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    Michelle A. B. Gallegos
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Some Comments about Preparing to Write: Layers of Success
Principals and Curriculum Directors | Teachers | Parents | Former Students



Principals and Curriculum Directors:
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     Preparing to Write: Layers of Success is the most essential and exciting workshop on writing that I have ever attended. It is so important for a teacher to understand all the processes in writing before she/he can present the information to the student.

     This was not a formula to follow; it was using all the skills needed to improve all aspects of their literacy.

R. Williams
Curriculum Coordinator; Elementary, Bodine School (Tennessee)

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     Michelle?s workshops have made a significant difference to the faculty and students at our school.  Not only has writing been impacted, but our faculty?s awareness of, and use of, metacognitive strategies have also increased. Michelle demystifiies the writing process for teachers by presenting one layer at a time, teaching to teach the writing process from the beginning to the finished product.  She creates enthusiasm for teaching a process that teachers previously were uncomfortable teaching ? written expression.  She encourages and models active participation enabling the teachers to ensure their students become active participants.  Next to Orton-Gillingham training (multi-sensory phonetics/phonics reading) which is essential for teaching at a school for dyslexia, Michelle?s workshops, Preparing to Write: Layers of Success, have been the most valuable workshops my teachers have attended.  She has enabled every teacher at The Bodine School to become a better teacher and has been particularly influential with my beginning level teachers.  The Bodine School is truly fortunate to have someone of Michelle Gallegos? caliber working with our faculty.  We always look forward to her workshops and consider them time well spent.

Rene Friemoth Lee
Ph.D. Executive Director, Bodine School (Tennessee)

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     I have found Michelle Gallegos? Preparing to Write: Layers of Success writing program to be quite valuable to my teachers. I had the opportunity to observe Michelle?s program first-hand, as she taught it to my faculty during summer in-service prior to the start of this school year. 

     As a long-time former English teacher, I thought I knew just about every possible way to teach writing.  This could not have been further from the truth. Michelle has created an innovative, creative, and fundamentally strong system of teaching composition.  In addition, her method emphasizes "both ends of the spectrum": the basics and higher order thinking skills. My teachers were excited to learn her method, and they are enthusiastically integrating it into their curricula.  From what I have seen, and the feedback I have received from teachers and students, I would recommend this program without hesitation.

Greg Graber
Dean of Academics for Middle School, Bodine School (Tennessee)

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     Michelle is the most exceptional writing teacher I have ever seen. Her kids love to write and they write with the best! Just as important, Michelle has a wonderful knack for communicating these same instructional skills to other teachers. She does it in an effective, non-threatening manner that fellow teachers rave about. The more teachers she works with, the more children who will benefit.

J. McDermott
Principal, Cherry Creek Schools (Colorado)

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     As a former classroom teacher, a current principal, and an aspiring writer, I know these tools work. I have used the information and activities in this manual to help young writers discover their voices and best ideas. Imagine as a teacher having all of the tools to accomplish this task. Michelle shares these tools with you in Preparing to Write: Layers of Success.

     I am indebted to Michelle Gallegos for preparing the staff to teach writing more effectively, reflect on writing instruction/practices across all content areas, and for helping us to exceed our own expectations.

D. Naghi
Principal, Academy District 20 (Colorado)

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Teachers:
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     Preparing to Write offered me so much more than the structured writing classes I had taken in the past where we spent days on one technique for one genre of writing. Instead, Michelle presented a plan for the entire school year, for all genres, for all children. Her writing curriculum was presented in meaningful in-services that were packed with ideas. Every moment was filled with new strategies for a plan to reveal and expand my students? true writing abilities.

S. Messmer
Cherry Creek Schools (Colorado)

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     I now have hope for my kids as future writers.

E. Bedell
Falcon District, CO

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     Gifted students often learn how to write just enough to get the grade with which they are satisfied. When I started teaching my 4th and 5th grade gifted language arts class, I observed that many of the students thought that their first effort was enough. I thought that there was great potential for extraordinary writing in the minds of my students, but they did not know how to release it.

