Every Wednesday at 4 PM PT/7 PM ET educators from near and far come together to discuss why writing matters to them and how they can best support their student writers. Each week a guest host and leader in the teacher-writer community joins #WritingMatters to lead the discussion and share their favorite tips, tricks, and resources for growing great writers.
Twitter has been used by educators for many years as an extension of professional learning. Did you know 2019 marked the 10th Anniversary of the first Twitter chat created exclusively for educators, #Edchat? Fun fact: Steven Anderson, one of the #Edchat founders is on Season 2 of the Writing Matters Podcast!
Why did we create the #WritingMatters Twitter chat? Because we want to provide meaningful and authentic professional learning for literacy educators. The chat parallels the popular podcast, Writing Matters with Dr. Troy Hicks, by creating a space for all educators to join in on this important discussion.
Twitter chats are a perfect way for educators to continue developing professionally. They promote resource sharing and collaboration. They help to expand participants’ PLN (Personal Learning Networks) and are a great way to reflect and grow in practice. Finally, and one of our favorite reasons, they are fun!
#WritingMatters #SlowChat, Summer 2020
This year, the #WritingMatters Twitter Chat was a huge success that we have decided to keep the community active during the summer months with a #SlowChat. A #SlowChat is a perfect way to engage with other educators around a central topic each week. So what does a #SlowChat look like?
- One question posted each week (on Tuesdays, 9 AM PT) from the Writable Account around a high-interest topic.
- It will be tagged with the hashtags #WritingMatters & #SlowChat
- Answer the question at your leisure. You can respond to the question when it is most convenient for you. The question will not be changed until the following week.
- Respond as many times as you would like to, be sure to include the hashtags #WritingMatters & #SlowChat
- Read and interact with those who are also participating in the summer #SlowChat
Week of May 27th, 2020
The May 27th #WritingMatters Twitter Chat marked the end to our weekly, Wednesday night chats for the school year before transitioning to a #SlowChat over the summer. Manuel Garcés Jr guest-hosted the conversation filled with celebrations and inspiration for the end of the year writing assignments. While there were a handful of new educators in the feed, it was fantastic to see past hosts, as well as regulars who joined each week sharing and learning together during the conversation!
The first question posed was reflective in nature, asking us all to consider if we were “adventurous” in writing. While most in the feed agreed they were open to trying new things, others voiced their struggle and lack of preparation in how to actually teach writing. This was a common statement throughout the year and one in which Writable is helping to change through our program and professional learning!
Throughout the 30 minute conversation, educators shared their ideas and inspirations for the end of the year writing assignments. From e-books to “This I Believe Statements,” educators inspired each other with creative ideas. Here are a few favorites:
At the end of the conversation, educators shared how best to inspire student writers during the summer months.
Thank you to all of the educators who helped to make the first year of the #WritingMatters chat a success! We appreciate your dedication to the profession, relationships with students, and your weekly sharing. Be sure to join us this summer for the #WritingMatters #SlowChat to stay connected and continue the conversation. Enjoy your summer break!
Week of May 20th, 2020
Troy Hicks & Andy Schoenborn, authors of the new book Creating Confident Writers: For High School, College, and Life, co-hosted the May 20th #WritingMatters Twitter chat. The topic of the chat, “Create Confidence by Inviting, Encouraging, & Celebrating Student Writers!” posed thoughtful questions to educators on genre, audience, feedback, and celebrations during writing instruction.
The first question asked educators to consider the “invitations” the give to student writers and how they encourage choice. Responses ranged from having ELs write their personal narratives to let the world know they stories worth sharing to brining in community partners from various occupations to provide purpose and a real audience for their students.
Question 3 asked the group to share ways to celebrate student work. Here are a few of our favorite ideas:
The chat ended with educators sharing the words from mentors that personally encouraged and celebrated them as writers in hopes to inspire others to do the same.
Week of May 13th, 2020
Blended learning has been on the minds of most educators as the school year is coming to an end many are starting to imagine what the next year may bring to teaching and learning. With this in mind, it was clear that Catlin Tucker would be a perfect guest host for the May 13th’s #WritingMatters Twitter chat on literacy learning and feedback in a blended classroom.
The first question helped to define and describe blended learning.
