[semester equivalent = 3.33 credits]



Deb Lund



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Inspire great writing from your students with writing workshop tools and techniques that provide structure, content, and increased confidence in your own writing and teaching. In this course you'll join writer and children's author Deb Lund who was already instructing teachers about writing with kids when the text we'll use by Lucy Calkins, The Art of Teaching Writing, was first published in the mid-1980's. Become a mentor for your students and model the writing process as you explore fiction, memoir, essay, and poetry writing together. This comprehensive course will help give you the excitement you've longed for in your writing teaching.

Appropriate for teachers of grades K-12. The Calkins text, you will find in the Required Text section.  Just click on the picture below for Lucy Calkins book, The Art of Teaching Writing,  and click on this link for Deb Lund's  Writing With Kids  PDF.

LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, participants will have:

1. An understanding of developmental levels of writing acquisition and support for students at the levels they teach.

2. Tools and techniques for establishing a classroom writing environment with procedures and expectations in place.

3. An assortment of techniques for conferring with students about their writing, modeling steps of the writing process, designing lessons to address specific writing needs, and assessing writing using chosen criteria.

4. Determined which district, state, or national objectives, goals, outcomes, or standards for teaching writing have been met in their classroom writing activities.

Completion of all specified assignments is required for issuance of hours or credit. The Heritage Institute does not award partial credit.

Completing the basic assignments (Section A. Information Acquisition) for this course automatically earns participant’s their choice of CEUs (Continuing Education Units), or Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, or Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours. The Heritage Institute offers CEUs and is an approved provider of Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, and Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours.



Continuing Education Quarter credits are awarded by Antioch University Seattle (AUS). AUS requires 75% or better for credit at the 400 level and 85% or better to issue credit at the 500 level. These criteria refer both to the amount and quality of work submitted.

  1. Completion of Information Acquisition assignments 30%
  2. Completion of Learning Application assignments 40%
  3. Completion of Integration Paper assignment 30%


CREDIT/NO CREDIT (No Letter Grades or Numeric Equivalents on Transcripts)
Antioch University Seattle (AUS) Continuing Education Quarter credit is offered on a Credit/No Credit basis; neither letter grades nor numeric equivalents are on a transcript. 400 level credit is equal to a "C" or better, 500 level credit is equal to a "B" or better. This information is on the back of the transcript.

AUS Continuing Education quarter credits may or may not be accepted into degree programs. Prior to registering determine with your district personnel, department head, or state education office the acceptability of these credits for your purpose.



  • The Art of Teaching Writing
    ISBN# 0435088092
    by Lucy McCormick Calkins
    Heinemann Educational Books

    Buy from Amazon


Lucy Calkins' book, The Art of Teaching Writing, is approximately $1.00 used at Amazon. Deb Lund's book, Writing With Children, is free by downloading a copy of the PDF at



Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators active in the course. Feel free to read and respond to others comments. 

Assignment #1: Developing a Philosophy of Teaching Writing: What do you already know?

Write your philosophy (as a pre-test of sorts) on teaching writing. You’ll be asked how your views on teaching writing have changed or evolved after you have completed this course. Save this paper for a revision exercise we will do later in the course.

Answer the question “Why Write?” for yourself. This, too, will be a pre-test of sorts that we will come back to later. This is also a great beginning-of-year (or beginning of this course) activity for students. Assign this writing exercise to your students without any previous reading or discussion about it, and collect their papers as a pre-test. At the end of this course, you (and your students) will be asked to answer the question again. You do not need to share these responses at this point.

Listen to Lucy Calkins talk about teaching writing:
In your downloaded pdf booklet  “Writing With Kids,” read the sections titled: Introduction, What Do We Want?, Story Power, Why Teach?, and Teach Who You Are.

Answer the following questions in your essay response:

  • What are your thoughts on why and how you will teach writing?
  • What it is about “who you are” that that can be applied to your writing teaching?
  • What are your questions, suggestions, ideas, or other reactions to this reading?

Assignment #2: Writer Development

Read Section I (chapters 1-4) in The Art of Teaching Writing, and write an essay that answers these questions:

  • What does it mean to you to live like a writer?
  • How can you involve students in their writing?
  • What writing rituals can you create for your classroom?
  • How can you help children re-imagine their material?  