     When I began to use the activities and strategies in Preparing to Write, my gifted students realized that they were writers. They learned how to use new writing tools to effectively express ideas in different genres, instead of writing in their most comfortable style all of the time.

     And their reading also changed. My students began to criticize and appreciate what they read for the quality of writing, not just for the story. Reading and writing became more intertwined. The students in my class acquired the vocabulary and understanding to discuss their writing with one another. They had a clearer picture of what their writing could be. And, the greatest change that I observed was my students were actually being challenged in their writing. Not only did using this approach challenge them, but they took pride in each piece of writing and put true effort into each piece, challenging themselves.

A. Biber
Facilitator of Gifted Education, Littleton Public Schools (Colorado)

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     I began Michelle?s writing class hoping to become a better teacher of writing; I leave her class a more effective and energized teacher in all areas. Questioning, thinking, reading, and writing strategies learned in her class are now an integral part of my classroom. Layers of Success is much more than writing ? it is a belief that all children have something to say and can be given opportunities to communicate their message. I recommend this class to everyone who desires to create a classroom of writers.

T. Hoit
Academy District 20, Colorado Springs, CO

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     Preparing to Write was an amazing class! I enjoyed going to class to find more tricks to put in my bag for writing. My first graders responded nicely to the sudden change in their teacher's writing lessons. They quickly changed their attitudes towards writing and found that they could be fabulous writers. The writing I'm getting now is spectacular. I recommend taking Preparing to Write to clarify how to teach writing in steps. Michelle is a great writing teacher and I look forward to using her methods throughout my teaching career.

A. Kelley
Falcon District, CO

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     As a veteran teacher of fifteen years, I had considered my primary students? writing successful. But, since training with Michelle Gallegos and incorporating her unique writing techniques, I am amazed by the rich language and thought processes that each of my students encounters on a daily basis in their speaking and writing. Not only have I learned to be a more effective writing teacher, I have also learned to appreciate what great writers do.

K. Haase
Academy District 20, Colorado Springs, CO

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     How do I teach writing? That was a hard question for me until Michelle?s workshops. What was most helpful? It?s hard to list them all.

     I started with a classroom where the majority of the kids would have three words on their paper at the end of a writing period, and then have only three children who wanted to share their writing, and then?. BAMM!!! Michelle Gallegos workshops! My class loves to write and share now!

     Before this class, I was afraid to write, and even more fearful of teaching it. Finally "getting it", Michelle has made me so excited about writing that it is contagious to my students. Simple strategies that work! Who wouldn?t love that?

J. Soos
Cherry Creek Schools (Colorado)

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     I have watched students of many different ability levels meet the challenges this program presents. They grow to understand the specific skills of writing behaviors. Students reach past their previous thresholds, and reveal thought processes and knowledge that have surprised and delighted me.

     Preparing To Write: Layers of Success presents a multi-level platform that gives teachers concrete tools to help students gain fluid expressions of ideas onto the written page. The clear progression of skills allows every child to believe in their ability to say what they mean in a voice that they can recognize as their own. This program encourages students to reach past their first idea and confronts the ?frustration demon? that can impede even the most creative minds. The organizational skills learned in Preparing To Write facilitates the students? abilities to succeed in all aspects of the classroom.

A. Smith
Classroom Instructional Assistant, Cherry Creek Schools, CO

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     Michelle?s writing training has brought a new flavor back to the writing design of my classroom. It has taken away the stale sense of systematic step-by-step mechanics to allow the mystique of creativity to venture back like a long lost child.

M. Gregory
Cherry Creek Schools (Colorado)

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     Preparing to Write: Layers of Success training gave me the tools to encourage children to fall in love with writing. My eyes were opened! The inspiration is back! Like a steel and concrete foundation, I have writing tools to build into each child the joy of writing. The students who grumbled about not knowing what to write are bursting with ideas and joyfully pouring them onto pages. The silence is broken. Can you hear the joyful noise coming from a room full of excited writers? I hear it and rejoice! Thank you, Michelle, for opening my eyes and ears.

