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The Best-Kept Teaching Secret: How Written Conversations Engage Kids, Activate Learning, Grow Fluent Writers . . . K-12

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Your fast-track to student engagement Everywhere Smokey Daniels speaks, there's one teaching strategy that teachers embrace above all others. That single method for transforming students from passive spectators into active learners . . . for evoking curiosity, inspiring critical thinking, and building powerful writers along the way. Now, that best-kept teaching secret Your fast-track to student engagement Everywhere Smokey Daniels speaks, there's one teaching strategy that teachers embrace above all others. That single method for transforming students from passive spectators into active learners . . . for evoking curiosity, inspiring critical thinking, and building powerful writers along the way. Now, that best-kept teaching secret is revealed: Written Conversations. Smokey and coauthor Elaine Daniels describe how to leverage these "silent writing-to-learn discussions" structure by structure Mini-memos Dialogue journals Write-arounds Digital discussions . . . with detailed descriptions, lessons, and annotated student samples--making this the most practical teaching book in recent memory.


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Your fast-track to student engagement Everywhere Smokey Daniels speaks, there's one teaching strategy that teachers embrace above all others. That single method for transforming students from passive spectators into active learners . . . for evoking curiosity, inspiring critical thinking, and building powerful writers along the way. Now, that best-kept teaching secret Your fast-track to student engagement Everywhere Smokey Daniels speaks, there's one teaching strategy that teachers embrace above all others. That single method for transforming students from passive spectators into active learners . . . for evoking curiosity, inspiring critical thinking, and building powerful writers along the way. Now, that best-kept teaching secret is revealed: Written Conversations. Smokey and coauthor Elaine Daniels describe how to leverage these "silent writing-to-learn discussions" structure by structure Mini-memos Dialogue journals Write-arounds Digital discussions . . . with detailed descriptions, lessons, and annotated student samples--making this the most practical teaching book in recent memory.

30 review for The Best-Kept Teaching Secret: How Written Conversations Engage Kids, Activate Learning, Grow Fluent Writers . . . K-12

  1. 5 out of 5

    Cassie Cox

    I am a fan of Harvey Daniels' work. With this said, this was my least favorite of his books, and I've read them all! This books is full of great student writing (mostly younger students), and it's full of ideas for engaging students in writing...but the ideas are not new. I've heard them before and seen them before. So, if you've never seen Daniels present and you work with younger students, I highly recommend this book. If you are a teacher who is already familiar with his work, I'd re-read his I am a fan of Harvey Daniels' work. With this said, this was my least favorite of his books, and I've read them all! This books is full of great student writing (mostly younger students), and it's full of ideas for engaging students in writing...but the ideas are not new. I've heard them before and seen them before. So, if you've never seen Daniels present and you work with younger students, I highly recommend this book. If you are a teacher who is already familiar with his work, I'd re-read his other books before investing in this new one. Just my two cents. Harvey--keep up the great work that you do. I'm a fan.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    Just like listening to one of Smokey's workshops! Great ways to have and use written conversations. The ideas all come back to building a deeper understanding of the topic being discussed. Just like listening to one of Smokey's workshops! Great ways to have and use written conversations. The ideas all come back to building a deeper understanding of the topic being discussed.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Leigh Paddon

    A good book with some great new ideas on how to incorporate writing into the class and promote more student participation.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tandava Graham

    The title is a bit overly-provocative and would have been better if it were a bit more on-topic, but the content is very good. Lots of great ideas, plus real-life examples from kids of all ages. (These are mostly given as images, though, which can be hard to read if you have an ebook on a black and white screen. But worth it—some of them are hilarious!) The final section on digital options felt a bit confused, e.g. using “blog” to refer to things that didn’t look at all like blogs. But oh well. The title is a bit overly-provocative and would have been better if it were a bit more on-topic, but the content is very good. Lots of great ideas, plus real-life examples from kids of all ages. (These are mostly given as images, though, which can be hard to read if you have an ebook on a black and white screen. But worth it—some of them are hilarious!) The final section on digital options felt a bit confused, e.g. using “blog” to refer to things that didn’t look at all like blogs. But oh well. Overall, very helpful and idea-inspiring.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    I read this book in one day. I am so excited to try all of the writing tips they included in this book. I especially like the idea of written small group and large group discussions so everyone is participating. I wished I would've read this book earlier! I read this book in one day. I am so excited to try all of the writing tips they included in this book. I especially like the idea of written small group and large group discussions so everyone is participating. I wished I would've read this book earlier!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly Wiggins

