Wrapping up the Revision Decisions blog tour

revision-decisionsI hope you had a chance to visit all of the blogs during our week-long blog tour talking about Jeff Anderson and Deborah Dean’s new book, Revision Decisions! Today is your last chance to leave a comment on any of the blogs — including this one — for a chance to win a free copy of the book!

Here are some highlights from the tour:

The Two Writing Teachers

Jeff Anderson and Deborah Dean have a new book that deals with revision in grades 4 – 10.  Revision Decisions: Talking Through Sentences and Beyond is a professional book that will help students realize that reseeing, reformulating, redesigning, rethinking, recasting, reshaping, and retweaking isn’t so scary.  In fact it can be fun!  (Yes, I wrote FUN!)

Writing is messy.  As teachers we need to provide our students with opportunities to see our struggles as writers.  When students see us revise (i.e., rewriting, throwing out chunks of text, adding new parts), they’ll come to understand that revision is a natural part of the writing process.

Great writing usually doesn’t pour out in first drafts.  All writers need time and space to revise sentences, paragraphs, or whole pieces of writing multiple times to get it right.

The Reading Zone

Q: In a school system where standardized tests only value quick, rough drafts, how do teachers help students value revision?

Jeff: Great question. A few things come to mind. This same conundrum faces middle and elementary teachers as well as your high school students. First, when we revise often, our first drafts get better each time, right out of the chute. So, the playing with sentences we call for in Revision Decisions lessons, prime our writers best craft to the surface. In exploration and discovery of how sentences can be put together, young writers minds are opened to possibility. These possibilities eventually get applied (sometimes with our nudges). As the Writing Next report (2007) concludes sentence combining is a proven pedagogy for improving student writing in grades 4-12. So there’s that. But also most standardized writing test have a test on revision, editing, and grammar. To pick the best sentences, students need practice at this kind of evaluating, and this is just the kind of practice they’ll get in Revision Decision lessons.

Deborah: We’ve had quite a few teachers ask this question; there is so much concern about testing! But we both believe (and our work with student writers seems to show) that this kind of playing with sentences improves even students’ one-shot writing, which is often all they have time for on tests. After this kind of playing around with sentences and paragraphs, they have more ways of using language effectively stored in their heads, so they can use it spontaneously as well as in situations where they have time to revise and craft more carefully.

The Nerdy Book Club

When Jeff told me that he was working on a new book with the brilliant Deborah Dean, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. If these two thought leaders had something new to teach me, I wanted to learn. Revision Decisions: Talking Through Sentences and Beyond pushes our thinking as Jeff and Deborah introduce a framework for teaching students how to revise. By framing and naming revision techniques in ways we can model and practice with students, Jeff and Deborah help teachers understand the revision process and move students forward as writers and thinkers.

Focusing on the importance of sentence combining as the foundation of good revision, Jeff and Deborah offer a framework that supports writers first, then their writing. Trust, practice, risk-taking, play—without these fundamentals it’s difficult to engage students with revision.

From this supportive foundation, Jeff and Deborah move teachers step-by-step through model lessons that show young writers how to examine mentor texts, reflect on techniques, and hone in on targeted changes that improve their own writing.

Rich with resources, Revision Decisions offers lesson sets, anchor charts, authentic sentence models from children’s authors like Sarah Albee and Albert Marrin, and conversations from students as they ask questions and learn to revise.

Digital Writing, Digital Teaching

Q: How do you balance teaching “revision decisions” with authentic pieces of student work against these constraining types of test questions? In what way are we able to have students transfer their knowledge of grammar from their “revision decisions” into the reality of test prep?

Jeff’s Response: The cool thing about the concrete acts modeled and experimented with in Revision Decisions is that they are based in a sound research-based instructional methods and help prepare kids for test. Sure, it will work best for critical thinking, revision, and sentence combining questions that students are sure to encounter. It’s not so much about editing; however, since we only use grammatically correct sentences to play with and combine, they are getting exposure to correct texts as they reformulate and revise.

Thinkers. That is what we want our students to be in our classroom, in the world, and even on tests. Thinkers. Thinkers evaluate what best communicates and idea, analyzing, testing it. This is all built into the lesson cycle or progression in Revision Decisions.

2 comments November 14th, 2014

Coming Soon: Revision Decisions blog tour!



We are excited to be kicking off a week-long blog tour for Jeff Anderson and Deborah Dean’s new book Revision Decisions: Talking Through Sentences and Beyond. The blog tour will start on Monday, November 10 and will visit four amazing blogs where you can read each blogger’s take on the book as well as their interview with the authors. The more blogs you visit and the more you comment the better your chances will be of winning a free copy of the book because we’ll raffle off a book on each blog at the end of the week.

Here is the schedule:

Monday, November 10: The Two Writing Teachers
Tuesday, November 11: The Reading Zone
Wednesday, November 12: The Nerdy Book Club
Thursday, November 13: Digital Writing, Digital Teaching

Friday, November 14: Wrap-up here on the Stenhouse blog!

