? Inherent in Writing Workshop is the use…

5 Ways to Make Your Minilessons Stickier

When my daughter, Ariana, turned 3, we started talking about family chores. Initially, her understanding was surface level, but this year, her list…

Minilessons: How to make them more effective and less stressful!

Picture this classroom scene. You are teaching a writing minilesson. When the lesson is completed, you ask students to try what you just…

Happy New School Year!

My daughter, Ariana, recently started PK3.  I assumed the amount of time to myself would be a game changer (6 hours a day,…

When Self-Direction Isn’t Working: A Honest Look At The Bumps in the Road

I’ve been meaning to blog for the last few months, but truthfully I couldn’t.  I am in the midst of a difficult time…

Planning Writing Units of Study

Lately, I’ve been planning a lot of Writing Units of Study. Yes, the teachers I work with plan their own Units of Study!…

Back to blogging and back to school

As August comes to a close, I am getting excited for a new year filled with teaching and blogging! Last year was a…

Happy New Year!

It’s been a long time! I hope everyone has had a great start to the year. Although I have been busy this summer…

The Pause: How it helps me as both a parent and teacher

In today’s quick blog post, I want to share some thoughts  about pausing and how pausing before I react helps me both as…

What I am learning about teaching from parenting…

Trying to blog while working and keeping up with a very active toddler has been challenging, but here are some quick thoughts I…

Best Conference Ever: The Story of My Conference with James

A few weeks ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to confer with a 2nd grade boy at Turnpike Elementary School named James.  It…

The Sunshine Award

I am so honored to have been nominated for the Sunshine Award by Renee Dinnerstein. Thanks, Renee! The Sunshine Award is a lovely…

Self-Directed Learning: How a typical lesson can become an avenue for getting kids to become more self-directed

In today’s post,  I want to share some of the work I did with the 3rd teachers at PS 230 in Brooklyn, New…

Let’s Start Sharing Ways to Help Students become More Self Directed

I hope everybody has had a great start to their school year. I am planning on using my blog for the next few…

Self-Directed Writers: The Third Essential Element in The Writing Workshop

Happy New Year!  I’m excited to announce that my new book is out!  This book will help you create self-directed writers while still…

It’s the end of the school year and Ariana is 6 months old: What I have learned from both parenting and teaching

I plan on taking a break from blogging this summer to enjoy my sweet little girl! I hope all of you have a…

Teaching Persistence: What I Learned from Watching Ariana

I am thrilled  to share the cover of my upcoming book!  9780325048000-1 This book, which is due to come out this August,  looks…

Taking Risks Pays Off in Both Parenting and Teaching

     I am sharing the two pictures above because both show big risks I have recently taken  in my parenting. Both times,…

You Can’t Force Learning: But You Can Watch and Listen Carefully and Learning Will Unfold

Greetings! Ariana has learned how to sleep in her crib for 12 straight hours!!!!  She is so very proud of herself and I…

Get Excited About The Small Stuff

I’m always imagining all the ‘big stuff’ of Ariana’s life. I can’t wait for her to start talking, walking, singing, –I was so…

Three Things to Say To Children Everyday

My friends and colleagues at Parenting Smarts, Ellen Dillon and Norman Stiles,  Parenting Smarts Productions recently posted a wonderful article by Mojo Lisa A.…

Read Aloud is Magical at Any Age

Just a quick post today!  Since being home with Ariana, I have been reminded of the importance of both Read Aloud and oral…

Teaching and Parenting Through the Eyes of a Child

Marie Clay, one of my reading heroes, once said that in order to teach effectively you have to look at and reflect upon…

Think Positively

I’ve never been a person to put much stock in inspirational quotes. As a matter of fact, I have always secretly poked fun…

My Baby Nurse Likes Onsies but Doesn’t like Pants: Keeping the Big Picture in Mind

On Friday, December 28th I came home from the hospital with my sweet girl Ariana. I had a huge entourage with me:  My…

Listening is Key!

