I know that the many fun and challenging lessons I’ve learned from Ms. Ziff will help me achieve my goal of one day being a professional writer and filmmaker.Jaren S. 7th Grade, The Buckley School
Ms. Ziff always pushed me to do my best, and never let me slack off.  She introduced me to my love of writing and gave me the confidence I needed both academically and in myself.Georgia 9th Grade, The Buckley School
Ms. Ziff set the foundation for my analytical, constructive, and creative skills. Whether writing a sonnet or writing an essay, I still have her lessons in my mind.Kenneth 8th Grade, Harvard Westlake
I honestly don’t know what kind of a writer and reader I would be without the tools I learned with Ms. Ziff. She was always a very understanding, rigorous, and involved teacher, and an incredible mentor.Maddie 9th Grade, Marlborough School
Vanessa captured the essence of what I wanted to relay on my site without sounding trite, unlike my experience with previous writers.Martin Pugh, Musician
The writing skills my daughter, now excelling in ninth grade English Honors, left Vanessa’s class with continue to be an invaluable set of resources.Betsy Leva
What our daughter values most about her time in Vanessa's class is being inspired to become an organized writer who could convey her thoughts in a meaningful manner.Laurie and Chris Harbert
Vanessa Ziff Lasdon possesses the dynamic combination of an incisive intellect and boundless passion when it comes to teaching her craft and sharing skills with her students.MaryLynn Richmond
My son learned more about writing and literary appreciation from Ms. Ziff in fifth grade than in any other year of school. I wish all teachers had Vanessa’s passion for teaching and inspiring!Kim Ford
Ms. Ziff’s friendly demeanor and enthusiasm made communicating easy and learning exciting. She taught us to understand and appreciate the material, and have fun in the process.Alivia 8th Grade, Harvard Westlake
Vanessa is truly a one-of-a-kind teacher. She’s extremely organized, communicates ideas effectively, helps motivate, and has a lively, engaging teaching style that brings out the best efforts in all of her students.Howard Tager
While we continue to be impressed by Vanessa’s many attributes, it is her high energy level, extraordinary patience, and passion for what she does that make her truly unique.Melissa and Rob Weiler
Vanessa is a true master of her craft. She is a blast to work with, completely trustworthy and utterly authentic. To work with Vanessa is a privilege; you just want to soak up all her talent, and bottle it up for yourself! She is an inspiration.Sarina Fierro, Head of Lower Elementary, Curtis School
Vanessa’s methods are creative, thorough and innovative. She makes writing fun and has turned our daughter’s “like” of writing into a true “LOVE”.The Altmans
The skills Vanessa taught my son--particularly the value of revising many times […] attention to detail, and high standards—are still with Nico several years later.Liz McNicoll, Attorney, Paramount Pictures
Vanessa transformed our son Josh from a decent writer into an excellent writer.  We wholeheartedly recommend Vanessa and her ability to draw out the best in your child’s writing ability.Jill and Larry Krutchik
I learned as much from teaching with Vanessa as any of her students under her guidance. Where so many others fall back on old tricks, Vanessa taps into her extensive experience to invent new methodologies for each and every one of her clients.Patrick Kieffer, Fifth Grade – English & History, The Packer Collegiate Institute
Ms. Ziff maintains a good balance of knowing when to give more help and when to insist that you rise to the challenge of the learning situation. She instills confidence, honors excellence, and respects effort.Kenneth 8th Grade, Harvard Westlake
Vanessa’s greatest ability is to help each student realize his or her own untapped potential. It’s the stuff that changes lives!Jacqueline Frohlich
Ms. Ziff is always organized, resourceful, and ready for anything. She believes in a process, [...] the best of all being the Ms. Ziff approach, which makes her spectacular.Kenneth 8th Grade, Harvard Westlake
Vanessa got my 8-year old son excited and intrigued to dig deeper into his experiences and bring his thoughts to life. Now Evan’s words dance and sing, which makes me want to dance and sing!Sally Micelotta
Ms. Vanessa has challenged me to stretch my writing and I am excited for what I will do next.Evan, 3rd Grade

Vanessa is an outstanding writer and a joy to work with.

