This year’s National Day on Writing is October 20. And what’s a more fitting way for students to celebrate than by talking with real author about the process of writing a book? 

Your 3rd-5th grade students are invited to a free Google Hangout with award-winning children’s author Kate Messner!

Celebrate National Day on Writing with a free Google Hangout for students
Kate Messner is the author of The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z (which was the winner of the 2010 E.B. White Read Aloud Award for Older Readers), and other books which have made the New York Times Notable, Junior Library Guild, Indie Bound, and Bank Street College of Education Best Books selections. On top of that, she has 15 years of middle school teaching experience! You can learn more about Kate and her books here.

Kate will host the talk via a live Google Hangout session on October 20 at 12 pm EST. Students in grades 3-5 are welcome to join. During the session, Kate will talk about how published authors go through the same writing process that students do, including prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. She’ll also provide insight on how authors, editors, copy editors and illustrators work as a team to publish a book.

The goal of the session is to leave students feeling inspired and confident about telling their stories!

Celebrate National Day on Writing with a free Google Hangout for students hosted by author Kate Messner

Classrooms around the country will be participating in the session, and two of them will even be live on cam. In addition to the inspirational talk, there will be a Q&A time for students to share questions they have prepared.

Get your students ready by downloading this free writing activity which focuses on generating story ideas. You might also want to have students read one of Kate Messner’s books (preferably the Ranger in Time historical fiction chapter book series, which will be the material used for the hangout.)

Celebrate National Day on Writing with Kate Messner

After the hangout, this follow-up activity can reinforce what students learned and help them get started with planning their own stories.

This virtual event is a fantastic way for 3rd-5th graders to learn about the real-world writing process with a published author! Save the October 20th date and get registered! You’ll be automatically entered to win a class set of Kate’s book, Rescue on the Oregon Trail.

Celebrate National Day on Writing with a free Google Hangout for students hosted by author Kate Messner

Disclosure: This post is brought to you in partnership with WeAreTeachers, a site that has been a longtime supporter of The Cornerstone. WeAreTeachers has compensated me for helping them spread the word about these wonderful free resources for teachers and kids.


Extreme student behavior: 7 traps to avoid when NOTHING seems to work

October 4, 2015
Extreme student behavior: 7 traps to avoid when NOTHING seems to work

REMINDER: The 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club has begun and is only accepting new members until this Saturday (Oct 10th)! If you’re feeling overwhelmed because the job is never really DONE, I hope you’ll join us in setting priorities and creating boundaries around your time. You’ll learn how to trim 3, 5, or even 10+ hours off […]

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Curious about classroom Makerspaces? Here’s how to get started.

September 30, 2015
classroom makerspaces

Makerspace is a rapidly growing trend in schools across the country, but to be honest, I’ve never implemented one myself, and I can’t quite picture the logistics of orchestrating a Makerspace. How do kids know what to do? How can you find out what they’re learning? How do you make time for that with all the […]

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7 ways to prioritize teaching tasks when EVERYTHING seems urgent

September 27, 2015
how to prioritize teaching tasks when everything seems urgent

I believe it’s possible to be a great teacher while still having a great personal life. But that requires knowing how to figure out what’s most important, do it well, and let go of the rest. Prioritizing tasks is the foundation of using your time effectively and working more efficiently. Here are 7 strategies to help you do that. […]

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Free teaching resources, videos, + games for fire prevention month

September 24, 2015
fire prevention month

October is National Fire Prevention Month, and I’ve partnered with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to share some wonderful free resources you can use to help you integrate fire safety procedures into your instruction. Sparky’s Brain Busters App (Featuring Multi-Player & Classroom Modes) One of the newest resources from the NFPA is their free mobile app, Sparky’s Brain Busters. iPhone users […]

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Can a teacher work a 40-hour week and still do a good job?

September 20, 2015
Can a teacher work a 40-hour week and do a good job?

Whenever I mention a 40-hour workweek for teachers, people tend to have one of two objections. Either they think it’s not possible, or they think it’s not aspirational—that you can’t do a good job in 40 hours a week, so you shouldn’t even try to attempt that as a teacher. I believe that a 40-hour […]

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Follett’s Lightbox finds approaches to learning for all teaching styles

September 16, 2015
Follett’s Lightbox finds approaches to learning for all teaching styles.