    I loved this so much- it’s basically cooperative structures but in writing. It was great. Often cooperative structures don’t leave a record for actions to be taken on so this could be utilized very well in conjunction!!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    This has a lot of information that should be useful.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Olechowski

    This book helped me gather the tools and ideas needed to put written correspondence in place as I've been wanting to do for a long time. This book helped me gather the tools and ideas needed to put written correspondence in place as I've been wanting to do for a long time.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lorraine McCullough

    What I loved most about this book is the practical aspect and the takeaways. When I have a professional read, I want to make sure that I can immediately use the strategies and concepts in my space. With this title, I was able to do just that. I am so excited to use dialogue journals and letter to "leverage learning" in the media center. I am always looking for teaching opportunities in the space. Many see us as an area for computers and printing, but I am trying to shift the focus to a learning What I loved most about this book is the practical aspect and the takeaways. When I have a professional read, I want to make sure that I can immediately use the strategies and concepts in my space. With this title, I was able to do just that. I am so excited to use dialogue journals and letter to "leverage learning" in the media center. I am always looking for teaching opportunities in the space. Many see us as an area for computers and printing, but I am trying to shift the focus to a learning commons center. Harvey Daniels' book does just that. I loved the samples of student work. I loved reading the dialogue between student to student and then student to teacher. I loved the content ideas, especially when there was a great math example! If you are looking for ways to engage in student writing and push their thinking to a higher level, this is the professional read for you.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    For the past year or two, we have been strengthening our collaborative conversations. This book presents ideas on how to have silent conversations through writing. Advantages of this approach include: it is highly motivating, provides more think time and insures that everyone (including shy students) have a voice. Chapter headings include exit slips, dialogue journals, and write arounds. With the use of technology, these written conversations could be extended to blogs, etc. The authors encourag For the past year or two, we have been strengthening our collaborative conversations. This book presents ideas on how to have silent conversations through writing. Advantages of this approach include: it is highly motivating, provides more think time and insures that everyone (including shy students) have a voice. Chapter headings include exit slips, dialogue journals, and write arounds. With the use of technology, these written conversations could be extended to blogs, etc. The authors encourage us to limit teacher (whole group) talk and put the work of learning back on the students.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Oh my goodness, this is a good one! No matter what age or specialty area you teach, Mr. and Mrs. Daniels have suggestions for you. Initially, I thought this would help me with the base school teachers with whom I collaborate, but instead I read about things I am going to try in my own classes. I love the focus on meaningful conversations that get students to think and respond with some depth. This was an excellent, easy-to-read book, and I enjoyed the samples of student work that are included thr Oh my goodness, this is a good one! No matter what age or specialty area you teach, Mr. and Mrs. Daniels have suggestions for you. Initially, I thought this would help me with the base school teachers with whom I collaborate, but instead I read about things I am going to try in my own classes. I love the focus on meaningful conversations that get students to think and respond with some depth. This was an excellent, easy-to-read book, and I enjoyed the samples of student work that are included throughout.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey Jones

    Highly recommended for any teacher across the disciplines. Introduces many great, practical ways to guide students through academic, collaborative discussions across the disciplines. I will certainly be using this as a reference in working with teachers in professional development sessions.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tenille Shade

    Gonna have to return to this one latter too. Been on my shelf too long.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Lots of practical advice and ideas to reenergize "writing to learn" in the classroom. Written conversations can increase participation in discussions and overall learning. Lots of practical advice and ideas to reenergize "writing to learn" in the classroom. Written conversations can increase participation in discussions and overall learning.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jamie Leach

  16. 4 out of 5

    Bridget Rise

  17. 4 out of 5

    April Connelley

  18. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Jacobsen

  19. 5 out of 5

    Janet Cordle

  20. 4 out of 5

    Christie

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sheri

  22. 5 out of 5

    Katrina

    Loved this! So many good ideas - makes me wish I had a classroom of my own to implement them in!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nora

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jody

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jill

  27. 5 out of 5

    David

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mindi

  30. 4 out of 5

    Pam

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