Aimee Trudeau, Web Developer, Kizmato.com
Vanessa’s vast skills, complete dedication, and clear purpose construct a solid core for every student she teaches. Her passionate nature produces both a fun and rewarding learning experience.Michele Noble, Director, Writer, Filmmaker
Whether it’s teaching a student to become a more vivid creative writer, a more effective analytical writer, or a more selective business writer, Vanessa can do it all.Meli and Stephen Rose
Having an eight-year old highly gifted boy was not enough to make him put all those brilliant ideas on paper. Daniel feels constantly challenged by Vanessa and that ignites him.Liliana Benitez
Ms. Ziff is definitely not just my teacher and tutor; she is my mentor.Lexi 7th Grade, Harvard Westlake
All of us remember teachers who inspired us to greater heights and who influenced our lives. Vanessa Ziff Lasdon has played this role in my daughters' lives.Jack Tauber, M.D.
Vanessa has a gift for inspiring even the most reluctant writer and her passion for writing is infectious. She is a favorite workshop leader at our Young Writers’ Conferences.Julie Moore & Rena Svetic, Young Writers’ Conference Founders
Vanessa is high-energy smarts and charm, the kind of writer and teacher who captures and captivates readers of all ages.New York Times bestselling author, Cynthia Leitich Smith
It's obvious that Vanessa is a wordsmith: "Write. Observe. Revise. Discover...W.O.R.D."  These are the four essential ingredients for becoming a writer; two of them about the work (writing and revising) and two of them about the joy (observing and discovering.) Vanessa accomplishes it all.  Julie Larios, award-winning poet and children’s author

Posts Tagged ‘advice’

2014 Course Catalog & Inspiring Kids to Write!

Friday, February 28th, 2014

Vanessa Ziff Lason

Head & Heart to Hand & Page:

Inspiring Kids to Write

By W.O.R.D. Ink Founder & Executive Director, Vanessa Ziff Lasdon

 

There’s a writer in all of us because there’s language in each of us.

Have we not all shared the same spark of joy in first learning to write our very own name?

Writing is self-discovery and self-expression.

We begin with a spark.

To inspire a child to write we must reignite that very first wonder and delight, and we must hold the spark steadfast with the intention of kindling a long lasting love of language within the child.

 

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Re-vision the Holidays with Giving Tuesday & littleBLUEPRINT.com

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Guest post co-written by W.O.R.D. Ink team members, Jaya Mukherjee & Vanessa Ziff Lasdon

Jaya Mukherjee Vanessa Ziff Lason

I love the revision process because in writing and life, to revise our process can signify more about us than the art we create. The challenge we must pose to ourselves is to revisit something familiar with completely new eyes. Whether it’s an essay, a facet of our own identity, or our perspective on the world, if we approach revision with an open mind, the process can be an opportunity of discovery and exploration. I find this notion of revision to be particularly pertinent during the holiday season.

Giving Tuesday littleBLUEPRINT

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PSSST! CoMe IN: Plot, Mood & Style (Part 2 of a 3-Part Series)

Sunday, November 10th, 2013

Gannon DanielsGuest post written by W.O.R.D. Ink team member, Gannon Daniels

My brief introduction of the first installment back in September considers how students don’t always know how to approach analysis of literature and often are not as familiar with the terms used by instructors when asked to write an essay about literature. The lesson I propose minimizes terms, empowers students, and creates a clear path to student-based discovery and learning.

Screen-Shot-2013-09-11-at-12.20.39-AM

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Language Experience Approach: Engaging New & Reluctant Readers

Friday, September 27th, 2013

Susan Kawell

Guest post written by W.O.R.D. Ink team member, Dr. Susan Kawell

 

“Let’s start with my newest story,” suggests Tasha. “The second one I wrote.”

So I begin to read her story –-

“No, no, I’ll read it.” And she does – perfectly. Why?

Because it is her story, and Tasha is becoming a better reader by learning to read her own words. That’s what LEA does – LEA, Language Experience Approach, teaches young children or reluctant readers, whatever their age, to read.

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Pssst! Come In: Opening the Door on the Elements of a Literary Essay (Part 1 of a 3-Part Series)

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

Gannon DanielsGuest post written by W.O.R.D. Ink team member, Gannon Daniels

Writing about literature can be daunting, no matter what grade or skill level. Before writing begins, students need to have a general understanding of literary elements in order to feel confident when they encounter the language of fiction often found in literature essay prompts. Early in my teaching career, I shared a lengthy literary devices handout with my students. It covers everything from alliteration to leitmotif, and the author kindly uses color-coding to clarify which terms are “elements” of fiction and which are authorial “techniques.” I thought at the time I was doing my students a great favor by providing this comprehensive resource, but I was only causing more confusion. A case of “more is too much.”

james joyce

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Six Word Memoirs

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Today’s WRITE Post is dedicated to six-word memoirs, a reminder that an entire story lays hidden within a single sentence. (And a brief marvel at how the whole of our personal existence might fold neatly into six well-chosen words.)

“For sale: baby shoes, never used.” — Ernest Hemingway

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Keep Calm and Teach On

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Keep Calm and Read On. That’s the theme for this year’s California Association of Teachers of English (CATE) Convention, taking place February 8 – 10 in Santa Clara. W.O.R.D. Ink is devoting our week’s blog post to considering this theme, with a slight variation extended to all learning:

Why is it important for a teacher to keep calm and teach on?

