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Professional Learning Courses

These in-person courses are each TQI approved in the ACT for 2023.

Courses can be taken independently or as a series. The same concepts will come up across all of the courses, but are

examined and presented through different lenses in varying detail...a bit like how we teach writing! 


We can come to you and present at your school, or individuals or groups can sign up as courses are offered across the year. 


All About Writing, K_6 (5 hours)

What's that? You want it all? Then this is the course for you! 

In this workshop we will:

  • drill down on our beliefs as writers and teachers of writing

  • link the qualities of great writing to craft and skills 

  • look at writing together, comparing within and across purposes for writing

  • pick apart the steps of the writing process as a writer

  • examine the routine and roles of a writing conference

  • observe and explore the essential elements of a writing workshop lesson

  • spend some time pulling this all together in a skeleton unit plan

  • consider writing assessment within grades and across the school

This course covers A LOT, providing a clear overview of each critical aspect of writing pedagogy and how they all depend on one another in a workshop classroom. You will walk away with clear next steps, resources to use right away, and best of all, permission to call yourself a writer!

All About the Writers' Workshop (3 hours)

This workshop brings together the most important elements of the writer’s workshop style of pedagogy, allowing you to experience a lesson and get a sense of the community that builds within a workshop classroom.

The workshop will: ​

  • unpack how to write a bite-sized and specific lesson aim, based on the qualities of great writing

  • work through a mini-lesson, incorporating modeled, guided and independent practice

  • allow collaboration with a writing partner

  • use the language of the workshop to cultivate a sense of community

  • use mentor texts and writer’s notebooks, valuable teaching tools

  • illustrate how visual anchors can support students to work independently through the writing process 

  • combine conferencing and interim writing assessments to create a comprehensive assessment portfolio

  • provide opportunity to experience the power of sharing your writing with an audience

There will be time to reflect on our learning from the workshop, considering individual contexts and the needs of the students within them. With an implementation plan in hand, you will head back to school ready to create a new community of writers with your class.

All About Writers' Craft (3 hours)

How do great writers bring us into their stories, putting us right alongside their characters? What allows us to hear an author’s voice in their writing? What is it that authors do to show us their story setting so clearly? In this workshop, we will delve into the rich resource of mentor texts, identifying the qualities of great writing that appeal to us as readers, and translating these into strategies as writers.

Our imaginative writing continuum is central to this workshop. We will use it to:

  • identify the qualities of great writing, starting with ideas and content and filtering down to conventions

  • norm writing across classes/grades

  • identify lesson objectives for whole class teaching, and next steps for individual writers 

  • create visual anchors to support independent writing

  • create writing portfolios for your students

You will learn to read as a writer, and appreciate that writing is all about what we do with a topic rather than the topic itself. You will be armed with multiple ideas and strategies for teaching and assessing, all from within the continuum. You can throw out that red marking pen - you'll be ready to offer valuable feedback that your writers can use EVERY TIME they write.

All About the Writing Process (3 hours)

Ask any writer and they will tell you, writing is a process! Even the youngest of writers can be taught a writing process that will shape and bend as they develop their writing identity and begin to understand and form their own process.

Within this workshop we will:

  • experience the process first hand, and write!

  • work through the writing process from THINKING all the way to PUBLISHING, utilising writer's notebooks and folders

  • unpack each of the stages, linking them to specific writing skills and strategies

  • differentiate the process from K-6

This authentic way of writing allows students to experience the real value in writing as a tool to make sense of the world, a way to explore topics and ideas of interest, and as time goes on, use writing as a tool to learn. After this workshop, you can consider yourself a writer, ready to get to the hard work of writing with your class. 

All About Writing Conferences (3 hours)

Do you really know each of your students as writers? You can gain some insight from reading their writing, but to really get to know your writers you need to talk to them, one writer to another, while they are in the process of writing. This is conferencing.

In this workshop we will:

  • observe a conference, picking it down to its bare bones and then slowly rebuilding the predictable structure and routine through practice, piece by piece

  • use writing to identify compliments and teaching points

  • focus on the language of transferable skills

  • unpack the pre-requisite skills your writers will need to allow conferencing to occur (stamina and fluency)

  • create visual anchors to support independent writing 

  • use a simple and oh-so effective record keeping tool to collect assessment data and identify next steps

Once you get started in your own class, you will see how effective conferencing is as a tool to build relationships while allowing you to compile a writing history for each of your students. With a little practice, focused instruction and differentiated learning for every writer will become the norm in your writing classroom. 

Write from the Start, K_2 (2 hours)

Yes, we can teach process from the very beginning! Yes, we can teach the craft of writing to our youngest writers! It's scaffolded, sure, but these young writers can do it! Of course we also need to teach so many skills to facilitate this learning, such as handwriting and spelling and high frequency words in these early years. So strap yourself in for a wild ride in the early years of writing!

In this workshop we will:

  • study writing process as it grows from the beginning of kindergarten

  • study the writers workshop as it adapts to the changing abilities of our writers

  • identify ways to scaffold and explicitly teach skills to develop the qualities of great writing across the first years of school

  • share and practice strategies to access ideas and then turn those ideas into writing pieces

  • plan units of work that incorporate the important secretarial skills alongside purposeful, autonomous writing lessons

This course looks closely at the important first years of school when a love of writing is established and students are learning how to write so that in the years to come, they can write to learn.

We are Writers! (2 hours)

We all know about these communities of writers we want to nurture in our classrooms and schools, but HOW do we do it? By letting them go! In our well-intentioned efforts to be ready for high-stakes testing and support those kids who need support the most, we have gotten lost in text types and formulas. Writing is hard enough without adding rules, let alone writing about things you neither know or care about. Let's find the creativity and joy in writing again! 

In this workshop we will:

  • lead by example as one writer within a classroom of writers

  • consider the routine and structure of the workshop to support independence

  • build relationships with and between students through sharing and responding to writing

  • work out what we need to do to teach voice...preferably by using our own less

  • find tools to scaffold but not restrict our young writers

  • focus on the qualities that make writing great, not just legible (though they matter too, of course)

  • work out where writing exercises and free writing fit in alongside units of study

  • brainstorm ways to use these strategies on the reluctant writers we will encounter

Writing is creative! Let's be creative in how we approach it and enjoy writing lessons as much as our students. This workshop is particualarly suitable for middle and upper grades, but simply adaptable to the very early years, too. 

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