As the conversation continued, many ideas were shared on how best to support student learning and feedback in a blended learning environment. Here are a few of our favorite ones:
As the chat winded down, it was clear that many have already started planning for what may come next year. Whether education is online, face-to-face, or even blended; educators have already learned, during this short time, what worked for teaching and learning with their students and plan to continue there use next year.
Week of May 6th, 2020
“Writing During Remote Learning,” was the topic for the May 6th #WritingMatters Twitter chat hosted by Teresa Gross. Teresa is a middle school ELA teacher from New York and was the perfect host to lead this discussion! Question 1 asked educators to explain how writing looked and felt differently during remote instruction instead of the traditional face-to-face classroom.
Throughout the chat, educators shared modifications they have made to writing instruction now that it is done remotely, as well as the Pros and Cons they have noticed. The final question asked all to share out anything that has worked well during this time of remote learning and teaching that they would bring back into the classroom when face-to-face classes resumed.
Week of April 29th, 2020
Shaelynn Farnsworth hosted the April 29th #WritingMatters Twitter chat with a focus on “Narrative Writing: Enhancing Student Voice.” All participants agreed that now, more than ever before, narrative writing was important for students during remote learning. Narrative writing helps to maintain those connections in the classroom, record and write themselves into this historical moment in time and aligns with social-emotional learning goals.
Week of April 22nd, 2020
Guest host, Ken Shelton, led the #WritingMatters Twitter chat this week with the important topic, “#Techquity in Writing: Why Ensuring Culturally Responsive & Culturally Relevant Practices are Necessary!” Question #1 asked educators to share how writing is connected to the other 4 “core literacies” Ken identifies; reading, speaking, listening, and observing.
A later question Ken posed, “Techquity is defined as merging ed tech with culturally responsive & culturally relevant experiences. How might we ensure our teaching & learning around writing validates students’ experiences, cultural identity, & serves as a platform for empowerment?” continued the thoughtful discussion around literacy and Techquity.
Ken closed the important conversation asking all educators, “How can we validate diversity of voice, cultural differences, & authenticity in writing?” An essential question to address to ensure all students are recognized and validated in our classrooms.
Week of April 15th, 2020
“The Role of Feedback in Remote Learning & Teaching” was the topic at hand for the #WritingMatters Twitter chat, hosted by author, Matthew Johnson! Educators participating in the chat agreed that now, more than ever, giving students feedback during remote teaching and learning was important and valuable.
The reasons given on the value of feedback to students were rich in thought and filled with ideas. Here are a few of our favorite responses:
Matthew ended the chat by posing a final question, “What lessons from this time about feedback and responding to student work might be worth trying to bring back to the classroom once brick-and-mortar schools reopen?” which gave all educators a chance to pause and reflect. When school starts back up again, how can we avoid going “back to normal” and instead “return to better”?
Week of April 8th, 2020
The top poems all educators should read as shared by the #WritingMatters community:
- How to Breathe When You Want to Give Up – Cleo Wade
- To the Lady – Yamada
- If – Rudyard Kipling
- A Bronzeville Mother Stands Idle While a Mississippi Mother Burns Bacon – Gwendolyn Brooks
- 4/30/92 for Rodney King – Lucille Clifton
- Testimonial – Rita Dove
In honor of National Poetry Month, Erin Olson hosted this week’s #WritingMatters Twitter chat sharing ideas, inspiration, and resources on teaching poetry! Journaling and poetry have helped many adults and students “get through the state of now,” as Erin stated. The question was also raised on how best to support students when reading and writing poetry, which is often seen as intimidating for many.
Week of April 1st, 2020
Peg Grafwallner, the author of Ready to Learn, focused on “Increasing Vigor in Writing Tasks!” for this week’s #WritingMatters Chat. Peg started the chat off defining the terms ‘rigor’ and vigor when talking about creating writing tasks for students. Rigor has a negative connotation, often associated with ‘death’, and ‘stiffness’. Vigor, when speaking about writing tasks, has a more positive connotation and is different than the traditional writing tasks.
A class is vigorous because, uses critical thinking skills, demonstrates divergent thinking, and shows the process! Question #2 asked the group “How do you support students in thinking critically about their writing?”. There were a multitude of ideas shared in the hashtag.
The chat ended with the sharing of ideas and reflection on how to infuse flexibility while still maintaining vigor in the writing assignments students have during remote learning!