Literacy Consultant, Michelle Wolf, talks about the various routines and rituals of writing workshop:

Please comment on the posts of other course participants.

Assignment #3: Listening and Observing

Read Section II (chapters 5-10) of The Art of Teaching Writing, and write an essay that answers these questions and includes your own experiences and thoughts.

  • What roles do listening and observation play in writing with children?
  • Discuss the developmental stages of writing acquisition and where your students are in these stages.
  • What are the particular issues in teaching writing at the level(s) you teach?

This video may help you better understand the developmental stages of writing acquisition:

Comment on the responses of other course participants. How does your situation compare and contrast with others in this course or in your teaching setting?

Assignment #4: Setting up and Managing Writing Workshops

Read Section III (chapters 11-20) of The Art of Teaching Writing. Describe how you will will set up your writing workshop, Weave your responses to the following questions in your description, along with your rationale for your answers. Also, work in any insights you gain from viewing the videos below the questions.

  • How you will physically organize your writing classroom and schedule writing activities?
  • What are your writing workshop rules and guidelines?
  • How will you encourage student choice in your writing classroom?
  • What are your plans for conferring with students about their writing, both teacher-to-student, and student-to-student?
  • When students say, “I’m done” (or other ways of letting you know their reluctance), how can you encourage revision?
  • How will you use literature to teach writing?
  • What mini-lessons might you need to teach?
  • Work in any insights you gain from the videos below.


Listen to what Calkins says about mini-lessons:


And to follow-up with students saying, "I'm done!"...

Your students may enjoy these students acting out how not to confer with peers on their writing, and you may find their list helpful:

Respond to the ideas of other course participants. What have you seen from them or heard from colleagues in your teaching situation that might be of use to you? Let them know! 

Assignment #5: From Reluctance to Risk Taking

In "Writing With Kids,” read the sections titled: Reluctant Writers, Free Writing, Risk to Write, Write to Teach, Risky Spelling, Taking the Oath, Courage to En-courage, Take the Time, and Take a Break. Respond to each of these sections considering your teaching situation. Where appropriate, give examples from your experience, and keep the following questions in mind as you proceed:

  • How will you combat perfectionism and low self-esteem in your writing students?
  • How will you respond to parents concerned about their child’s spelling, grammar, or punctuation mistakes?

Assignment #6: Teaching in a Writing Workshop

Identify district, state, or national writing teaching outcomes that align with lessons you could develop for teaching fiction, poetry, memoir, and nonfiction writing.


Read Section IV (chapters 21-26) of The Art of Teaching Writing, and discuss the material with your teaching situation in mind. Here are questions to guide you in your discussion:

  • As you identified required curriculum outcomes, what areas do you need to develop further in your teaching? 
  • How can you integrate writing workshop with the rest of your curriculum or in conjunction with other faculty?
  • How will you inspire students to write poetry and memoir?
  • How will you meet required curriculum standards while still being true to your understanding of the best practices in teaching writing?

Read through the posts by other course participants (or talk with your teaching colleagues) to see if their ideas align with yours. Give or ask for specific feedback from your peers.

Assignment #7: Inspiring Student Writing and Learning

In “Writing With Kids,” read the sections titled: Lifelong Learning, Read to Write, Read First?, Read & React, Reading to Critiquing, Where Do You Get Your Ideas?, The Idea Bank, and The Rest of the Story. Respond to the concepts that you would like to employ in your own teaching. In your writing, consider the following questions as guides:

  • What do you hope to accomplish in your writing workshop that you feel isn't yet happening?
  • What are your views on how lifelong learning relates to writing, and how writing can promote lifelong learning?
  • In what ways can students use their reading to support their writing?
  • What methods will you encourage your students to use in tracking their writing ideas?

Comment on the posts of others that were especially helpful for you. Plan how you will incorporate their thoughts in your own thinking and teaching.

