Catching Up

As it turns out, both Stacy & I are away at conferences this week. If you’ve never been to a great summer conference, I would check one out. Last year, I did the Kutztown one the Stacy is at, and I loved it. This year, I’m opting for two weeks at Columbia—it doesn’t really matter where you go, just go. There is something about being in a community of people who are all excited about teaching that gives you new ideas and new courage to take risks in your classroom.

I thought I would have been posting Monday, seeing as I am so excited to share with you. As it turns out, I had forgotten about having homework and still trying to live like a New Yorker and how tired that makes me. So, here it is day three, I’m still not done tomorrow’s homework, but I wanted to pull out something from the 50 pages of notes I’ve taken so far.

Goal Setting. I’ve known it was important since, well since forever, my Mom does teach at Benchmark after all! I can set goals for myself with my eyes closed, but writing goals have been another story. Truth, I’m still not where I want to be when it comes to writing conferences. Truth, I’ve come a long way. What I was reminded of today was something I learned at Benchmark years ago and had forgotten to take into my conferences this year. Goal setting should be teacher directed at first, but the job should be gradually released to the students. Clearly, this will be easier for some students than others, but independence in goal setting is crucial to developing a writerly life.


So, here are my notes from my morning session with the AmAzInG, Sara Kugler


Goal Setting

  1. Identify Writing Goal- based on the qualities of writing. It should be big—across a whole unit and multiple genres
  2. Choose a mentor text that will help you
  3. Study mentor text for- What, How, Why or What Effect
  4. Apply it to your writing


Somehow I’ll get around to writing more, and if for some reason I don’t get around to it while I am up here, I promise to keep the happiness coming as soon as I get home.

3 Replies to “Catching Up”

  1. So, I spend the majority of my years swimming against the formidable academic stream. Including, but hardly limited to, flying through high school on the wings of Cliffs Notes and thumbing my nose at collegiate life. Yet . . . here I sit, swollen with envy at your opportunity to spend time at an amazing institution bettering yourself amongst people that share, and strive, for a common goal.
    Keep it up, be amazing, and come back with stories and achievements that inspire myself and others to do the same!!!

    -Evan W.

  2. Hey Rach, I’m almost hooked on your site- I get to learn stuff for free from an obviously happy teacher and obviously smart professors. Truthfully- I hate goals but I can’t seem to stay away from them. I set them and break them and set them again. I don’t like to be tied down to a goal – I think it makes me feel trapped, maybe I’m afraid I’ll fail at it so it’s better not to set goals then I don’t risk failing. But then there is that feeling that creeps up when I’m not working toward some goal- like what am I doing? What’s the point? I’m lost like a ship in the big black ocean of life. And there’s sharks and stuff out there. I need a rudder and I need to pay attention or I’m going to end up lost and alone. At school, with my kids, there’s nothing worse than that uncomfortable feeling that I don’t know if there’s progress being made or not. I’m teaching but are they learning and what is it I want them to learn anyway? Did they really get better as writers, and do they know that?- oh please give me a goal, a rubric, a list, something I can grab onto and measure. Studying mentor texts with my kids has really helped me to see the writers craft and be able to come up with goals – that are really ways of imitating good writing. Like Jerry Spinelli’s awesome lists that go on for a paragraph. One of my goals is to write more this summer, in my journal and your blog and to practice some of the things I see in what I’m reading. I don’t really want to do this, I don’t like goals, sounds like work to me, but here I am doing it for one day. I’m so good.

  3. Mom, if you want to guest post on my blog— I’d so let you. Cause you’re cool & it’s one of your goals.

    Evan, I promise you inspiration! Or at least I promise to tell you to sit down and write—love hearing your voice here in teacher land.

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