The Often Overlooked But Important Teaching Share

When talking with schools and staff developers, we discuss the parts of the reading or writing and its importance. And there’s always one part we dig deep into — the Teaching Share!

The teaching share is the very last part of the workshop. It’s the time when you gather all your students back to the meeting area to wrap things up.

So why then are so many teachers skipping it?

Maybe it’s because…

  • We forget to keep track of time when the kids are working independently, so when we look up at the clock, it’s time for the next thing.
  • We just don’t see a great value in rounding everyone up again to the gathering area to close up the workshop.
  • The teaching share ideas in the Unit of Study we’re using don’t seem to match the needs of our students at that moment.
  • We didn’t even know that this was part of the workshop because we were so focused on fine-tuning our mini-lesson or getting better at conferring.

Whatever the reason for skipping the Teaching Share, remember it’s not an author’s chair. We don’t want to just call kids up to read their work unless we have a craft technique or teaching point. This is why we call it a Teaching Share.

Here are some ideas to get you started with the Teaching Share that can all happen in under five minutes:

1. Gather the kids back to the meeting area
2. Ask them to come with their writing partner
3. Have them bring a piece of writing they’re working on

a. Address a management issue and discuss possible solutions with the class
b. Highlight someone you conferred with and praise them for their work. Name the thing they’re trying and show it under the document reader so all kids can see. Make sure you encourage everyone to give it a try right there at the rug!
c. Highlight a student who’s struggling but making progress. Often I teach these students something sophisticated in a conference and then say that they’re doing this amazing thing. It’s important for them to get credit. Name what they’re doing and ask everyone to try it or think about where it might work in their writing.
d. Do a celebratory share where you have everyone go around and read one line from their writing that they love. You can even have a handful of kids share something they tried. For example, “Mika tried to elaborate in her chapters. Mika- can you share the few sentences you added on to your chapter about What Dogs Eat today?”
e. Do a partnership share and have kids do some work with a partner. Have them read to each other, give a compliment, ask a question, or discuss something they need help with.
f. Fishbowl a partnership by having everyone watch them work together and then name what they’re doing, why it’s important and how they can try this with their partners — perhaps even right after observing this partnership.
g. Try a grammar and editing share. Quickly model one grammar or editing technique and then ask your kids to work on it right there at the rug for a few minutes.
h. Check the unit of study for ideas — it’s loaded with them!

I often reread, Don’t Forget to Share: The Crucial Last Step in the Writing Workshop, by Leah Mermelstein.

Don’t Forget to Share: The Crucial Last Step in the Writing Workshop, by Leah Mermelstein.

I wanted to have new ideas to share with those of you that may already be doing all the ideas above!

Leah was my staff developer when I taught at an elementary school in Merrick. She was a mentor and one of the main reasons I decided to become a staff developer. Back then, she came in and led demonstration lessons in my classroom. I also sat in on many of her summer institute sessions and calendar day workshops. She has always had a knack for teaching new things and breaking them down so that they feel completely do-able. This is something I always loved about her! Leah’s book talks about the power of that last step: The Teaching Share. She talks about how these writing conversations allow for three important things:

  1. Kids make important instructional decisions.
  2. Kids use their own language to explain complicated ideas.
  3. Kids get to linger over ideas.

During the share session, kids are able to choose how the share session affects their writing and if they want to try out something from the session. Another amazing benefit Leah discusses is that things you’d likely teach in a mini-lesson come up organically through these conversations.

Now that you understand the importance of the Teaching Share, we’re excited to hear more about how you’re implementing it and what you’re learning. Learn more and go deeper at an upcoming Reading or Writing Institute!

If you enjoyed this article about the Teaching Share, check these out next:

Did you find this blog post useful? If so share this article with your colleagues on Social Media and tag us in it!  Are you on the list? Say hello on InstagramFacebook, or Twitter!

Join us at an upcoming institute!