Assignment #8: Growth and Change Through the Writing Workshop

Read Section V (chapters 27-28) of The Art of Teaching Writing, and discuss how your growth and change as a writing teacher will affect the lives of your students and beyond. Incorporate your answers to the following questions in your writing:

  • How can writing promote active, engaged learning?
  • How can you support writing and your students’ writing in their homes, neighborhoods, and communities?
  • What are some classroom writing or teaching issues you still want support with after going through this course? In discussing them with other teachers, or with course participants in this forum, can you brainstorm and incorporate possible solutions or improvements?
  • How have your views on teaching writing changed or evolved because of this course? How have you grown as a writer and as a teacher?

After having students write again on “Why Write?” how have their responses changed? Do your findings reflect the findings of other course participants?



In this section you will apply your learning to your professional situation. This course assumes that most participants are classroom teachers who have access to students. If you do not have a classroom available to you, please contact the instructor for course modifications. Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators active in the course. Feel free to read and respond to others comments. 


Assignment #9: Modeling the Writing Process

Find opportunities to write in front of your students in whole class (white or smart board, even an old opaque projector will work) and/or small group settings, sharing your internal thoughts as you write. Write a summary and reflection about your experiences doing this, how it felt, what you’ve learned from it, and your students’ reactions. Read and comment on what other course participants experienced in this process or talk to your teaching colleagues about similar experiences. What did you find? 

Design and teach a mini-lesson in your classroom. Ask your students to help you find examples in current published children’s literature that will help illustrate your lesson (provide one as an example). Upload your lesson, including examples  you and your students found in current literature (credit the source). You may also include follow-up writing assignments of your own or ones done by your students (with names changed and with their permission).

Write at least two writing lessons with assignments you've designed and given your students, each in a genre you haven't previously shared. For each of these, include a piece you wrote as a model. You may also include student sample pieces if you wish, with their names changed and with their permission.

Assignment #10: Student Writing Assessment

Watch this video of Lucy Calkins in an assessment-based conference with a student:

Students can also be taught to self-assess:

Mini-lessons, an effective addition to the writing workshop, are not always successful, and this course is a good place to practice the planning and delivery of them. In looking at student work after a mini-lesson, evaluate only the learning outcome that was the focus of your teaching. Write about your experience with mini-lessons using the following process:

  • Choose a few mini-lessons you created and taught during the course that had varying degrees of success. 
  • Summarize and discuss each mini-lesson, including at least one student-writing sample from your classroom (with each student’s name changed and with their permission) for each lesson you discuss.
  • Using a list of criteria or a rubric constructed with the focus of each mini-lesson clearly in mind, evaluate the student assignments you chose to include. 
  • What about each lessen was affective, and what was not?
  • How do you think each lesson you included here could be improved?
  • Assess the student work you've included here, and include your criteria or rubric used in the assessment.

Assignment #11: Evaluating Your Success

Remember writing your philosophy of teaching writing at the beginning of this course? Pull it out and we'll see how far you have come. Review and revise your original writing on your philosophy of teaching writing, and share the results with us. Here are some questions that may help you with this assignment:

  • How have your views changed?
  • What did you delete from your original philosophy of teaching writing?
  • What have you added?
  • Do you see more changes ahead?

Pull out those original student pieces where they answered the question, "Why Write?" Without returning them, explain to your students that they will be doing the same assignment to see if there is a difference in their answers. When students complete the assignment again, collect and review their responses and write about the experience using the following questions: 

  • Have their answers changed? In what ways? Do you notice any trends?
  • Hand back their original and current responses to “Why Write?”
  • In a class discussion, ask them to comment on the differences they see in the two pieces.
  • What do they think made those differences happen?
  • Write about this experience, including student comments.

Though "Why write?" isn't the focus of this course, it's a question that shows student understanding of the importance of writing. Successful writing workshops often change how students feel about writing, and this exercise, which I've done at the beginnings and ends of school years, has been a revealing activity each time. You may want to consider revisiting it in future years.

Assignment #12: (500 Level ONLY)

Select ONE of the following assignments:

  1. Create a video, recording, paper, or PowerPoint (or similar) presentation demonstrating something you’ve learned in this course that can be shared with other teachers.
  2. Read a text from the syllabus bibliography (or one pre-approved by the instructor), and discuss how you might incorporate ideas from the chosen materials into your teaching.
  3. Another assignment of your own choosing with the instructor’s prior approval.