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Be Still Already! Coach Your Mind to Live Like a Writer

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013
concentrate

Last week I made a plan to write and I did not stick to it. At least, not the way I’d intended.

Life got in the way again, and I just let it barge right through my carefully carved-out quiet time. Then I spent the rest of the week feeling terrible about not having kept the promise to myself. Well, today, I’ve decided to shorten my post in OBSERVANCE of the writing I must complete.

You will find Silas House’s observations on The Art of Being Still quite apropos for creators of all kinds. Please take a look, if only to press the “reconnect” button within yourself as an artist. The essence of House’s reflection boils down to this:

Stop talking about writing or not writing, and Just Do It already.

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Proof in the Figgy Pudding: Holiday Writing Inspiration

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

 

Amidst sensory overload, the holidays provide valuable details for authentic storytelling. Have a journal handy, because proof of holiday writing inspiration is in the Figgy Pudding!

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Please, Sweat the Small Stuff: Shape Voice with Sound & Syntax

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

What is Voice?

In this 3-part revision series, we’ll debunk several mysteries behind the magical element within every great work of writing: Voice. It’s my hope that you’ll see Voice not as an elusive and unattainable ingredient, but rather, as a series of deliberate, layered choices made throughout the revision process, and as accessible to all who practice the craft–within every genre and for any purpose. May you walk away each week inspired to “Re-Vision” your writing with techniques that work!

Fred Astaire

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4 Reasons to Help Your Students Manage Their E-Reputation

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Have you OBSERVED your students’ online habits lately?

I first spotted this infographic created by KBSD Digital Marketing on Lisa Nielsen’s Innovative Educator site, and decided, along with Nielsen’s reference links, that it was a must-share with you all. The infographic does such a great job conveying the reasons and ways we can help our students (as educators and parents) manage their online reputation, that I have little need to add my own two cents. Except to say this: kids do not inherently understand the value and impact of their e-reputation. They are not necessarily tuned into the challenges they face each day in maintaining strength of character and in preserving the integrity of their digital identity, as they trawl their favorite social media platforms. While we have them in our sights, let’s be aware of our own obligation to teach and model responsible online engagement. Regardless, mistakes will happen. Boundaries will be crossed; lessons learned. Whether you are an educator, a parent, or both, share this post and reach across the proverbial aisle to observe how both schools and families can play key supporting roles in an ongoing dialogue about students managing their e-reputation. 

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Dear Luck: Keeping the End in Mind

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

Today is a WRITE post, and that means providing you with the encouragement and opportunity to get your thoughts down on the blank page. Consider this Dear Luck post a spiritual pick-me-up quick-write that you’ll want to revisit time and again.

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Self Advocacy for Learning Differences, the Top Rule in Writing, a Revision Gallery, & The Vote for Education

Monday, October 29th, 2012

A Team Ink guest blog special: Jenny on personal truths, Becky on self advocacy, a revision gallery by author Kate Messner, & Simona on CA Prop 30 versus 38. 

Thank you to my three guest bloggers from the W.O.R.D. Ink tutoring & editorial team, who participated in this special, multi-topic W.O.R.D. of the Week post! 

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Writer’s Block: 12 Ways to Cure a Monster of a Problem

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

This is Grumble.

Grumble’s my Writer’s Block beast, and boy, he’s a moody one. A real monster of a problem, especially when the delicate creation stage of a project begins. Grumble can smell the sweet scent of hope and acrid stench of fear from a mile off. He squares off with The Muse on my left shoulder, perching on the right, just inches from my ear, and an arm’s length away from the DELETE button. There’s no finer victory for Grumble than a day without a word on the page. He delights in looming over me with his hairy eyeballs and doomsday expression, squashing seed ideas and spitting on sparks before either can lift off.

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Magic Formulas, Multiple Intelligences, Voice, & The Kindle Fire

Monday, September 24th, 2012

WRITE: Forget Magic Formulas. Find Your Unique Way.

Let’s pretend that writing derives from a mythic Magic Formula. I can’t imagine it being simple, for one thing (W = Butt-In-Chair x Heck-of-a-Great-Idea / 2 cups of coffee?) There are too many variables involved. This is more like it:

Now, on the surface of things, a formula is the process by which we’re able to spew out a solution on the other end. Formulas create order out of chaos, and that is why we gravitate toward them in every facet of our lives, even if you were to adamantly deny your affinity for math. Plug in the numbers, follow x, y, z, and Sha-zam! Success.

But with a formula as complicated as this (which, by the way, represents the calculation behind lacing an average shoe with six pairs of eyelets), you are bound to wind up with two trillion ways to success. (I’m not kidding. There are two trillion ways to lace a shoe.)

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