Mitch Coulter is here today to share how Follett’s new Lightbox tool can you help adapt your instruction for students’ learning styles AND your own unique teaching style. Follett is a long-time supporter and sponsor of The Cornerstone, and I’m proud to help spread the word about this new tool they’ve released.    One of my favorite […]

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Getting real about grit: 6 things every teacher needs to know

September 13, 2015
getting real about grit

“Grit” is a huge buzzword right now that’s used to refer to perseverance and resilience. Many schools are rushing to adopt grit curriculums and character education programs so they can teach their students about how to put in the effort and determination that’s needed in order to be successful. But here’s the thing about grit. […]

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Working and conferencing with a rubric: easy tweaks for effort + quality

September 9, 2015
Excellent tips for improving rubrics--why didn

I’m always in search of simple, time-saving rubrics that make it easier for kids to understand how they’re being assessed. Today, I’ve invited middle school principal and former Language Arts teacher Dennis Kafalas to share some awesome strategies he’s developed for making your rubrics easier to use AND higher quality. Thank you, Dennis! Correcting student work with a rubric […]

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How to keep your team’s positivity/innovation from alienating co-workers

September 6, 2015
positivity and innovation alienating coworkers

A Truth for Teachers listener named Deb recently wrote me and said, As I was listening to Dave Burgess’ truth for teachers about collaborating with colleagues who don’t support your creativity, I was thinking about my own situation. I am fortunate to work with 5 other wonderful third grade teachers. The issue we have as a […]

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Your votes are in: the 30 most comfortable shoes for teachers

September 2, 2015
Your votes are in: the 30 most comfortable shoes for teachers

Teaching involves a lot of standing and walking around, and without comfortable shoes (okay, even WITH comfortable shoes), that can be pretty hard on your body. I recently asked my followers on Facebook to share the most comfortable shoes they’ve found for teaching, and got a wide range of responses regarding sneakers/tennis shoes, ballet flats, […]

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How to build relationships with students through personal stories

August 30, 2015
james sturtevant

This post is based on the latest episode of my weekly podcast, Angela Watson’s Truth for Teachers. A podcast is like a free talk radio show you can listen to online, or download and take with you wherever you go. I release a new 10-15 minute episode each Sunday and feature it here on the […]

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How to be pro-active with uninvolved (and overly-involved) parents

August 23, 2015
pro-active with parents

“Go the extra mile for families, but don’t take forever to get there” is the title of a chapter in my latest book, Unshakeable: 20 Ways to Enjoy Teaching Every Day…No Matter What. Today,  I want to share with you some ideas from that chapter about being pro-active with your students’ parents. With some parents, […]

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How to use math talk cards/posters to promote student-led discussions

August 18, 2015
math talk cards and posters

It’s fairly simple to get kids talking (and writing) about math strategies during whole-class strategizing sessions, small group modeling, and one-on-one practice. We as teachers just memorize the leading questions (How do you know? Can you prove your answer? What’s another way to solve?) and we have lots of go-to phrases that help us push […]

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How to figure out what you really NEED to buy for your classroom

August 16, 2015
Classroom with black chalkboard, educational alphabet and numbers

August and September are very expensive months for educators as we try to navigate all the back-to-school advertisements. Often we need to buy basic supplies like pencils and paper for our students. We see adorable decorations on Pinterest that we need to buy craft supplies for. We see awesome books we need to purchase, both for […]

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Bloomz: my favorite FREE app for parent-teacher communication

August 13, 2015

Keeping all of your students’ parents in the loop is no easy task. There are unsigned forms to track, forgotten requests for volunteers, and phone calls about student progress to return. Not to mention that parent contact comprises so many different avenues of communication: we have to stay on top of calls, notes, email, voicemail, and more. The ideal solution? […]

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7 beliefs about teaching routines that will cause you to lose your mind

August 9, 2015
Teaching procedures is much less tiring when you Identify and change these 7 beliefs

The beginning of the school year is super exhausting because our days are filled with teaching students our expectations for every. single. thing. We have to teach them how we want them to head their papers, line up, keep their desks organized, solve conflicts with their peers, and so on. It’s a lot. In fact, […]

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How to turn back-to-school anxiety into real enthusiasm

August 2, 2015
back to school anxiety

Have the back-to-school nightmares started for you yet? Oh what, you thought it was just YOU that tosses and turns all night long, dipping in and out of dreams that feature you managing 165 kids in one classroom, or finding out you got moved to a new grade level in the middle of the first […]

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6 ways to teach growth mindset from day one of school

July 26, 2015
teach growth mindset from day one of school

Imagine if your new class this fall was full of students who would: Be willing to try new things Stick with hard tasks and not give up Push themselves to do their best work, not just what’s “good enough” Believe in themselves and their own ability to learn Here’s the great news–these are traits that […]

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12 of my favorite podcasts for teachers

July 21, 2015
podcasts for teachers

I started my Truth For Teachers podcast in January, and since then, I’ve heard from dozens of educators who are now hooked on the format and are anxious to find other great education podcasts to follow. That makes me so happy! As I wrote in my post PodcastPD: What You’re Missing If You’re Not Listening, podcasts […]

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