Assignment #13: (Required for Clock Hrs, PDUs, CEUs, Act 48, 400 and 500 level)

(Please do not write this paper until you've completed all of your other assignments)

Write a 400-500 word Integration Paper answering these 5 questions:

  1. What did you learn vs. what you expected to learn from this course?
  2. What aspects of the course were most helpful and why?
  3. What further knowledge and skills in this general area do you feel you need?
  4. How, when and where will you use what you have learned?
  5. How and with what other school or community members might you share what you learned?


Please indicate by email to the instructor if you would like to receive comments on your assignments.


Deb Lund is a bestselling children’s author, a creativity coach who partners with those who want more joy and meaning in their lives, and a past classroom and music teacher, teacher-librarian, and founding director of an arts-based school. Deb is a popular presenter at schools, libraries, and conferences. Her master’s project focused on teaching writing, and for the past few decades, she has taught teachers, students, and writers of all ages. Deb is especially passionate about supporting those who share her commitment to getting kids reading and writing. Learn more about Deb at



Anderson, Carl, How’s It Going?: A Practical Guide to Conferring with Student Writers, Heinemann, 2000, paperback, 224 pages, ISBN 978-0-325-00224-8 

One to one talks with students about their writing can be daunting, but Anderson walks elementary and middle school teachers through the process with a defined structure, taking what they know and providing insight that will instill confidence and success for both teachers and students. Among the topics included are teacher role, student role, mini-lessons, classroom management, and responses to most frequently asked questions.


Atwell, Nancie, Lessons That Change Writers, Heinemann, 2002, 3-ring binder, 1080 pages, ISBN 978-0-86709-506-7

Mini-lessons have become a popular vehicle for writing workshop teachers to support student learning. Atwell, author of the popular book In the Middle, groups over one hundred mini-lessons grouped by categories, accompanied by the theories behind them, with student examples, and hundreds of reproducibles.


Atwell, Nancie, Writing in the Middle DVD, Heinemann, 2010, 32 pages, 1:51 DVD, ISBN 978-0-325-04090-5

On this staff development DVD, Atwell guides writing workshop participants through the methods she covers in her celebrated classic, In the Middle. Thirty years in the making, this DVD and accompanying CD of before and after student writing samples and reproducible forms shows teachers how to set rules and expectations, confer with students, present mini-lessons, and inspire young writers.


Calkins, Lucy McCormick, The Art of Teaching Writing, New Edition, Heinemann, 1994, paperback, 564 pages, ISBN 0-435-08809-2

In the past couple of decades that writing workshops have spread like wildfire through classrooms around the world, Calkins’ text remains the most comprehensive, classroom-tested guide available to assist teachers at all grade levels and levels of writing teaching experience. This new edition (the text for this course) is almost an entirely new book, containing everything from setting up your writing classroom and motivating students to assessment and integrating writing throughout the school day and beyond.


Calkins, Lucy McCormick, Big Lessons from Small Writers: Teaching Primary Writing, Heinemann, 2005, DVD, ISBN 978-0-325-00748-9

This excellent resource shows the inner workings of writing workshops in a variety of K-2 classrooms in 22 video clips. Calkins does a voice-over to explain the strategies used as she confers with students, teaches mini-lessons, and works with whole classes.


Hicks, Troy, The Digital Writing Workshop, Heinemann, 2009, paperback, 176 pages, ISBN 978-0-325-02674-9

Hicks shows grade 7-12 teachers how to use technology to enhance the writing teaching they already do. Popular writing workshop topics like student choice, revision, author craft, revision, and publication are included in this exploration of online resources and guidance for incorporating new technologies.


Kittle, Penny, Write Beside Them: Risk, Voice, and Clarity in High School Writing, Heinemann, 2008, 272 pages, DVD, ISBN 978-0-325-01097-7 

Kittle honors the gifts of teachers when it comes to modeling writing to students. This award-winning book and DVD will give teachers confidence in all facets of teaching writing.