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January 2017 eNewsletter

Writing Resolutions

Teacher Feature

Digital Learning Day: February 23, 2017

Write with Joanna!

WriteSteps Webinars

Join the WriteSteps Team

Coming to a Conference Near You
"You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream."
~C. S. Lewis

Writing Resolutions
Here are our Top 10 Teaching Writing Resolutions for you this year. Try one or try them all. Share with us on Social Media and let us know how they're going!
  1. Keep your conferencing binder up to date with rubrics and resources for the current unit.
  2. Present only one or two teaching points when you conference.
  3. Have your students write every day.
  4. Find time for your students to share their writing.
  5. Write with your students.
  6. Help your students avoid using text-like slang in their writing.
  7. Try a new blended learning tool each month. (CaptivationStation, Padlet, Voxer, etc.)
  8. Encourage your students to expand their vocabulary.
  9. MODEL, MODEL, MODEL!
  10. Meet with other teachers at your grade level and score some writing pieces together. This will spark great dialogue and will help make sure that scoring is consistent across your grade level.
 
Teacher Feature
Sammy Niehaus, a 4th Grade Teacher at East Jackson Elementary, was one of the first eWriteSteps teachers to dive into CaptivationStation. She says, “Now, there’s no turning back!” Read on to see what she loves about eWriteSteps and CaptivationStation!
 

Sammy Niehaus, right, with Joanna Van Raden

WriteSteps: How long have you been using WriteSteps?
Sammy: I was first introduced to WriteSteps as a student teacher in 2012. It was new at the school, so I was learning alongside the teacher. I started learning with Joanna Van Raden who was teaching down the hall, and was blending her writing lessons with videos! Last school year, my classroom was given the opportunity to pilot CaptivationStation videos, and they LOVED it. This year, we are using CaptivationStation in my classroom, and I never want to go back to any other writing program again!

WriteSteps: What is your favorite thing about WriteSteps?
Sammy: My favorite thing about WriteSteps is that it is effective and engaging. I also don’t have to spend nearly as much time preparing lessons, because they are done for me. It is easy to use WriteSteps in my 1:1 classroom, and I feel like a better writing teacher because of the program. Anytime I have questions, I can usually answer them myself, or the WriteSteps team is always quick to answer me and provide support.

WriteSteps: What advice would you give to a teacher who is new to WriteSteps?
Sammy: Dive right in! Don’t be afraid. At first, I was a little overwhelmed because there was SO much to look at and decide from. But as soon as I made the decision to just do it, and go all in, my students became better writers, and I became a better teacher. We evolve together on a daily basis.

WriteSteps: What is the reaction of your students? Does this differ from other writing programs you have used?
Sammy: My students are excited about writing. We write more this year than I ever have in the past. They want to write during their free time, and share their writing, comment on each other’s writing, and find new things to write about every day! My students are engaged so much more, and are able to follow along and actually learn the writing process. I truly believe that my students are “getting it” this year thanks to the help of WriteSteps.

WriteSteps: Tell me about your biggest student success story since using WriteSteps.
Sammy: I will never forget the day when one of my learning disabled students, who is also emotionally impaired, said to me that using CaptivationStation was the best thing he had ever done. He told me about how he hated writing, because he never felt smart enough to write, but when he was able to write online and have people comment on his writing and tell him he was doing something good, it made him feel like a person that mattered. At the beginning of the year, he would refuse to even write a sentence, but by the end of the year, he was writing stories about the things that he loved most.

WriteSteps: Do you have any strategies or tips related to the teaching of writing that you would like to share with other teachers?
Sammy: Write with your students. Share your writing. Students love to see how your brain works, how your sentences flow, and they are so much more engaged when they see you working alongside them.

If you would like to nominate a teacher to be showcased in our Teacher Feature, please email [email protected].
 
Digital Learning Day: February 23, 2017
WriteSteps will be celebrating Digital Learning Day on February 23, 2017. Look for more details in the February newsletter! We will share some of our favorite digital learning tools. If you have some you’d like to share, email [email protected]!
 
Write with Joanna!
Check out our newest blogger, Blended Learning Specialist, Joanna Van Raden, at Write with Joanna! Joanna continuously updates her blog with great tips about ways to incorporate technology into your classroom especially with regard to the “Blended Writer’s Workshop!” You can also follow her on twitter at @joannavrteaches.
 
WriteSteps Webinars
ICYMI: Administrator Webinar
7 Tools to Help Your Teachers Embrace Blended Learning
Click here to watch a replay of Karly Foster, PD Coach, and Joanna Van Raden, Blended Learning Specialist, discussing some new tools that you can use to get everyone at your school excited about blended learning.
 
Save the Date
What: Blending the Writer’s Workshop Webinar
Who: K-5 Teachers
When: Wednesday, February 22, 2017 at 4 p.m. ET
 
Join the WriteSteps Team
Inside Sales Position

Compensation: Hourly plus commission

WriteSteps is looking for an energetic Inside Sales Representative to develop new prospects and interact with existing customers to increase sales and to become the newest member of our virtual family! Click here to learn more!
 
Coming to a Conference Near You
January 24-27, Orlando, FL
National Presenter Kim Gates and Blended Learning Specialist Joanna Van Raden will be at the Future of Education Technology conference to answer all your questions about WriteSteps and CaptivationStation.

February 7-9, Austin, TX
WriteSteps will be at the Texas Computer Education Association Conference. Stop by our booth to learn about our blended learning instruction and practice platform, CaptivationStation!

February 22-24, Long Beach, CA
California here we come! National Presenter, Kim Gates, will be at the National Title I Conference in Long Beach, CA. Stop by our booth to learn more about WriteSteps, Captivators, and CaptivationStation!
 
"I have watched my 3rd graders turn a paragraph story into a piece of writing I would expect from a middle school student. I have never seen growth like this from any other writing companies. My students have become better writers AND better readers! WriteSteps provides all the materials for the entire lesson so I don't need to supplement anything! This is an incredible program that I recommend to any K-5 teacher!"
~Kristen Mullen, 3rd Grade Teacher, Kiski Area South Primary School, Export, PA