So, do you have the book? Have you read it? Let us know on Twitter using #revisiondecisions! See you on Monday!

Add comment November 3rd, 2014

Daily 5 blog tour wrap-up

Thanks to all of you who participated in this week’s Daily 5 blog tour! We hope that you were able to get a better idea about the second edition of this landmark book and share your excitement with your fellow teachers.

Here are some of the highlights from the tour:

Ruminate and Invigorate with Laura
“Even if you aren’t currently using the Daily Five in your classroom, so many of the strategies can be applied! Joan and Gail pride themselves on keeping up with current brain research, best practices, and connecting with both students and teachers. They’ve built the Daily Five on the foundation of a workshop structure and continue to improve upon it as their learning grows.”

Read Laura’s Q&A with The Sisters

Enjoy and Embrace Learning with Mandy
“You know you’ve read a good book when it sticks with you for a few days and you find yourself thinking about it while doing dishes and the house is all a buzz. The girls are coming and going, asking questions, telling me information and I keep thinking about CHOICE in the Daily 5. My mind kept wandering and thinking about choice because I have always had my literacy block as a reading workshop. I love the hum of the classroom when everyone is reading at the same time. It is Read to Self but everyone is doing it at the same time. As I washed the dishes I wondered, why am I doing it this way? It’s the one component I haven’t been able to try differently even after reading The Daily Five at the beginning of each year. Sometimes our roots hold us firmly in place. However, I’m rethinking this now and will continue to explore my thinking for next year.”

Read Mandy’s initial thoughts and then her Q&A with The Sisters

Reading by Example with Matt
“When we give students time to practice the skills we have explicitly taught them, it is only then that we allow them to become readers and writers. Teachers need to stop apologizing for taking a step back and allowing our kids to walk on their own path toward proficiency. Guiding students to become independent, lifelong learners should be the ultimate goal in any classroom. The Daily 5 framework gives structure and purpose when striving for this laudable goal.”

Read Matt’s post on how principals can support effective literacy instruction

Read, Write, Reflect with Katherine
“Just recently I read the new edition. I had assumed that just a few tweaks would have been made, but there was so much more. I read, folding down pages as I went, highlighting passages, and emailing colleagues my thoughts. Since finishing I have recommended it to many teachers, and shared my copy with friends in my building.”

Katherine is an upper-elementary teacher. Read her take on the book.

Winners of the free signed copy of The Daily 5, Second Edition, will be announced soon!

3 comments May 9th, 2014

Coming soon: Daily 5 blog tour

If you haven’t already, there is still time to get your questions ready for next week’s blog tour with Gail Boushey and Joan Moser, authors of the second edition of The Daily 5. The blog tour will stop at four blogs starting Monday, May 5. At each stop you can read reviews and an interview with The 2 Sisters. It’s also a great time to ask questions and to share your thoughts with fellow teachers. You should definitely visit each blog because the more you comment or ask a question, the better your chances to win one of five signed copies of The Daily 5. (The winners will be selected by each blog host, including the Stenhouse blog, at the end of the tour.)

Here is the schedule:

May 5: Ruminate and Invigorate

May 6: Enjoy and Embrace Learning

May 7: Reading by Example

May 8: Read, Write, and Reflect

May 9: Roundup on the Stenhouse blog

So join us next week for some great discussion! See you soon!

Add comment April 28th, 2014

It’s here! Blog tour for Celebrating Writers

0950We are very excited to kick off our week-long blog tour for Ruth Ayres’ new book, Celebrating Writers. And we are especially excited to be kicking it off with a lovely interview by another Stenhouse gem, Franki Sibberson. Visit Franki’s blog today for insights into the book and be sure to ask questions or leave a comment to be entered to win a free Stenhouse book!

Here is what Franki has to say about Ruth and her writing:

Ruth’s writing (on her blog and in her books) have been a huge inspiration to me over the last few years.  It is a hard time to stay grounded in teaching–to continue to keep our classrooms joyful places for children.  It is easy to lose energy and to fall back on practices that don’t match what we know about children or about learning. But Ruth’s work always gives me the confidence and energy I need to stick with what I know is right. She understands children and writing and teachers and she celebrates every piece of the learning process, especially the messy ones!

Follow the blog tour all week at these outstanding education blogs:

Nov. 12: Kate Messner’s Blog
Nov. 13: Reflect and Refine
Nov. 14: Read, Write, Reflect
Nov. 15: Nerdy Book Club 

1 comment November 11th, 2013

Assessment in Perspective Blog Tour: Wrap Up

We hope you had a chance to follow our blog tour for Assessment in Perspective: Focusing on the Reader Behind the Numbers by Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan.