Yes, there is my dear Ariana on her tummy!!!!! I must point out that in both picture  she is wearing very cute outfits…so…

Staff Development: Coaching versus Demonstration

Welcome Ariana Cate Mermelstein!!!!! First, I want to let all of my friends and colleagues know that my daughter Ariana Cate Mermelstein was…

Teaching and Living with Persistence and Resilience

Read on to see how I coped the week I had head lice, a flat tire and food poisoning all the while being…

Qualities of a Self-Directed Writer

This summer I’ve been hard at work writing a draft of my new book that is about creating self-directed learners in the Writing…

A Close-In Look at Supports for the Writing Process

Greetings everyone! I hope that you are having a great time in your classroom and are starting to look forward to some relaxing…

Working On Your Own Writing Can Help You Plan Units of Study

I want to share a quick but powerful story that recently happened to me when I went to do work in the Danbury…

Structuring Your Minilessons to Support Self-Directed Learners

Greetings! In today’s blog post I’m going to continue thinking about how to create self-directed learners: learners who are excited, engaged and continually…

Teaching Kids to Be Self-Directed During Writing Conferences

For those of you who have been reading my past blogs, you know I have recently been focusing many of them on ways…

Top Five Reasons to Begin Your Writing Units of Study With Immersion

By Paula Jensvold “Mrs. Tavares, we are not quite ready to write. Tomorrow I think we should partner read books so we can…

Some Rough Draft Thinking about the Independent Phase of Writing Workshop

Over the past few months, I’ve dedicated my blog to ideas for helping kids become more independent during Writing Workshop. As I’ve written…

Independent Writers II

When I speak to teachers, coaches and principals, they always say that one of the biggest obstacles to a successful Writing Workshop is…

Independent Writers I

Creating independent writers is essential! There are many things that kids need to be able to do in order to work independently during…

Celebrations in the Writing Workshop

By Paula Jensvold My teammate and I spent the summer thinking and working on our curriculum calendar for the teaching of writing.  We…

Some thoughts about the first few days of school

Most of you are probably back to school now so I wanted to take this opportunity to wish you the happiest of new…

Balancing Planning and Listening

Happy school year to some and almost new school year to others! Over the past few years, I’ve been thinking a lot about…

Balancing Planning and Listening

Happy school year to some and almost new school year to others! Over the past few years, I’ve been thinking a lot about…

Using the Common Core Standards to Support the Planning of a Language Arts Curriculum

During the summer, I spend my days running week long summer courses for teachers that address both Reading and Writing Workshop. One of…

Reflecting Upon Literacy Work

As June rolls in, it’s a great time to reflect upon your years work in the area of reading and writing.  When reflecting,…

Writing Units of Study that Align with the Common Core Standards

Many of the schools I work with are trying to create units of study in both Writing and Reading Workshop that align with…

Teaching Honesty in the Writing Workshop

Chances are if you’re reading this blog, Writing Workshop happens in your classroom or in your school.  You probably know and follow the…

5 Ways to Lift the Level of Non-Fiction Writing

March has been a crazy but wonderful month of learning with teachers, principals, coaches and most importantly kids. Many of the teachers I…

Independence

In my travels many teachers have asked me how to get all kids to be able to work independently during Writing Workshop. Because…

Stories that Energize and Revitalize my Teaching

In my job as an educational consultant I feel privileged to spend a good portion of my time working directly with kids in…

Effective Teaching Should Create Powerful Learning

Teaching is so different now than it was when I was teaching in the classroom (I feel like I am 145 after saying…

Common Questions about Reading Partnerships

I work with amazing teachers who not only do incredible things with their students, but also reflect upon what is not working in…

4 Tips for Successful Writing Conferences

I’ve been spending my week conferring with some really AMAZING K-4 writers. Rather than finding myself doing a thousand different conferring strategies, a…

Play, Reading Workshop, Writing Workshop: Is There a Connection?

Often when I visit schools to help teachers with Reading and Writing Workshop, they assume that because I believe in Reading and Writing…

Best Writing Consultant’s First Blog Post!

Leah Mermelstein is an internationally recognized literacy consultant who specializes in K-5 Reading and Writing Workshop. She is the President and CEO of…