Week of March 25th, 2020
Greg Garner hosted this week’s #WritingMatters Chat and discussing the importance of relationships, but with a twist! “Building Human Connections, Remotely! ” Greg started off the chat asking educators “What part of your work routine(s) do you miss the most right now?” Most agreed that students ranked #1, with colleagues near the top of the list. As the chat continued, question #3 as educators, “What is the hardest part of teaching writing, remotely?” which produced some thoughtful responses:
Greg wrapped up the conversation with tips on how best to remember the ‘human’ side while teaching and learning remotely!
Week of March 18th, 2020
Author, Katie Kelly hosted this week’s #WritingMatters Chat and shared her expertise with educators offering advice and considerations for virtual learning. The topic, #RealWriting: Support for Remote Teaching & Learning, was timely as many educators have found themselves transitioning to remote teaching because of school closures.
Question #1 sets the tone of this delightful conversation, having educators reflect on their personal and professional writing, as well as different ways to engage children remotely!
Week of March 11th, 2020
Bret Gosselin, Sheltered Instruction Expert from Texas, hosted this week’s #WritingMatters Chat sharing all about Mentor Texts to Teach Writing and Build Vocabulary and Language Skills! Bret stressed the importance of supporting ELs during the writing process with his favorite teaching method – the Mentor Text! Bret defines a “Mentor Text” for educators in the chat.
Educators also shared the when and how when it comes to using mentor texts!
Throughout the 30 minutes, many participating educators shared their favorite resources when considering Mentor Texts:
Week of March 4th, 2020
“Writing Across Disciplines” was the topic for the discussion on this week’s #WritingMatters Chat hosted by Steven Anderson (creator of the popular education hashtag #Edchat). Question #1 kicked off the thoughtful conversation asking educators what, “writing in different disciplines looked like”.
Question #3 focused on how to support teachers in the area of writing. This is something many schools struggle with because oftentimes, the teachers themselves often struggle to balance the need to teach their specific content or discipline while also growing students in the area of literacy. Many in the chat offered solutions to this question including a text characteristics chart created and shared by Shaelynn Farnsworth!
Week of February 26th, 2020
Shaelynn Farnsworth hosted this week’s #WritingMatters Chat with a conversation on “Designing High-Impact Writing Assignments”. The 30 minutes flew by quickly as many returners, as well as new voices, joined the chat. Question 1 focused on what writing curriculum if any, people were using.
As the questions and ideas continued throughout the chat, educators shared a variety of frameworks used when designing curricula. From OER (Open Educational Resources) to Writer’s Workshop, designing a high-impact writing curriculum could take many different forms!
To increase student motivation when writing, everyone agreed that choice and relevant and engaging content were at the top of the list!
Week of February 19th, 2020
This week’s #WritingMatters Chat was hosted by David Buck, a Professor of English at Howard Community College in Columbia, MD. David is not only an expert in the teaching of writing but has vast knowledge in assessment, which was the topic for the chat.
“The Essentials of Writing Assessment” was composed of thoughtful questions, along with educator voices sharing their ideas and resources when it comes to assessment and writing. Question 1 kicked off with a personal reflection.
- Meet the students where they are
- Punctuating Feedback!
- Active reflection
to Heather’s comment which listed a few thoughts.
Throughout the 30 minutes, educators shared their assessment obstacles, hopes for meaningful feedback, and opportunities for students to contribute to society as a whole. This chat is one that definitely needs periodic revisiting and reflection to help us all keep out “Essentials” aligned!
Week of February 12th, 2020
LDTechnologist, Author, Chief Technology Integrator, and Assistive Tech Guru, Sharon LePage Plante, guest hosted this week’s #WritingMatters Chat with a focus on “EdTech to Support ALL Writers”. The voices in the feed ranged from returning, seasoned educators to a handful of preservice teachers! Everyone shared the best #EdTech resources to support students in the writing process.
Here are the Top 5 Tweets of the night:
Week of February 5th, 2020
“Teaching Argumentative Writing” was the topic this week for the #WritingMatters Chat with host, Shaelynn Farnsworth. The first question asked what the differences are between Persuasive, Opinion, and Argument writing & how has it impacted instruction. While many answers were shared, Shaelynn shared this table to distinguish between the types.
Topic choice was something many educators felt their students needed support with because they often resorted to choosing one that was not relevant or debatable. Many offered ideas and resources to get kids thinking:
At the end of the chat, educators shared different platforms and modes students could share their writing outside of the four walls of the classroom!