J. Lockerby
Cherry Creek Schools (Colorado)

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     Preparing to Write empowers teachers with perhaps the greatest gift of all ? the ability to give students a voice. This gift is obtainable for all students, regardless of background, ability, and previous knowledge. I consider myself so fortunate to have participated in this training, and the approach is so easy to mold for individual teacher and student needs

E. Lee
Bodine School (Tennessee)

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     Having taught 36 years, I have had many opportunities to improve my ability as a teacher, but I had no idea what fresh innovative learning I was about to begin. Michelle has a gift for creating and developing activities that are presented in a relaxed manner that made our faculty relaxed about our undertaking with even our own writing. Michelle has an eclectic approach to teaching writing, combining it with reading in each activity. She has such a unique way of teaching every skill. She has put these ideas together in a process that is exceptional. Each session was over too quickly and we looked forward to her next visit.

     Michelle?s Preparing to Write training is evident all over our building - as a reading specialist, I hear my students tell me about writing activities they are excited about in their classroom.

J. Sedlacek
Reading Specialist, Cherry Creek Schools (Colorado)

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     For over 12 years, as a learning specialist, I have been able to observe Michelle?s work with significantly impacted students in the area of writing. Through implementing her six-trait Preparing to Write strategies, she has been able to move these students to being proficient writers. These at-risk students became confident in their writing abilities, and through assessments have demonstrated that their knowledge and proficiency levels increased. Her impact upon students already at the proficient level is equally significant as these students become advanced in their writing skills.

     Two years ago I was able to attend Michelle?s professional development classes and I gained valuable tools that I was able to bring back to my classroom and implement. Michelle provided insight into the six-trait process, specific resources, guidance through each trait, strategies within each trait, and an appreciation for the difficulty our students experience as they learn how to write. Through this training, I am a more proficient teacher of writing.

D. O?Tremba
Learning Specialist, Cherry Creek Schools (Colorado)

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     Preparing to Write is an excellent resource. She challenges us as she challenges children. She provides a safe environment for each of us to explore, learn, and develop at our own level and pace. We are definitely privileged to have Michelle as an outstanding writing/resource teacher. Her expertise, enthusiasm, and support have benefited the teachers who have taken her classes.

J. Shem
Cherry Creek Schools (Colorado)

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     With Michelle?s techniques, I am feeling more comfortable teaching writing, and the techniques definitely produce better writers. I wish I?d been taught this way as a student.

3rd Grade Teacher
Bodine School (Tennessee)

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     After teaching writing for over 10 years, I have never seen kids so excited and eager to write and share their writing. I have always struggled with getting my students to "get to the point" ? I really can tell the difference in their writing. Michelle is a natural teacher ? she must be incredible in her classroom, but to get a room full of teachers excited about teaching writing and actually doing the activities in their classrooms is a gift. She has helped me become a better writer and teacher, and my students are becoming writers with a stronger voice, focus, and purpose. I strongly feel that all teachers should be required to take Preparing to Write. The information and hands-on learning is invaluable.

B. Pedrett
Cherry Creek Schools (Colorado)

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     Finally, a method that teaches students to think!

C. Riddick
Bodine School (Tennessee)

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     Michelle's work will inspire you as a teacher. Each time I leave her, I feel better equipped to teach writing. She has taken the 6 traits, which our district has used for years, and given them substance and meaning. Breaking each trait into manageable, understandable steps helps each student know the components of strong writing and the confidence that they too can succeed. Her workshops and training are among the best I've ever had.

R. Melendez
Academy 20 District, CO

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     Michelle?s presentations are valuable not just for writing instruction, but across all subject areas, especially reading. Her strategies for challenging students to become creative, inquisitive, and independent thinkers are both valuable and motivating. And her materials are practical and teacher-friendly.

K. Assel
Bodine School (Tennessee)

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     By taking Preparing to Write with Michelle, I?ve had a great opportunity to learn from a "master" ? and to learn with peers from my own building. It?s a gift to have this opportunity. I see much growth and collaboration as we learn together and develop common language and goals.

