Our one-on-one talks with students during writing workshop offer us perfect opportunities to zero in on what each student needs as a writer. As Lead Staff Developer for the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, Carl Anderson has provided hundreds of teachers with the information and confidence they need to make these complex conferences an effective part of classroom practice. Finally, in How’s It Going?, Anderson shares his expertise with the rest of us. For Anderson, the key to a powerful writing conference lies in understanding that it is a conversation with a clear purpose and a predictable structure. This is the best lens through which to view the task of talking about writing. To that end, Anderson shows how we can take what we already know about having effective conversations and use that knowledge. Sample transcripts of conferences with elementary and middle school students in both urban and suburban settings walk us through the process step by step, providing new insight into how ambitious conferences unfold.
Above all, this is a practical book. Written in a conversational style, it’s filled with lots of useful advice, including an in-depth discussion of the teacher’s role in conferences, strategies for teaching students to take an active role, ways to weave in literature, minilessons, classroom management strategies, and responses to the most frequently asked questions about conferring. Along the way, readers will learn new ways of thinking, develop effective techniques, and perfect straightforward strategies. At the same time, they’ll grasp the art and logic of conferring, and with this learning in mind, discover for themselves how to confer well.