Week of January 29th, 2020
Inspiring and creative are the two words that come to mind for the #WritingMatters Chat this week. Paul W. Hankins guest hosted a discussion on “Purposeful Play in Writing Workshop”. Even before the chat started, Paul provided educators creative inspiration in the form of “Reading Remixes”, colorful notebooks, and Taylor Mali’s Metaphor Dice!
The first question of the night had participants focus on self and students and what “purposeful play looked like” for their own personal writing and in their classroom.
Question #3 asked for resources and technology to support purposeful play in writing workshop. Here are a few of our favorites:
Week of January 22nd, 2020
This week’s #WritingMatters Twitter chat was hosted by 3rd-grade teacher, Yanisha Daniel-Jeffers and focused on “Writing ‘FUN’damentals”. At the start of the chat, there was a discussion on the importance of the teaching of grammar and mechanics. While most voices in the thread felt it was important, many also agreed that emphasis should not be placed in these areas.
The conversation proceeded to discuss the difficulties educators find in teaching writing.
Educators also shared ways to increase student engagement in writing and small steps everyone can take to improve their craft.
Week of January 15th, 2020
What are your must-haves when it comes to teaching writing? What are your nice-to-haves?
This week’s #WritingMatters Twitter chat was hosted by Fran McVeigh and focused on “Writing Instruction Non-negotiables”. Questions focused on a productive environment, time, routines, and conferring. The 30 minutes flew by with advice and examples from some of the best literacy minds on Twitter.
Week of January 8th, 2020
Author and educator, Troy Hicks kicked off the new year as guest host for this week’s #WritingMatters Twitter chat. In keeping with the spirit of the season, the topic, “New Year’s Resolutions on Teaching Writing” drew educators from around the globe. Expert teaching advice was given for audience and purpose when designing writing assignments. Thoughtful Tweets on digital writing, multimodal assignments, and the sharing of new resources were also part of the lively conversation.
Check out these ideas:
Week of December 11th, 2019
How can teachers support their English Learners when it comes to writing? This week, the #WritingMatters Twitter chat focused on “Writing Instruction for ELs” with host Emily Francis. Not only was the conversation fast-paced and lively, but it was also flooded with ideas from expert teachers in this area.
Question 1 started off asking what it took to help ELs become successful writers. Here is one of our favorite responses:
Another question that garnered much attention and advice dealt with scaffolds to support ELs in writing:
This important discussion included great ideas for the classroom environment, as well as favorite #edtech to use in writing instruction for ELs. Make sure to check out the full transcript linked below and bookmark all of the wonderful suggestions from these fellow educators!
Week of December 4th, 2019
This week, the #WritingMatters Twitter chat focused on the role teacher–librarians/media–specialists play in supporting student writing and a tweet in response to Question 1 via Tess Reiche summed up the conversation, “Librarians are human Wikipedias.” Not only do teacher–librarians work tirelessly to ignite a spark for reading, but their role is multi-faceted most schools.
Sarah Staudt, a teacher-librarian from Iowa hosted the lively chat and shared a list of resources she curated throughout the chat. Access the document HERE. From Information Literacy, publishing, multimedia creation, modeling mentor texts, and digital citizenship; teacher-librarians support writing in many ways and reinforce the reading-writing connection.
Week of November 20th, 2019
Brianna Hodges hosted the #WritingMatters Twitter chat this week with a focus on “Multimodal Literacies to Inspire, Encourage, & Enhance Writing”. The conversation kicked off defining multimodal and quickly turned to the relevance and engagement realized when using contemporary communication modes and multimedia in the classroom. Check out a few of our favorite tweets:
An archived transcript is below; read about more ideas, resources, and ways to use multimodal writing in your classroom!
Week of November 13th, 2019
Shervette Miller–Payton hosted the #WritingMatters Twitter chat this week with a focus on “Using Diverse Mentor Texts to Support Students’ Writing Skills.” Educators shared their thoughts around the purpose of a mentor text, challenges that arise, as well as examples and resources for locating Mentor Texts. This list contains a few of the Mentor Text resources that were shared:
- Nerdwriter Videos
- This I Believe
- Moving Writers
- NY Times Learning Network Mentor Texts
Week of November 6th, 2019
Shaelynn Farnsworth kicked off our first #WritingMatters Twitter chat with a focus on “Writing Strategies that Work.” The conversation included educators from around the globe sharing experiences, strategies, and even examples. Check out these highlights: