10 Questions for Jeff Anderson

October 18th, 2012

If you have questions about writing, teaching writing, life as a writer, or life as a teacher, then Jeff Anderson has the answers for you!

We are launching an online event with Jeff called “10 Questions for Jeff” and we invite you to ask Jeff what you always wanted to know about his classroom strategies, his books and videos, and his life as a teacher and author. Do you have a writing or editing dilemma, or do you need new ideas for reaching a struggling writer in your classroom? Jeff can help with that too.

Send your questions to zmcmullin@stenhouse.com between now and November 11. Jeff will pick 10 questions to respond to and we will post his responses over 10 days in December. Everyone who submits a question will be eligible to win a package of all of Jeff’s book’s and videos: The Craft of Grammar (DVD), Teaching Apostrophes (DVD), Editing Invitations (DVD), Everyday Editing, 10 Things Every Writer Needs to Know, and Mechanically Inclined.

So ask away! Jeff has the answers!

Entry Filed under: Writing

21 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sungeeta Singh  |  October 18th, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    Hi Jeff,
    What are your thoughts on students’ writing with convention errors being displayed?

    I understand that K- 2, English Language Learners and students with special learning needs will attempt to spell high frequency words correctly, often using the Word Wall. New words can be phonetically spelt. But what about Grade 3 and above?

    The Core Standards state that by the end of Grade 4, students will use correct capitalization and use references for spelling checks. Is there an expectation that from this age, that writers take responsibility for the correctness of their writing? Doesn’t displayed writing serve as models of writing for their audience? Sure, teacher formative assessments are ongoing and the final product is not assessed. Is it time that older writers become more accountable for their own editing skills?


  • 2. Kim Higdon  |  October 19th, 2012 at 10:03 am

    Hi Jeff,
    At the very beginning of the year, when you are first getting to know your middle grades students and want to learn what makes them tick, what kind of writing activities do you start out with?

  • 3. Gwen  |  October 19th, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    Hi Jeff,
    What are some strategies you have used that are successful for motivatiing students in grades 3-5 to be more interested in writing including revision? Some of our students are not interested enough to work on making their stories better. They are satisfied with thier first efforts and not very willing to work on revision.

  • 4. Reilly Posey  |  October 21st, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Hello Jeff,

    I am noticing that my 5th grade students are frequently misspelling “high frequency words” in their daily writing (e.g. “whent” for went). I know that editing work can take care of these mistakes, but I am concerned with how often I am seeing this in my classroom. What suggestions do you have to improving this, and how should I make students more accountable for these types of errors?

  • 5. Amy  |  October 21st, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Hi Jeff,

    Do you pre-teach structures and formulas for writing sentences? I know some teachers may do this and I wonder about students understanding what it truly means to write a grammatically correct sentence.

  • 6. Cynthia Alaniz  |  October 21st, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    In Everyday Editing, you show how valuable it is to share good quality sentences from good books. Can you offer suggestions or advice on how to collect these treasures? What works for you? Thank you in advance for the answer!

  • 7. Kelly Kennedy  |  October 22nd, 2012 at 7:12 am

    Teaching upper elementary students to revise and edit has biggest struggle. How do I get them to look back, read, hear what they read, and make it better?

  • 8. Darilyn  |  October 23rd, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Hi Jeff, try as I might 7th and 8th graders just can’t seem to get the hang of how to use commas other than the obvious times such as dialogue and dates. How do you encourage them to use them properly while avoiding the ever nasty comma splice?

  • 9. Dawn Keenan  |  November 4th, 2012 at 10:25 am

    With all of the emphasis on Common Core reading and math, it seems like writing is being left behind. What one strategy do you think is the easiest for teachers to implement in a school where writing is now on the back burner?

  • 10. dENNISBELLINO  |  November 9th, 2012 at 1:01 am

    i am currently a student teacher for Cross catagorical special ehigh school level reading and basic writing instruction and excercises. I am aware that some of the students are not reading at the grade level, however, I feel strongly about expectingad exposing these students to high school content and some expectatoion that they attempt to read ,write and achiecve an understanding of grade level material. I am working with my mentor teacher and she expects lower level material and instruction and expectatons. I understand many of these students have emotional and social disabilities,which seem like they are not into studying or applying themselves. With this in mind, I feel the students must be exposed to grade level material in moderation.as the state exit states provided these students who are expected to understand this material during exit and midpoint check exams.. What is your thought on learning needs classes and grade level content teaching and higher expectations?

  • 11. Jennifer Underwood  |  November 9th, 2012 at 1:48 am

    What is the best way to provide feedback to writers so that they feel encouraged while helping them to develop? How can I use technology effectively to help my students improve their writing?

  • 12. Melanie Hoeksema  |  November 9th, 2012 at 6:15 am

    Hi Jeff…what are your thoughts about Daily Oral Language (DOL)? What does the research say about it? How might you finish this sentence: Intead of DOL, try this…

    Thank you!

  • 13. Marilyn Young  |  November 9th, 2012 at 6:55 am

    I have the same question as Sungetta in her Oct. question to you. How do we reach students who, consistently, do not use conventions in their writing?

  • 14. Suzanne  |  November 9th, 2012 at 8:30 am

    Hi Jeff,
    How can I get adamant teachers to stop doing DOL?

  • 15. Edie Emery  |  November 9th, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Hi Jeff,

    As we transisiton to Common Core writing, our students are being asked to write narratives grounded in evidence from text. This is a difficult concept to convey to our students, especially our upper elementary writers. They see narrative as their own creative story; however, they are being asked to use the information and evidence found in a piece of informational text. What are some effective strategies and/or advice you would give teachers to help students with this process?

  • 16. Esther Martinez  |  November 9th, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Hi Jeff,
    I’m wondering about tips for getting boys to write, but without lots of blood and guts. I’m also very interested in your tips for getting students (of any age) to pay attention to conventions, without getting so wound up with those that they don’t get to just enjoy writing. Thank you!

  • 17. Betty Smallwood  |  November 9th, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    How do you motivate middle school students who hate to write and have very limited writing backgrounds and very poor command of mechanics as well?

  • 18. Paula Heuschkel  |  November 10th, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    Hi Jeff, I’m teaching writing to 2nd graders who can barely form sentences. Any suggestions on helping them to improve their writing? I encourage, forgive conventions, and tell them to use their best guess spelling (nothing kills the imagination like stopping to ask how to spell a word every 30 seconds). I want them to want to write, but I want others to be able to understand what is written.

  • 19. Robb Ponton  |  November 10th, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    In math class I show the students the “rules” or algorithm for how to do a particular math skill. Then we discuss how and why the rules can be broken. For example after the students learn the Order of Operations they learn that the order can be changed using grouping symbols or certain math properties. This gives the students a reason to learn the rules … so they can break them! . It is often this breaking of the “rules” that results in real math understanding.

  • 20. Robb Ponton  |  November 10th, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Do you think the same approach could be applied to writing? I am currently focusing on grammar and the construction of sentences with my 5th grade students. I will then start reveiwing how to write a basic “5-pargraph” essay. But soon after we will look at the limitations of the “5-paragraph essay” and start to look at how successful writing comes in all sizes and shapes in order to fit its audience.

  • 21. Vicki Justman  |  November 17th, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    Hello, Jeff.
    How do you deal with boys, elementary age, that want to “write” a story that mirrors the videos that they play. Often these stories involve so many layers or levels that they can’t capture them on paper and they are at a stalmate. Thanks for sharing your ideas and work in the classroom!

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