Barry Lane is one of the finest speakers on the teaching of writing. His combination of warmth, insight and energy is magical. My colleagues and I left our day with Barry with full hearts and high spirits, ready to bring new strategies and new energy into our writing workshops.

Lucy Calkins


NEW! Writing as a Tool for Thinking in All Subjects

Writing is not a subject like Math or Science or History.  Writing is a core skill like thinking or breathing. Students need to be writing and thinking in all subjects. This workshop, which can be tailored for teachers of all subjects and grade levels, shows the many ways teachers can use writing to teach thinking in content areas. 


                       Topics include

                        Question Notebooks

                        Multi-modal  Literacies (Video/Audio/Power Point)

                        Classroom Blogs

                        Exploratory Writing and Written Conversation

                        Poetry across the curriculum

                        Teaching Synthetic Writing, Not Just Regurgitation

NEW! Writing Reboot Camp: Bring Back the Joy to Teaching Writing

Have you lost your passion for teaching writing, or not found it yet? Has writing become more of a predictable performance and less of an art? Do your students  groan when it’s time to write because they see writing as filling in simple outlines or following prescribed formulas instead of discovering their own unique voices? Do students see elaboration as just adding more stuff because they are supposed to? If so, you might need a Writing Reboot: a class where you, think, write, and learn dozens of ways to create a class of real writers who elaborate their ideas and craft real meaning in whatever genre they write. Whether your school uses a writing program like Thinking Maps, Empowering writers, 6 Traits, or Units of Study, this 2 day writing workshop will breathe new life into your teaching and show you how to be master of your own writing class. 


Barry Lane's aim is to inspire teachers of writing as much as to teach us, to encourage as much as to show how. The man delivers. His humanity--his humor, curiosity, openness to learning from every experience, and generosity of spirit--are gifts to the profession.  

--Nancie Atwell, winner of the Global Teaching Prize

Igniting a Passion for Non-fiction Writing : Creating a Question Culture and Writers Armed with a Sense of Wonder

As State Standards and tests focus on the particular qualities of successful essay writing, it is easy to forget that the best writing grows from a curious mind, not a prescribed formula. This workshop shows teachers how to create a classroom of curious thinkers who transfer their unique sense of wonder into their research and their writing and excel at any writing task. The Texas version of this workshop includes ideas for improving STAAR test essay responses through authentic writing instruction.

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This amazing book is packed with persuasive activities, some extensive but most brief and powerful. As you can expect from Barry Lane, this book is also a lot of fun for both teacher and students.

--Jason Lily, 6th grade teacher

I am taking back so many ideas that I can use with my staff. I loved today. It was so engaging.

--Heather Varon, Principal


Barry Teaches the Sweet Spot in the Argument


Revision: How to Teach it, Learn it, Love it! 2.0

"They love to write, but how do I get them to love revision?"

Revision is an ongoing, creative process, not simply the act of correcting a rough draft. Yet, many students groan or go limp at the prospect for revising their work. This idea-packed presentation, based on Barry Lane's 2 books, After THE END and Revisers Toolbox, will send you back to the classroom with  practical techniques and exercises to show students how to love revision as much as professional writers do.


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After the End is my favorite book on teaching students the art of revision, and it should be part of every writing teacher’s professional library.”

Kelly Gallagher

Barry Teaches the Power of the Snapshot Lead


Force Field for Good: Teaching Kindness Through Song and Literacy ( a program for elementary schools)

At a time when high academic achievement and rising test scores are seen as success, it is easy to forget that real accomplishment in life involves how we live and act everyday.  Force Field for Good, is an ongoing, year long, musical approach to creating a kindly classroom community of students who share a passion for self-reflection and aspire to well being for every member of their class.  Created by Barry and 2nd grade teacher Colleen Mestdagh the mini -curriculum merges academic learning with social emotional learning.   Click Here to find a full description of the book and songs.  Barry is available for school visits the involve full school assemblies and classroom visits. 