The tour kicked off on Monday at A Year of Reading, where author and blogger Franki wrote this about the book in her recent review:

“This is a book that speaks to teachers today. It reminds us to keep our eye on the reader but it does not discount the tremendous stress and mandates we are all dealing with when it comes to assessment. Tammy and Clare have figured out how to help teachers stay grounded with good literacy practice through this time.  In this book, they share their story.”

At Our Camp Read-A-Lot teacher and blogger Laura Komos asked Tammy and Clare about how teachers — and students — can deal with so many required tests. “How much is too much?” she wondered. Here is what the authors said:

“This is the rule we try to live by:  If it is not informing instruction or lifting the quality of instruction then stop doing it.  We realize this rule assumes we have control over the tests we use and we know that is not always the case.  Our next rule is that if we give an assessment we use it.  It is better than not using it.  We do think that we are over-assessing some students and not assessing other students enough.  When it comes to assessment we think fair is not equal.  Our at-risk readers need more diagnostic assessments that help us pinpoint what they need and monitor their progress.”

Finally Cathy Mere at Reflect and Refine asked Tammy and Clare how teachers can advocate for assessment that matches what they value in educating children.

“When we authentically assess every day we think it is the opposite – what we teach is what we assess which informs what we need to teach next.  We recognize that districts are mandating the use of some common assessments, but that does take away from how we assess every day.  We have the power to assess as part of our instruction and to notice how our students are learning.  When we use these assessments and show how they help us target our instruction we are advocating for assessments that match what we value.  If we lose sight of what we do have the power to impact in assessment because we are frustrated with what we do not have the power to control in assessment we end up giving up the best tools we have to inform our instruction – on-going, informal, formative assessment.”

Visit all three blogs for the full interviews. Today is the last day to leave a comment on any of the blogs for a chance to win a free copy of the book!

1 comment May 24th, 2013

Assessment in Perspective Blog Tour Day 3

The last stop on our blog tour for Assessment in Perspective takes us to Cathy Mere’s blog, Reflect and Refine.  In her interview authors Tammy Mulligan and Clare Landrigan talk about combining formal assessment and classroom observations, triangulating assessment, and advocating for assessment that matches what teachers value in educating children.

” We have the power to assess as part of our instruction and to notice how our students are learning.  When we use these assessments and show how they help us target our instruction we are advocating for assessments that match what we value.  If we lose sight of what we do have the power to impact in assessment because we are frustrated with what we do not have the power to control in assessment we end up giving up the best tools we have to inform our instruction – on-going, informal, formative assessment.”

This is your last chance to leave a comment on any of the blog tour stops for a chance to win a free copy of the book! A winner will be chosen on each blog.

Add comment May 22nd, 2013

Assessment in Perspective Blog Tour Day 2

“I’ll admit it. I typically cringe when I think about or hear about testing, assessment, and data. I may have even uttered the phrase “data schmata” once or twice (thanks to a brilliant Twitter friend for coining the phrase!) But I can honestly say that I enjoyed reading Assessment in Perspective and know it has already started impacting my thinking.”

Join day 2 of our blog tour for Assessment in Perspective over at Our Camp Read-A-Lot, where teacher blogger Laura Komos reviews the book and shares an insightful Q&A with the authors, Tammy Mulligan and Clare Landrigan.

1 comment May 21st, 2013

Assessment in Perspective Blog Tour Day 1

Our blog tour for Tammy Mulligan and Clare Landrigan’s new book Assessment in Perspective: Focusing on the Readers Behind the Numbers gets into gear today with an interview by Franki Sibberson over at A Year of Reading. The authors tell Franki about the inspiration for the book, share advice on staying grounded in the face of testing pressures, and the important role students play in assessment.

Head over to A Year of Reading to read the full interview. The blog tour continues tomorrow at Our Camp Read-A-Lot.
Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book!

Add comment May 20th, 2013

Coming soon: blog tour for Math Exchanges

Copies of Kassia Omohundro Wedekind’s new book Math Exchanges are arriving in our warehouse right now. Order your copy today and take part in an upcoming blog tour where you can discuss ideas from the book and ask questions from the author!

The four-stop blog tour will begin October 3 and will take place at these great blogs:

Catching Readers Before They Fall hosted by Stenhouse authors Pat Johnson and Katie Keier

Our Camp Read-A-Lot hosted by first grade teacher Laura Komos

Reflect and Refine hosted by Stenhouse author and first grade teacher Cathy Mere

Elementary My Dear, Or Far From It, hosted by first grade teacher Jenny Orr

At each stop Kassia will answer questions and each blog will raffle off a copy of her book (or if you already have her book, your choice of any other Stenhouse book) among those who leave a comment or ask a question. If you order Math Exchanges between now and October 3, you will also receive free shipping on the Stenhouse website. Just use code MATHX.

Check back here for more news about the blog tour as we get closer to the date! After you have ordered your copy, make sure to also visit Kassia’s blog.

3 comments August 31st, 2011

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