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Mountain Landscape


Learning Community

Powerful, Practical Professional Development for Writing Teachers K-12

Join our teacher-led Professional Learning Community (PLC) to extend your growth, self-reflection, and earn graduate college credit. Fall 2022 will be hosted by Sarah Zerwin. Spring 2023 will be hosted by Aeriale Johnson.

We invite all teachers from across the globe to participate in our Professional Learning Communities. As such, we will be holding our fall 2022 PLC series online. All educators have an option of enrolling for 1 unit from San Jose State University for an additional $150 (in-state or out-of-state), which will require additional written work on the application of ideas in the classroom.

Registration is open!

Making Non-Traditional Grading Work by Putting Students Out Front


We’re looking toward a new school year, and whether you’ve already moved away from traditional grading or are curious about it, this session will invite you to reflect on some key components of using non-traditional, student-led grading to support the growth of readers and writers in the secondary classroom. The session will include some short pauses to reflect on your own practice and to engage in brief conversation with other participants. We’ll explore the following:

Distinguishing between traditional grading practices that center teachers and differentiated grading practices that put students out front as the most important users of classroom assessment data.
Emphasizing learning over grading.
Putting rubrics in students’ hands to use in formative rather than summative ways, as powerful tools to grow writers.
Making classrooms safe places for the risk taking that writers and readers must do to grow.


Tuesday, August 9th @ 10:00am - 11:30am



About the


Sarah Zerwin

My career started with student teaching at Abraham Lincoln High School in Denver, Colorado in January of 1996. Since then, I have taught in Washington State, Illinois, and Colorado, both high school and university methods classes (but mostly high school). I am proud to be public school educated, K through PhD. I am also a teacher consultant for the Colorado Writing Project. My first book came out in 2020: Pointless: An English Teacher’s Guide to More Meaningful Grading, and I’m working on my second book about instructional practices that encourage student-led learning in the secondary language arts classroom. My ultimate goal as a teacher is to invite my students to read our complex world so they can write their own futures within it. I teach language arts and work as an instructional coach at Fairview High School in Boulder, Colorado, where I live with my husband and dog, across town from our college student daughter (whom we get to see at least every other weekend when she needs to do her laundry).

Aeriale Johnson

Aeriale Johnson, the owner of Kinder Bender Consulting LLC, is a Reggio-inspired, abolitionist educator. She taught public school for twenty-three years in Florida, Alaska, and California. In 2021, she transitioned from being a classroom teacher to serving school communities as a consultant focused on equity and inclusion, building joyful and meaningful learning environments for early childhood students and multilingual language learners, and literacy instruction.

Aeriale strives to help teachers build a democratic classroom where all adults (educators and families) believe in children, allow children to bring the fullness of their humanity into the space, and deliberately relinquish their power to the children.

Fall 2022 PLC


6-12 Teachers


Fall 2022

​Sarah Zerwin (Grades 6-12):

  • Session 1: Tuesday, October 11, 4:30pm - 6:30pm (2 hours)

  • Session 2: Tuesday, October 18, 4:30pm - 6:30pm (2 hours)

  • Session 3: Tuesday, November 1, 4:30pm - 6:30pm (2 hours)

  • Session 4: Tuesday, November 8, 4:30pm - 6:30pm (2 hours)

Spring 2023

Aeriale Johnson (Grades K-6)


Zoom (Online)


$100 per instructor group

All educators have an option of enrolling for 1 unit from San Jose State University for an additional $150 (both in-state and out-of-state), which will require additional written work on the application of ideas in the classroom.


Fall PLC for Secondary teachers

Registration is open for Fall 2022 PLC!


Step Aside: Instruction that Supports Student-Led Learning in the Secondary Language Arts Classroom

There’s been a lot of conversation about learning loss in the aftermath of the most disrupted school years of the pandemic. How do we best support students to thrive as readers and writers in this context? With the best of intentions of supporting our students, we may end up doing a bit too much of the critical work for them. What might we teach students to do independently so that they can lead their own learning and growth as readers and writers? 

Session 1: The Moment + Reading Instruction (October 11)

  • Why is cultivating independent, student-led learning more important now than ever? 

  • Explore three simple, yet high-impact reading strategies to teach students to use again and again to derive their own meaning from any kind of text. 

Session 2: Writing Instruction (October 18)

  • What might we teach our students to do in the process of writing that enables them to figure out any writing task asked of them well into the future?

Session 3: Grading (November 1)

  • How do we ensure that our students are the most important users of classroom assessment data so they themselves know their own journeys as readers and writers? 

Session 4: Classroom Community (November 8)

  • What are the key components of language arts classrooms that cultivate student-led learning?

  • This session also has space to include a focus on additional topics inspired by the previous three sessions.


Professional Development for Teachers Grades K-6

Ernest Hemingway famously said, "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed." Writing is hard. It's especially so for our youngest writers without our deliberate efforts to support them. What do children need to become skillful writers who are joyfully engaged in making meaning on the page? How can we ensure we are building a writing community and reaching all of our learners –– students with varying abilities, multilingual language learners, and BIPOC –– in ways that honor their humanity and focus on the assets they bring to school from their homes and communities? How can we scaffold their work in ways that lead to reflection and growth, and independence and interdependence? Join Aeriale Johnson as we work together to answer these questions, boost our research-based knowledge, and enhance our practical toolkits to nurture young writers in grades K-5.​


Elementary PLC coming Spring 2023!

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