     Besides the "everyday" growth I see in students, there?s been carryover to those "tests". Testing aside, I appreciated the opportunity for the students to see their teachers as "learners". The students reaped the benefits of my learning and never complained if there was a sub, but rather said, "Oh, is it the Michelle Gallegos writing class day?", and then expressed delight knowing I?d come back to share with them.

D. Reynolds
Cherry Creek Schools (Colorado)

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     Not only has learning Michelle?s approach to language made me a better teacher, but it has improved my own reading and writing. Pieces of writing strike me (or don?t) on completely different levels than they did before I took Preparing to Write. As an educator with a Master?s degree in composition, I feel like I am revising my own education along with my students.

J. Hepler
Bodine Middle School (Tennessee)

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Parents:
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     I had the opportunities to watch Michelle "work her magic". All the students in her room were interactive and expressive. It was a joy to experience the energy in her classroom. My son?s confidence and creativity has flourished in reading and, especially, writing. He came home the first day of school very excited and so ready to learn. Michelle has very high expectations for her students and truly makes them believe that they are capable of whatever they put their minds to.

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     I just have to write a note to tell you what a difference you?ve made with our son in just two weeks. He?s reading, and he?s refused for years. Yesterday he came home and read a story on his own and exclaimed that he understood the whole story. This morning he took a book to school for his free time. Already we are amazed at what you have done. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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     There aren?t enough ways to describe how Michelle Gallegos exemplifies the qualities that are so vital in a teacher. She consistently provides an environment full of patience, fun, and individuality. More importantly, she challenges her students to reach goals they thought were beyond their best, and she isn?t at all surprised when they reach them.

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     That Michelle Gallegos was a well-respected teacher did not put me at immediate ease. My daughter was going to be starting the school year in a classroom full of strangers for the third time in three years. Being deaf meant that she was bringing to the situation a uniqueness that I did not trust would be recognized, appreciated, or in general, dealt with well. No one in the class, outside the interpreter, would know sign language. Time and again my daughter?s abilities had been ignored and expectations kept low because of her challenge with English. All of that changed with Michelle Gallegos. Ms. Gallegos was able to inspire a deaf child to think of herself as a poet, even though she had never heard a rhyme.
     I just spoke with several former students of Michelle?s remembering being in her classroom. They remembered how hard they worked, how much they learned, how Ms. "G" would never let them quit, and how she never quit on them. She stands out amongst the best in her profession.

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Students:
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     The only thing better than watching Ms. G. teach is to be taught by her.

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     Ms. Gallegos being a part of my life has changed my goals and dreams forever. She gave me the knowledge to strive for excellence and pushed me to challenge myself. She found my true potential as a writer and helped me to form my future.

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     She taught me things I thought I would never learn. She taught me things that I had never heard of. I am really proud of having had her as a teacher.

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     I am honored that Ms. Gallegos was my fifth grade teacher. As the years have gone by, I realize what a profound influence she has had on my life. I have just finished my first year as a teacher, giving me the ability to see Ms. Gallegos as a professional, in addition to my memories of her when I was a 10-year-old student. Ms. Gallegos instilled in me a love for language arts. When I teach my own students, I try to imitate the tone and style of Ms. Gallegos. She made everyone feel smart and never labeled us ? she demonstrated, through her daily interactions, her love and support of us. Ms. Gallegos inspired me to embrace learning and gave me the courage to believe in my own teaching career ? I want to touch the life of even one of my students in the way Ms. Gallegos has forever touched mine.

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     Ms. Gallegos is a model language arts teacher. She never gave us the routine, "Sit down and get to work, kids," it was always, "Good morning, poets." I have risen to a level of comprehension that I didn?t think was possible. The challenges she presented to us were like being told to move a lake from Utah to Arizona. I know that when I graduate, I will see a vacant spot in Utah and a crystal clear oasis in Arizona. She made it possible to see myself as a writer, not a fifth grader.

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     She helped me to see that a handicap doesn?t have to be a disability. I credit Ms. Gallegos for my success, and I would love to have her again!

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