Empowering Writers

Toolbox: Implementation


Scoring Party

One of the best ways to provide objective feedback to students and to effectively evaluate and drive instruction is to gather staff for the purpose of reading and assessing student writing. EW refers to these collegial scoring sessions as Scoring Parties.


The following rubrics provide a scale of 1-4 (with 4 being the highest) for scoring each of the seven specific skills for Narrative writing. These rubrics can be used successfully to assess any piece of narrative writing. Use each skill rubric individually or combine each skill rubric for a total score – maximum score of […]


The cornerstone of the Empowering Writers approach is interactive modeling. When observing instruction it is critical to be able to recognize what effective modeling looks like. Showing is more powerful than telling, so a good place to familiarize yourself with the classroom dynamic of modeling is to see it in action. The following links will […]

Genre Specific Writing

Genre Specific Writing – Why it’s Important However, knowing the differences in audience, purpose, and organization – in other words, a clear understanding of genre is just as important to the success of a piece of writing.

Administrator Checklist

Principals’ Implementation Classroom Checklist Below you’ll find key indicators of what an Empowered Classroom looks like in action. The indicators refer to materials, methodology, and outcomes that should be evident. Use this to maximize your classroom walk- throughs and for the purpose of ongoing conversation with teachers about their writing instruction and instructional goals.

Teaching Writing through Team Teaching

When I was teaching second grade two of my grade partners and I wanted to integrate our curriculum through learning stations.  We planned for three thirty-minute stations twice a week, with creative hands-on activities in reading, writing, math, science, social studies, and art, all thematically connected.  Groups of 4 – 6 students would circulate between […]

How to Organize Student Reference Sheets – 5 Steps

Step One: Purchase a sturdy pocket folder with brads in the center for adding reference pages for each student. The pockets will hold photos, drawings, diagrams and other resources that students will use for their writing work. Step Two: Photocopy all reference sheets you will need over the course of the year. Empowering Writers resources […]

How to Approach an Assessment or Assignment with Confidence!

The first time my students took a writing assessment in my classroom I cringed. It looked like all of the instruction that had taken place had flown right out the window! Every one of them read the directions and either turned the page and began writing or sat staring into space. UGH! Hadn’t we just […]

5 Tips to Improve Writing to Literary Analysis Tasks

In order for students to respond effectively to 21st century literary analysis tasks and response to text challenges, we must use every reading experience as an opportunity for close reading, and assist them in deconstructing texts to glean deeper meaning. Here are five tips that will help make every reading experience a pre-writing experience, and vice versa. 1) […]

Managing The Instruction of Writing

by Barbara Mariconda We all can see the appeal of the traditional writer’s workshop – the creative flow of students sharing their stories with their teachers, engaged in helpful peer conferences with others in the classroom. Inspiring mini-lessons addressing the needs of a variety of students and students brainstorming, drafting, revising, editing, and finally publishing […]

Quick Tips – May 2015

Color coding is a fun technique that allows students to be accountable to applying the skills they’ve been taught. For example, if they’re writing an expository piece, you might ask them to underline the lead in red, topic sentence in blue, main idea sentences in green, ‘what does it look like? why is that important?’ in […]