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STAAR Writing and Grammar Workshop in Houston

Trail of Breadcrumbs, LLC

Wednesday, November 13, 2019 at 8:00 AM - Thursday, November 14, 2019 at 2:30 PM (CST)

STAAR Writing and Grammar Workshop in Houston

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Ticket Type Sales End Price Fee Quantity
2-Day STAAR Writing & Grammar Workshop including 2 books
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Event Details

Teaching Writing and Grammar Through the Year and for STAAR with Gretchen Bernabei

November 13-14, 2019 in Houston

8:00 am - 2:30 pm

This workshop will model layered instruction, weaving between grammar, writing, and reading, using materials Gretchen has adapted from STAAR released tests and student STAAR essays.

Participants will receive Grammar Keepers and Text Structures from Fairy Tales as well as a preview of Gretchen’s forthcoming book, Text Structures from Poetry.

Specific high-yield strategies covered include:


  • Nailing fragments and run-ons, using the sentence wringer
  • Wiping out usage problems (like its/it’s and there/their/they’re) once and for all
  • Showing your students how to use their parts-of-speech knowledge
  • Keeping track of your grammar-teaching-in-context


  • Generating quicklists and kernel essays
  • Choosing from five text structures for expository or persuasive essays
  • Using icons for developing details


  • Kernelizing passages for comprehension and multiple choice ease
  • Recognizing and using pitchforking in questions
  • Extracting text structures from passages

Who should attend? 

  • Anyone teaching writing (pre-K through 12)
  • Anyone who lays the instructional foundation (grades 4-11) for STAAR writing and reading tests


Day One: Building the Moves — Focus on Instruction and Development of Skills

8:00   Registration and continental breakfast

8:30   One moment/10 uses for journals

9:15   Pedagogy of grammar dialogues; star point: they’re/their/there; tracking chart

10:00 Break

10:10 Kernel essay: Cinderella

11:00 Capturing and using craft

11:30 Lunch on your own

12:30 Color-it-up

12:45 Sparkling sentences

1:00   Sentence wringer and paragraph overhaul

1:40   Using ba-da-bings

2:00   Kernel essay: Moment of Disappointment

2:20   Implementation: quantity counts

Day Two: Showing the Moves — Focus on Assessment

8:00   Star point: apostrophes

8:30   Quicklists and kernel essays for STAAR

9:15   STAAR structures and scoring; student papers from recent years

10:00 Break

10:10 11-minute essay

11:00 Pitchforking; specificity in language

11:30 Lunch on your own

12:30 Sparkling sentences

12:45 Reading stems

1:00   Using remediation packets

1:40   Dead giveaways on STAAR

2:00   Truism Braid

2:20   Implementation: empowering by acknowledgment

Is this the same as Gretchen's previous workshops?

Participants will receive new books and new links to STAAR materials adapted by Gretchen, using the STAAR released tests from recent years, grades 4 and 7, EOC I, and EOC II. The basic strategies are the same.

Need help with registration?


Contact Stacy at (817) 229-0764. Or email her at

What people are saying:

“I highly recommend. I gained so many tips, tools, and resources that I cannot wait to use. There were hundreds of “ah-ha” moments.” ~Nicole Link LeBlanc

“Best training I have ever attended!” ~Megan Stewart, grade 4 teacher

“These ideas, lessons and messages WORK! You have turned us into expert writing teachers. I feel refreshed and have learned so much!” ~Kelsey Barbour, grade 4 teacher

“The year I implemented the Grammar Keepers strategies, my 7th grade STAAR revising and editing scores went up 20%.” ~Rebekah Jacobson, grade 7 teacher

“Engaging, stimulating and magical days of knowledge that I can immediately take back to my classroom and implement with my students. These are lessons that will challenge and enrich every reader and writer.” ~Marie Cleary, grade 7 teacher

“Thank you so much! What I’ve learned is going to help my struggling EOC kids so much!” ~Aidan Apperley, high school teacher

“Using your strategies, the confidence level of my babies went through the roof!” ~Genevieve Tellez, high school teacher

Have questions about STAAR Writing and Grammar Workshop in Houston? Contact Trail of Breadcrumbs, LLC

When & Where

Norris Conference Centers - Houston/CityCentre
816 Town and Country Boulevard #210
Houston, TX 77024

Wednesday, November 13, 2019 at 8:00 AM - Thursday, November 14, 2019 at 2:30 PM (CST)

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Trail of Breadcrumbs, LLC

Gretchen Bernabei taught for 36 years in Texas public schools. She is the winner of NCTE's James Moffett Award.

Gretchen has shared her experience with other teachers through seminars, journal articles and books, offering field-tested techniques for teaching writing. 

Her publications include The Good Writer’s Kit for Hampton-Brown/National Geographic, Why We Must Run with Scissors (with Barry Lane), and Reviving the Essay: How to Teach Structure without Formula. She contributed the chapter, “The School Essay: Tracking Movement of the Mind” in Teaching the Neglected “R”: Rethinking Writing Instruction in Secondary Classrooms. She has published two anthologies of high-scoring student TAKS essays entitled Sparklers: High Scoring Test Essays and What They Teach Us and More Sparklers

Other titles include Crunchtime and The Story of My Thinking, both from Heinemann. Her titles from Corwin Literacy include Fun-Size Academic Writing for Serious Learning, Grammar Keepers, Text Structures from the Masters, Text Structures from Nursery Rhymes, and most recently, Text Structures from Fairy Tales.

Currently, Gretchen and her Trail of Breadcrumbs consultants conduct staff development events around the country. She lives in San Antonio.

Learn more about Gretchen on her website:

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