Running Diary of an Anita Archer Presentation—Part 1

Anita Archer will be in Washoe County on May 15th to speak to our adminstrators and supervisors and then on May 16th to work with classroom teachers and instructional coaches. Many of us, however, will be unable to attend these events. The good news is that Dr. Archer is one of those rare educational consultants willing to have herself filmed and have her content posted to the Internet. Consequently, you can opt into Dr. Archer’s presentations, free of charge, including this one filmed by Utah State University.

The first part of the presentation focuses on handwriting. Archer makes a compelling case for why automaticity and fluency with forming letters and words leads to better writing. She stops short, however, of endorsing cursive instruction and sticks to the outcomes within the Common Core Reading and Language Standards. At minute 13:00, Archer outlines the research supporting the cognitive benefits of students being able to print their upper and lower case letters and at minute 23:13, Dr. Archer forwards two strategies for students who are disfluent writers. That is, she shares research that supports having student write frequently and having children practice “repeated writings.”

At minute 25:14, Dr. Archer transitions to spelling and shares the reciprocal nature between spelling and reading. At minute 30:55 she criticizes several common approaches to spelling practice including crosswords, word searches, writing words in sentences, and looking up words in dictionaries. What she suggests does work includes dictation, peer tutoring, and copy-cover-write-check. Dr. Archer puts theory into action by showing a lesson demonstration with 2nd graders (35:00). Following the demonstration, Dr. Archer lists the routine she used with the students—pictured below.

Archer Spelling Routine

Dr. Archer transitions to sentences at minute 45:02. Archer promotes the following instructional approaches to increase proficiency with this skill. This includes sentence expansion (minute 46:16), meaningful sentences (48:45) and sentence combing at 54:45.

About Aaron Grossman

I am a 5th grade teacher at Roy Gomm Elementary in Reno, Nevada. I started working with elementary students as part of the Montana Reads program and AmeriCorps. In 2001, after graduating from the University of Montana and moving to Reno, Nevada, I student taught at Rita Cannan Elementary before receiving a 6th grade position at Veterans Elementary. I moved out of the classroom to be a Literacy Coordinator, then an Instructional Coach, and finally a School Improvement Program Coordinator. In 2011, I began working on the Nevada Academic Content Standards in the district’s Curriculum & Instruction Department. I returned to the classroom for the 2015-2016 school year to teach 4th grade at Huffaker Elementary. Before returning to the classroom, I helped develop the Core Task Project that has been featured by National Public Radio, the Gates Foundation, American Radio Works, Eduwonk, the Fordham Institute, Vox, and the Center for American Progress. In 2014, I received the Leader to Learn From Award for my teacher-centered initiative and work to bring college, career, and civics ready outcomes into Northern Nevada classrooms (here). In 2015, I was appointed by Governor Sandoval serve on the Statewide RPDP Council. The same year, Nevada’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction Steve Canavero placed me on the state’s State Improvement Team. This year I will be part of the National Council on Teacher Quality’s Teacher Advisory Group. I am Google Certified Educator and a Nevada Teacher Ambassador. I believe strongly that teaching content is teaching reading and I make sure my students have ample opportunities to work with social studies, history, science and art outcomes. I do what I can to blend the learning for my students and this blog is part of that effort. You can contact me at
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