How’s It Going? A Practical Guide to Conferring with Student Writers author and literacy consultant, Carl Anderson, led the third Cotsen workshop in the Alumni Speaker Series on Saturday, March 9th. This half-day workshop took place in the morning at The Center at Sycamore Plaza and centered on Writing Conferences.
As a literacy consultant, Carl Anderson has been recognized as an expert in writing instruction for Grades K-8 and has consulted with schools and districts around the world. Carl is also the author of numerous books on teaching writing, including the bestselling How’s It Going? A Practical Guide to Conferring with Student Writers.
Carl spent a full day sharing with participants the teacher’s role in conferences, strategies for teaching students to take an active role, and ways to weave literature and mentor texts.
In the morning, Carl discussed how conferences help teachers discover and assess what students are trying to do as writers, what teachers need to learn about navigating the stages of the writing process, and how to integrate the qualities of good writing into their narrative, informational and persuasive pieces.
The afternoon’s agenda included, teachers learning how to seamlessly integrate the use of mentor texts into their own conference teaching to teach the craft of writing, and how to get better at “reading like a writer.”
Charles Castro, alumni fellow from Roosevelt Elementary School commented, “What Carl said today was very powerful. I loved learning the nuts and bolts of conferring with students, using mentor texts, and I loved his examples of how Picasso and the Beatles used mentors to become better artists and writers of music. I was also really glad he urged everyone to just focus on one thing at a time and then build upon it because it is a lot of work and this kind of work takes time.”
“Today’s speakers’ series (session) was wonderful,” said Susie Wren, Woodcrest Elementary School alumna mentor. “Conferring has been my biggest obstacle this year but getting an opportunity to learn from Carl and hear his advice and tips has helped me feel more confident about my practice.”
The Cotsen Foundation extends a huge thank you to Carl Anderson for coming to Los Angeles to speak with our cohort of educators. The foundation is honored to be able to provide more opportunities for Cotsen alumni to participate in workshops led by prominent speakers in the field of education. While this was the last speaker series for the 2018-2019 school year, more workshops and study networks are sure to be offered in the future.