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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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.
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 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
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
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
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

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

Aimee Trudeau, Web Developer, Kizmato.com
Ms. Ziff is definitely not just my teacher and tutor; she is my mentor.Lexi 7th Grade, Harvard Westlake
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
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
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 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
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
Ms. Vanessa has challenged me to stretch my writing and I am excited for what I will do next.Evan, 3rd Grade

Posts Tagged ‘literature’

PSSST! CoMe IN: Character, Symbolism, Irony & Theme

Friday, January 10th, 2014

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

Gannon Daniels

Vanessa Ziff LasdonWelcome back and Happy New Year!

In the first two installments of this WRITE-themed blog post series on literary response essay techniques (Part 1; Part 2), we addressed 5 of the elements of fiction that our acronym, PSSST, CoMe IN! represents: Narration, Plot, Setting, Style and Mood.

In this final post we’ll survey the most important element of fiction, CHARACTER, followed by 3 final elements that are a bit trickier to grasp at first, yet no less commonly addressed in essays: Symbolism, Irony, and Theme.

PSSST! CoMe IN and explore with us!

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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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Newsela.com: Creating Global Citizens Through Scaffolded Texts

Friday, October 25th, 2013

 

Jaya MukherjeeGuest post written by W.O.R.D. Ink team member, Jaya Mukherjee

As an educator, I watched my students struggle with nonfiction texts, namely newspaper literacy. Though my ambition was to make my students secular-minded world scholars, the interpretation of current event articles traditionally proved to be an overwhelming assignment for them. The language was over their heads or the content of the story was framed in an inaccessible way to children. Parents would often call to tell me how frustrated the assignment made their children. If they weren’t already tired of scouring the Internet looking for a particular news story, then they were spending hours deconstructing the story.

Newspaper literacy is an essential skill. Without it, we are not setting our kids up to truly understand what is happening in the world or how they fit into it. Nevertheless, my experience with my students is undeniable proof that our kids need more support in this endeavor; they need one place to turn to, a way to compensate for journalistic language that they may not grasp yet, and a set of specific questions to anchor their understanding in the content of the story. Recently, the W.O.R.D Ink team found such a place and it’s appropriately called Newsela.

Newsela.com

 

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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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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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10 Safe Outlets for All-Age Youth to Publish Writing Online and In Print

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

Hello, 2013! Year of the Snake! Let’s make this year a time of steady progress and attention to detail, of focus and discipline in achieving what we set out to create. 

Year of the Snake, White Background

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On The First Day of Christmas, Three Inspiring Links

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

Merry Christmas, word lovers! I feel so honored to share this special holiday with you! Today’s post is on DISCOVERIES, so please enjoy the following three Seeds and Sparks. May they inspire you and ignite your imagination! Share with family and be sure to curl up on your own to savor them, too. Remember: the holidays are also a time to be loving and joyful with yourself! You deserve it!   

storybird pg13-top100 choice literacy podcasts

 

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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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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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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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