Writing Traits Masterclass Series (Starting Term 1, 2021)

Writing Traits Online PD

So You’ve Heard Of The 6+1 Traits And Want To Know More?

In this PD series we’ll be taking a deep dive into each of the traits to help you really understand:

  • what each trait is (beyond a basic definition)
  • what each trait looks like in mentor texts and student writing
  • how you can teach students about each of the traits.


Teachers who have a deep understanding of the qualities of good writing are better equipped to nurture and nudge the writers in their class and that’s exactly what this PD is on about.

By going deep on one trait at a time, you’ll develop the teacher content knowledge required to:

  • identify the qualities of good writing in mentor texts
  • pinpoint student strengths and instructional needs
  • provide more effective feedback to students
  • plan more targeted, focused and effective minilessons.


This self-paced online course version of the course is designed to enable you (or your team) to work through the Traits Masterclass course at your own pace. This is perfect for individual teachers to work through on their own or for groups of teachers to work through together (it would made an ideal PLC study!)

The feedback from the weekly zoom version of the course (2 intakes held in 2020) overwhelming highlighted the benefits of engaging in this slow, drip-feed of learning over several weeks. This allowed participants to go deep on one trait, talk about it, test it out with students and discuss the impact with colleagues, before taking on new learning about the next trait.

The self-paced online version is designed to support a slow and steady approach- which will lead to a more positive and sustainable change in how teachers teach writing.

Cost: $250 per person + GST

 All The Details

  • What: You’ll get access to all the Masterclass sessions and resources for 12 months.
  • When: The course will open in Term 1, 2021.
  • Where: Online.
  • Cost: $250 per person + GST (with 5% being donated to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation).

What previous participants have said about the writing Traits Masterclass Series:

“I found this PD fantastic! We have started looking into the 6+1 traits this year but this is the first time I feel confident that I know what I am doing AND that I know how to explain, model and inspire not only my students but (perhaps even more importantly) my colleagues 🙂 Breaking it up trait by trait and including actual, useful teaching practice and tips made it so accessible and easy to put into practice immediately!”


“Honestly, the best PD I have ever been to and these are my reasons why…
– each trait was given time to understand and explore
– you demystified lots of questions I had regarding the traits and presented in a way that was easily understood
-you are LOGICAL in the way you talk about writing and the traits.”


“Where to start. Absolutely amazing. Best PL I’ve had in a long time. Thank you for using great mentor texts and showing us how to unpack each convention using them.”


Small Group Reading Instruction (Diving Deeper)

Small group instruction PD

Knowing your students and being clear on what you need to teach is what should determine which small group practice you use with your students.

We know that small group instruction is an opportunity to differentiate instruction based on students’ needs. We also know that guided reading is the most commonly used small group practice.

However, we also know it’s not the ONLY small group instruction practice!

Are any of these true for you?

  • Outside of Guided Reading, you’re not sure what other small group practices are effective?
  • You’ve heard about literature circles and/or book clubs, but have never seen them in action (or you’ve had a go at implementing them but you’re looking for more support with making them more effective).
  • You’ve been told that reciprocal teaching is the next step on from guided reading but you’re not sure why?
  • You’re wondering what would make you choose one type of small group instruction over another?

If so, then Small Group Instruction (Diving Deeper) is the next step for you!

In this online Mardi Gorman and I will:

  • Look at research-based small group instructional practices for reading that have been proven to be effective.
  • Examine three small group practices in detail:
    • Literature Circles / Student Led Book Clubs
    • Reciprocal Teaching
    • Close Reading
  • Outline the important components of each of these practices and provide a structure for planning.
  • View sample lessons and identify the differences between each one.
  • Highlight the assessment you can use to help inform grouping for each of these practices.
  • Provide handouts and resources to assist you with getting started with each of these small group practices.


  • What: You’ll get access to the recordings from the recently completed Small Group Instruction Series.
  • Where:  Online
  • When: Access is available to the recordings until the end of December, 2020.
  • Cost: $ 120+GST per person (with 5% being donated to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation)
  • (If you’d like an invoice so your school can pay, just send an invoice request to


  • Session 1:  Literature Circles / Student Led Book Clubs
  • Session 2: Reciprocal Teaching
  • Session 3:  Close Reading

Here’s some of the feedback Mardi and I received after our Pure Guided Reading PD:

I admired the simplicity of the message for such a vital teaching tool. It was explicit, inspiring and thorough.


It was such an invaluable course. Very clear, insightful, with meaningful knowledge to support the activities which clearly made sense. I can’t wait to implement it into my classroom practice as I now feel that I have the confidence to do so. I would definitely recommend Mardi and Riss’s courses and am looking forward to upskilling my teaching practice with attending more!


Amazing content knowledge, great hands on examples, realistic approach to teaching, love the comedy!


Reading: Effective Think-Alouds (Available for download now!)

This workshop is aimed at anyone who wants to strengthen the minilesson part of their reading comprehension instruction (it is very useful for remote teaching!)

Done well, think-alouds are a highly effective teaching practice for reading instruction. The problem is, the research says they aren’t used enough in schools.

This workshop was originally held as a live webinar and the recording is now available to download and watch in your own time.

The workshop covers:

  • The what, why and how of effective think-alouds.
  • How to plan for effective think-alouds.
  • How best to scan books to use in the classroom.
  • How to make your own think-aloud recordings.

This one hour recording comes with a supporting resources pack, a copy of the PowerPoint slides and a certificate of participation.

The cost is $27.50 (GST inclusive) and 5% of this donated to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.

Here’s some feedback from this workshop:

“You are a very skilled deliverer of online PD. I love that I can do it from home. Evenings are usually a time that suits, and recordings are nearly as good as the real time session.” -Michelle N

“I loved this PD as it wasn’t too long and overwhelming. It was perfect, straight to the point and easy to understand. I know exactly what I need to refine and how to be more explicit when coaching my teams with the delivery of lessons online and within the classroom. The resources you receive are very helpful.” -Michelle T