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NESA Fall Leadership Conference 2019

Vicki Vinton

Literacy Consultant and Author

To Make a Prairie literacy blog

VICKI VINTON is a literacy consultant and author who has worked with schools, districts and organizations across the globe for over 20 years. As an early member of the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University, she brings a deep understanding of the workshop approach to teaching reading and writing. And as one of the 68 educators from around the world who traveled to Reggio Emilia in 2012 to consider how their social-constructivist approach to learning could inform literacy instruction across the grades, she also brings a passion for inquiry.


Her books include Dynamic Teaching for Deeper Reading: Shifting to a Problem-Based Approach, What Readers Really Do: Teaching the Process of Meaning Making, and The Power of Grammar: Unconventional Approaches to the Conventions of Languages. She has also contributed essays to The Teacher You Want to Be, edited by Matt Glover and Ellin Keene, and Heinemann’s The Big Five series, where she shares five books that informed her practice.

Ms Vinton also regularly presents at conferences, institutes and conventions around the globe, including NCTE’s yearly convention, the Hong Kong International School’s Literacy Institute, and Lesley University’s Literacy for All Conference. Additionally, she’s the voice behind the popular literacy blog To Make a Prairie, where she shares ideas, resources and work she’s done in schools.

3-Day Institute

Building Strong, Skillful & Passionate Writers: Teaching Writing Workshop for Grades 3-8

FRIDAY, SATURDAY, SUNDAY - NOVEMBER 8, 9, 10 | Riffa Views International School, Bahrain

Connect & Engage

This foundational course in Writing Workshop is specifically designed to support teachers new to workshop teaching, though teachers wanting to grow their understanding and practice of workshop are welcome as well.

We’ll begin Day One by each considering why we think people write and how students learn to do it—and we’ll use those initial ideas as a springboard to explore the core beliefs and concepts that underpin the workshop approach to teaching writing - such as, "teach the writer, not the writing" and the importance of choice. Then we’ll look at the key structures and components of workshop, from units of study to the writing process and from the architecture of a mini-lesson to writer’s notebooks, celebrations and shares.


The following day, we’ll take an in-depth look at planning and implementing mini-lessons for different stages of the writing process and the bends of a writing unit. Through the use of demonstrations and videos, participants will see how mini-lessons can be taught through either direct instruction with teacher modeling or through a guided inquiry approach, using mentor texts. And they’ll also be invited to take the stance of student writers, by actually trying on the work of the mini-lessons and experiencing first-hand what it means and feels like to read as a writer.

Reflect & Apply

On our last day together, participants will have the opportunity to see the work in action during a lab-site classroom demonstration. After the demo, time will be carved out to reflect and ask questions. The remainder of the day will be focused on conferring, with teachers learning the typical structure of a writing conference (Research, Compliment, Decide, and Teach), as well as some variations, like research and compliment conferences.

By looking at student work together, everyone will have the chance to develop and practice the crucial skill of formatively assessing student work in a conference to intentionally deciding what to teach and how to teach it.

Please bring a physical notebook along with a writing implement, and a laptop.


Participants will learn the following:

• The rationale behind the workshop approach, including core beliefs and concepts;
• The structure and components of workshop, such as units of study, the time allotment of a workshop, and the architecture of mini-lessons and writing conferences;
• How to plan and implement mini-lessons and targeted small group instruction through direct instruction with teacher modeling or guided inquiries using mentor texts;
• How to formatively assess a student’s writing in a conference in order to decide what to teach;
• How to read like a writer and teach students to do so;
• How to facilitate student shares and plan celebrations;
• How to support and manage a classroom where students may be at different points in the writing process.

Target Audience:

For new and developing Grades 3-8 teachers.

Continuum Levels:


Learn more about how NESA plans Professional Learning
NESA'S Learning Continuum:


Save paper and effort where possible!

For your convenience, and to support our efforts in being "green", all handouts/files posted here have been notated with an A, B, C or D indicating the following:

(A) hardcopies needed at workshop
(B) electronic version on laptop is sufficient (for viewing during the workshop)
(C) required reading PRIOR to the workshop
(D) file not needed for workshop itself, but simply material of additional interest/reference


Updates to handouts may be made until shortly before the start of the conference.