March, 2018
Kernels and Updates

Dear Friends,
It’s crunch time again, and Texas teachers are busy getting ready for STAAR. We thought it might be helpful to send thoughts and help your way, so we’re sending you some kernelized high-scoring papers. These are also posted on my web site , but here’s a handy copy. Every single paper here was written by a Texas student, and every paper scored an 8. They’re great for a gallery walk, and they’ve been known to settle arguments about pronouns, word counts, or structures. 
Also, we’re including a short article I wrote about getting more student talk into your classroom. I hope you enjoy it.
Finally, since so many people have been asking about workshops later in the year, we’re including information about those at the bottom of the newsletter. 
Here’s to you, and the service you do all of our students with your hard work, your willingness to write with them, and your love for them.
Gretchen Bernabei
STAAR Trails
If you're wondering what a Score 8 paper looks like and how to easily chunk it into digestible bites for your students, look no more. Although these are for English II, they can be used with younger writers as well. We have one completed for you here and two links to several others. Enjoy!
A collection of high-scoring essays from grades 4 and 7 can be found on Trail of Breadcrumbs as well.
Their Own Words: 
Seven Ways to Quote Your Students to Transform A Writing Class
Gretchen Bernabei
Fall, 2017
The other day, a teacher asked me, “If I could do one thing that would change my classroom, what would it be?” 

I had to think about it. The elements of a great classroom are true for any grade level. And my first reactions would have been:
  • Read the greats: Don Graves, Mem Fox, Jerome Bruner, Thomas Newkirk.
  • Join the professional conversation: NCTE, ILA, attend. Present. Visit with peers, both famous and not.
  • Smile more. 

  • Don’t stop learning. Let kids see you learning.

  • Constantly clean out your teaching closet, throwing out things that don’t work, and expanding on things that do.

  • Let your kids see you writing and talking about what you write.

  • Let your kids see you reading and talking about what you read.

And then I slept on the question.
Now, a few days later, I have an answer for her, one that I wish someone had told me when I was starting out.

Trail of Breadcrumbs
Summer Professional Development
July 9-12  
Summer Writing Institute and Training of Trainers, New Braunfels Civic Center - $985
August 1
  Andale Ya! Spanish Grammar and Composition at the Houston Norris Conference Center - $240
Registration will open on March 30
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