“Barry Lane, is a master at the kindness/smartness connection; his breadth of expertise–from writing instruction to social emotional learning–has influenced our work in substantial ways. In particular, one of our first encounters with Barry was at a workshop where he inspired us with his song, “Know Your Higher Self.” The language of that song has found its way into our everyday conversations with each other, with our children, and with the students we teach, as we remind each other and ourselves to stay connected to our visions of who we really want to be.”

                                                                                                   Jan Burkins and Kim Yaris


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What is Force Field for Good

Each song is a springboard into books and conversation and action. Each pairing of music and literature is the nudge we need to continue striving to become our truest, best self.

--Lester Laminak, co-author of Bullying Hurts

A teacher explains what Force Field for Good did for her students.


The Art of Wacky We-search: Writing and Laughing Across the Curriculum

Who says research reports and informational writing have to be dry and boring? Trade in the dump truck essay for something far more meaningful and fun and exceed the State Standards in the process. Based on Barry's best-selling non-fiction children's book , 51 Wacky We-search Reports, this session will give you scores of ideas for transforming research writing assignments in your class. You will also learn that because humorists have to make people laugh, they have to explore a subject from more than one angle. The best humor is rigorous thinking. See more at the Wacky We-search website.

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The best workshop I have attended. The lessons are simple, but super effective for younger and older students. -- Naomi Fuentes, 11th grade

High school student Marlene Martinez describes her Wacky We-search assignment. 

A high school History teacher explains why Wacky We-search is more rigorous than quizzes.


Discovering the Writing Teacher Within: A Mini Writing Retreat for Teachers

This four day, intensive writing course is aimed at creating teachers who teach writing from a writer's perspective. Based on Barry Lane's books, Discovering the Writer Within, Reviser’s Toolbox, The Healing Pen and But How Do You Teach Writing? The goal of this training is to help teachers become confident writers who can share the craft with their students.


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One constant in this world gone mad for assessing, sorting and labeling children is that Barry Lane will cut through all of that and stay true to the educators who light the fire and deliver the passion within children to be all they can be .

~Nancy Thornblad, Curriculum Supervisor

Barry made this video poem after a 4 day retreat in Columbia , South Carolina.


Barry Lane's Literacy Cabaret: An Inspiring Show of Clean Comic Fun that Celebrates Teachers and Sends Up all the Nonsense

After years of doing stand-up and parody songs as part of his academic presentations, Barry Lane has put together a genuine interactive, improvisational, night club act for teachers. You will sing, you will dance, watch poignant and funny original short videos and you will learn to see yourself and the crazy world around you. You may also begin to realize once again that you have the best job in the world. Visit the website for more information.

Barry dances with a group of Smooth Laminators in Fairbanks Alaska, performing for 1200 teachers on opening day.

Barry sings a parody song about "Rigged Rigor" vs "Real Rigor". Barry uses his original songs to make points throughout his workshops. 


Youtube star and English Teacher Kym Rickman sings  Barry's song "Stand by Your Plan."


Widening Circles: Teaching Big in a Shrunken World

 I live my life in widening circles that reach out across the world. --Rainer Maria Rilke

As digital literacies connect people across borders, oceans and continents, literacy education becomes much more than simply mastering basic skills. Using humor, song and literacy lessons, author and teacher Barry Lane illustrates how to widen the circle of your teaching, merge social and emotional learning with academic learning and help all students use their writing to connect to a future of hope and freedom.



Rigor Without Mortis: Writing for Administrators





Creating a writing school requires more than simply purchasing a program.  The best administrators command a deep understanding of what writing classrooms look like and how to motivate students to write with creativity and vision.  This 1-3 day retreat, gives administrators at all grade levels an inside view of how to teach writing from scratch and pass that understanding on to their teachers.  


So many times trainings only present ideas that resonate with a select group of people.  Rarely do we get a presenter who understands and preaches the universal.  The revolution has begun!  I can't wait to get back to share with my students so they can teach me their truths.     Ileana Garcia Spitz