How’s It Going by Carl Anderson is an effective strategy guide for teachers of any grade level working with a writing workshop style classroom. The book is written in a conversational style similar to that of Lucy Calkins and discusses what teachers can do to be better at not only holding conferences with their students, but making their students apart of the process and accountable for being productive while the teacher is holding conferences with other students. Anderson defines effective conferences as conversations that are dictated with purpose and have a clear structure. He gives examples of conference transcripts with elementary and middle school students that offer insight on how to apply his techniques so that you too can hold effective conversations with your students to progress their writing without doing it yourself or simply saying “this looks fine to me.” Carl Anderson is the lead developer at the Teacher’s College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University. He is a nationally recognized education consultant. Before working at the college, he taught elementary and middle school at The Bronx, Kentucky, and Illinois. Keep it casual and relaxed, yet still structured with purpose. Make sure your students feel comfortable. Include these types of questions: 1. How’s it going? 2. What are you doing today as a writer? 3. What work are you doing as a writer this period? 4. What do you need help with today? Ask research related questions that aren’t leading but have students think more deeply about their writing. Example: Could you say more about that? What do you mean by…? Could you explain what you mean by…? 1. Management skills that help make the workshop successful: Have students envision the workshop When students know exactly what to do in the workshop, teachers can work solely on conferencing Have a routine in the classroom Move around the room before conferencing to nudge workers in the right direction Activities to do : study model pieces of lit, peer conferences, compose/revise/edit drafts 2. Teaching independence to the students Work independently for 30 min or more Find ideas, write fluently, and know what to do after completing a piece 3. Developing a repertoire of diagnostic questions Remind students of writing manners (being quiet while others are composing) Make sure the students are invested in their writing Teach students to make plans and set goals for their writing Get them involved in the conference conversation In mini-lessons, directly teach them about their role in the conference Use conversational strategies to teach students how to talk in conference and about their writing Use your time speaking with students wisely; you will not get to talk to every student every day. Make the conference a conversational tone; don’t make it stressful rather relaxed and use open ended guided questions to help their thinking about writing. Teach students to be independent so you can talk with others and not worry that they’re not being productive. Set up a good working environment.