ATH 7: Revving Up Writing with Angela Stockman

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In this episode, Cade and Michelle discuss strategies for improving student writing. Angela Stockman, author of Make Writingshares how her research with Writer’s Workshop led her to find that tinkering helps students take their writing to the next level. Angela provides the context through which she developed her design-thinking-based approach to writing and describes continued improvements she foresees comingin the near future. Part of this, she says, will include a redesign of the writer’s workshop which, coincidentally, is the topic of her upcoming book, Hacking Writing Workshop.

Here are some of the topics Angela discusses in this interview:

  • The learning community that allowed Angela to start seeing what inspires resistant writers (read more about such writing studios here)
  • Common trends of positive writing environments: students up and moving, building things, acting skits, filming, creating puppet shows, cooking, sewing
  • Connecting students’ interests to creating good writing
  • Making as a catalyst to good writing
  • Blogging and podcasting
  • The ideas of Austin Kleon, as presented in his book, Steal Like an Artist (see also Kleon’s TEDxKC Talk)
  • Breaking writing form into blocks rather than drafts, Post-its instead of graphic organizers
  • The ideas of Anne Lamott, including the power of small assignments and the one-inch picture frame (see also Lamott’s TED Talk)
  • Separating form (e.g., narrative writing) from modality (e.g., building a story through puppetry or sewing)
  • Tinkering to create an argument
  • Student choice in selecting medium and modality
  • Emergent curriculum design — framing a curriculum that’s responsive to the needs of students in real time
  • Affinity mapping instead of graphic organizing
  • Teachers identifying the struggles of their students in order to prescribe the best interventions
  • The concurrent emergence of design thinking, maker movement, and Make Writing 
  • Treating drafting as prototyping in the design thinking process
  • Her upcoming book, Hacking Writing Workshop

In their follow-up segment, Cade and Michelle discuss

  • Using Post-Its, paper slips, or notecards to build a blog post
  • Tinkering with ideas recorded on cards to best situate ideas and plan titles and pictures for an authentic audience
  • Using Fahrenheit 451 thematic ideas to spark design-thinking-centered activities
  • Intertwining students’ study of disparate texts (e.g., Warriors Don’t Cry and Lord of the Flies) by blocking (or one-inch-picture-framing) activities on symbolism and theme
  • Combatting students’ resistance to the traditional essay using alternative modes


And, as usual, Cade and Michelle finish the episode with #thestruggle. You’ll have to listen to hear what they’ve recently struggled with in the last couple weeks. We’d love to hear about your current struggles. Share them on Twitter with #thestruggleXtheHall.

Keep the Conversation Going

Follow Across the Hall on Twitter at the handle @Acr0sstheHall. You can also comment on any of our episodes or share information with us and our audience using the hashtag #XtheHall.

Coming Soon in Episode 8

Announced at the end of this episode, Cade and Michelle announce that their next guest will be the author of Teach Like a Pirate, Dave Burgess. The hits just keeping on rolling!

Listen to “ATH E7: Revving Up Writing” on Spreaker.


on “ATH 7: Revving Up Writing with Angela Stockman
2 Comments on “ATH 7: Revving Up Writing with Angela Stockman
  1. I really enjoy so very much the thoughtful insights that are shared. I appreciate that the strategies shared are practical. #thestruggle makes the information shared very real! Implementing a best practice or innovative practice is not easy. If it were most everyone one would be doing it! #thestruggle is worth it for our students!

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