Happy Teaching! {CELEBRATE This Week 169}

I’m glad you are here to celebrate! 

Share a link to your blog post below and/or use #celebratelu to share celebrations on Twitter. Check out the details hereCelebrate This Week goes live on Friday night around 10(ish). Consider it as a weekend celebration. Whenever it fits in your life, add your link. 

Please leave a little comment love for the person who links before you.


Guys! I am so excited to share this with you — I’ve taken a giant step toward my long-time dream of offering online workshops (or courses) for teachers of writers. I expanded my website to include a new resource. It’s my pleasure to announce…

Happy Teaching with Ruth Ayres

Happy Teaching with Ruth Ayres is a home for online workshops to help teachers (and coaches) make teaching writers manageable and enjoyable. Imagine getting cutting-edge professional development for writing instruction without making guest teacher plans or traveling to a conference or dressing in school clothes! It’s self-paced and once you register for a course, you have lifetime access.

I believe in making the world better through story — listening to stories + telling our own + researching to know the story behind information. It’s necessary for kids to learn to write well and to use their voices to impact the world. That’s why I made this space — a place for teachers to learn how to make teaching writers manageable and enjoyable. Because, after all, it will be teachers + stories that save the world.

I’d love your input about what kinds of courses to create. The next course will be Keeping (& Using) a Conference Record System. It will launch in February 2017.

Will you leave a comment and let me know the answer to this question: 

If I gave you a magic wand, what would you want to change about your students as writers OR about your writing workshop?

Also — and this is EPIC (as my kids tell me is the replacement for “cool”) — to celebrate this next step, Andy and I have decided to give away a FREE course

Quick & Meaningful Writing Assessment

It’s totally inspired by my grading nightmare that I shared in my vlog earlier this week. It’s a 5 session, video-based course with a few PDFs and a general grade sheet.

If you aren’t already on my email list, we will become official Email Pals. If you are an Email Pal, still enroll. (No worries, you won’t receive duplicate emails — my email service provider is awesome at taking care of those kinds of details.)

So there’s my celebration…one more step toward a big dream of making teaching writers manageable and enjoyable. Share your celebration below.


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  1. If I had a magic wand, I would want to know how I can help my students turn in writing that they have reread and made sure it makes sense. So often, I will assess writing that doesn't make sense — words are missing, verb tense is off, major chunks of plot are out of order or missing. They cannot seem to find these mistakes on their own, but once we find them together, they seem to know how to fix it or are surprised that what they wrote doesn't say what they meant for it to say. I want them to be independent with this skill, but struggle with some kids to get them there. Help!

  2. Ruth, Congratulations! This is so exciting!! I'll be sharing with the teachers I coach. A magic wand…I want more time! I want to balance writing units with independent writing. I can't wait to see what you do next!!

  3. If I had a magic wand, I would like to know how to keep the authentic writer's notebook alive (students loving to write in it with free choice, partner writing, collecting artifacts). when I have to move toward having my students choosing a writing piece that will be a “grade” the authenticity of their writer's notebook slips.

  4. Congratulations, Ruth. If I had a magic wand, I would like teachers to find their voice to help students become lifelong writers. (A dream I share with teachers each time I meet with them.)

  5. Thank you for sharing your course with us! I watched “Gut Check” this morning, and it connected with it! I will share it with some new teachers in our building! Magic wand? More time for me to engage in the writing process. (I'm working on it.) I'm still struggling with the idea that my time to write isn't selfish…

  6. Jennifer,
    I know exactly what you mean! Do you have Ralph Fletcher's little book for kids called HOW WRITERS WORK? Inside is a chapter called “Rereading.” If you don't have it, I'll mail you a copy of the chapter. It's kind of like a magic wand when you read it to kids. 😉

  7. Thanks so much, Michelle. I know what you mean about wanting more time. When Sam was little, I had to shift my thinking to believe I had enough time — it felt like life was slipping through my fingers. Time is so slippery.

  8. Hi Maria,
    I struggle with this tension, too. I struggle with it as a teacher and as a writer. My notebook is all kinds of safe and comfy…but when I shift to writing for an audience, there's a different pressure. I think kids feel this too. It takes time to learn to write in authentic ways throughout the writing process.

  9. Hi Kendra,
    I'm so glad you connected with the video and that it is useful. Thanks for sharing it with others. Oh boy…that guilt! Sometimes it's best just to kick it to the curb and write. Since working with teachers, I've found those who are the strongest writing teachers are the ones who write themselves. Sometimes when I write, I consider it “school work” because I know it is helping me be a better teacher. *smile*

  10. What exciting news! If I had a magic wand… I'd wish for all of those wishes mentioned above, and for students to find an authentic audience that they write for joyfully.

  11. Authenticity is a beautiful wish. Authenticity paired with joy is a wish that steals my heart. It makes such a difference for writers when they have both.

  12. What a precious gift. I often think I'm teaching writing all wrong because I can't find enough time to fit everything in. Hearing/reading about how other teachers do it in their classrooms gives me hope. I have already started your “workshop” and am preparing to go do a gut check on the rolling bag of writing I brought home with me for the weekend. Thanks so much for the encouragement!

  13. Yay! I'm glad the timing is perfect for you! It's always good to be part of a community of teachers who are fighting the good fight when it comes to meaningful writing instruction. It's what sustains me, too!

  14. Ruth, you are so brilliant and generous! Magic Wand? Hmm . . . The answer to this question will be constantly changing. Right now? I want my students to begin noticing craft in mentor texts and picture books I share with them. I feel like so often they notice when I point it out but I am doing too much of the work. I want them to stop our reading to point out language and sections of text that are powerful and be able to talk about why. I am trying to facilitate this . . .

  15. If I had a magic wand, I would have watched this lesson “back in the day” when I frequently faced those interminable piles of writing to be graded. Love the “gut check stack method.” Sharing the link with teacher friends still facing the piles. And it was lovely to have this video visit with you yesterday!

  16. Thanks Carrie! I know what you are talking about. With all of your modeling and excitement, I'm sure they'll be starting craft conversations soon. It's a matter of perseverance. 🙂

  17. If I had a magic wand…I would want to be able to better teach a sense of personal investment in the writing process for my students – that the real joy of writing comes from a discovery of the power of your individual voice. Looking forward to your course, Ruth!

  18. Your new ideas and work with teachers will be a blessing for them, Ruth. Best wishes to you in this new endeavor! If I had a magic wand. . . when I was a new teacher, I would wish for a community with which to talk about every part of the workshop.