Don’t forget about using past papers to teach new skills

By Gary Chadwell, Consultant and Author, Collins Education Associates When I show Collins Writing workshop participants authentic student examples of Type Three or Type Four compositions, I sometimes get the question: “You said this was a Type Three example, but there is a 2 at the top of the page. Is this really a Type […]

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How do I use FCAs with emerging writers, special needs students, and ELs?

By Gary Chadwell, Consultant and Author, Collins Education Associates I am often asked by teachers at what point it’s appropriate to begin using Focus Correction Areas (FCAs) with their students. My response is simple: when you ask them to put ideas onto paper. Some teachers especially those who work with young, emergent writers; special needs […]

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Make content review fun and active

By Bill Atwood, Consultant and Author, Collins Education Associates When I work with teachers in classrooms and in workshops, I hear frequently hear “I taught this concept or skill, but the kids don’t remember it!” Our students not remembering our lessons can be very frustrating, but as anyone who studied a foreign language in high school knows, if […]

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With so much content to teach, how can I fit in writing?

By Gary Chadwell, Consultant and Author, Collins Education Associates While most teachers understand the potential benefits of informal, everyday writing, many don’t ask students to write very often in their classrooms. The single biggest obstacle to more writing across the curriculum is time. Teachers cite other factors, too, but the time required to fit a […]

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How to avoid those winter test-prep blues

By Joan Pokrant, Collins Education Associates consultant and author of Open Response Writing: 18 Strategies to Improve Student Performance Every winter I hear a familiar refrain from teachers: “I’m trying to get my students ready for the open response prompts like those they will face on the state test, but the kids are sick of […]

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Does handwriting still matter?

By Gary Chadwell, Consultant and Author, Collins Education Associates Hardly a day goes by that I’m not asked by teachers—especially middle and high school teachers—about handwriting. Why do so few students write in cursive? Aren’t students taught cursive any longer? Should I expect students to write in cursive? Is it relevant in a digital age? […]

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Is oral reading still the best way to check your work?

By Gary Chadwell, Consultant and Author, Collins Education Associates Though it happened over a decade ago, I remember the moment as if it were last week. I was in a classroom of third graders preparing to have them read their just-completed drafts out loud to themselves to check their Focus Correction Areas (FCAs) and hear how […]

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Can Type One writing prompts be used for formative assessment?

By John Collins, Ed.D, Founder and Managing Director, Collins Education Associates All writing doesn’t have to be high stakes to be valuable. We know that informal writing promotes and clarifies thinking. Low-stakes writing also has been found to be an effective vehicle for formative assessment—that is, checking on student understanding. Collins Writing teachers have long used […]

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Does the Collins Writing Program work with English learners?

By Erick Herrmann, Consultant, Collins Education Associates I have worked with schools around the country for the past 15 years, helping teachers with the special challenge of building literacy with English learners (ELs). The Collins Writing Program strategies help provide answers for teachers who are trying to truly make writing across the curriculum a reality […]

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Integrating AP English and the Collins Writing Program

By Brenda Mirsky, Teacher, Yeshivat Darche Eres, Brooklyn, NY As a teacher of Regents English, Honors English, and Advanced Placement English Language and Composition, I’ve often been plagued by how to help students develop their writing skills. To be honest, I’ve often wondered how some of my students have gotten as far as they have with […]

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