Hi there, I am Kristi Mraz. Former literacy consultant with Teacher’s College, co-author of Smarter Charts 1 and 2 (with Marjorie Martinelli) and Writing Units of Study: Non-Fiction Chapter Books (with Barb Golub and Lucy Calkins), Mindset for Learning (with Christine Hertz), Purposeful Play (with Alison Porcelli and Cheryl Tyler) and former kindergarten teacher and current coach in a school. This blog is a place for me to share what is working, not working, and all the thinking that goes into being a primary teacher. I believe in play, choice, independence, workshop teaching, and a second coffee at lunch. I also co-author the blog chartchums.wordpress.com and you can find me on twitter at @MrazKristine.

27 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Kristi, I’m so glad I found your blog. I teach kindergarten and we have been discussing what a close read would look like for kinders. I can’t wait to share your lovely piece with my colleagues. Kinder can be it’s own world and it’s great to read specifically about that grade. I look forward to more of your blog.

  2. Hi Kristi, I just spent HOURS reading your blog. I teach Title 1 and Non-Title kindergarten and first grade Language Arts in Pennsylvania. I am so lucky to have a position where I get to spend time with children and teachers in the classrooms and also teach Reading Recovery with one student at a time. In addition, I am a literacy coach for the K-1 teachers in my building. It’s my 27th year of teaching and I feel that teaching is my passion, second only to motherhood. My district is furloughing 21 teachers in January when we get back from the break. I am safe because I am “old”…or should I say “seasoned”??? Anyway, I love your blog and I am going to share it with my friends at school. We are anxious and sad about budget cuts, Teacher Effectiveness Evaluations, and PA Common Core. I hope that this blog will help us to focus on what is really important and help us to keep our hearts and minds in a positive place. Thank you for providing a space for support and collaboration! Fran 🙂

  3. Hi Kristi, I follow Chartums so glad I found your blog. You were m TCRWP consultant when I took the week long writing workshop class. It was so motivational… happy to be connected again. I loved the Dweck (Mindset) and a big fan of Vgotsky’s theory of how children learn. It’s just getting them to the zone… sometimes it does take a tow truck to nudge them there… but I’m opening my mind to finding other ways.

  4. Hi Kristi
    Recently you ( and your site ) were mentioned at a TC workshop on growth mindset. The speaker spoke about the way you’ve introduced the concept of the 4 brain grower’s in your class. I love the idea and power behind teaching children the need and importance of optimism, flexibility reliance and persistence & I was hoping that can you share some more information about this. I have begun reading the Paul Toughs How Children Succeed book but at the workshop it was mentioned that you used sentence strip crowns as a way to celebrate and highlight when children actively utilized one of the four brain grower strategies. Can you expand a bit on this it I am correctly attributing this to you. Thank you so much

    1. Yes, that’s me! I will actually have a book out on this topic in a few months with my co-author Christine Hertz! Some other books to check out in the interim are The Whole Brain Child and, of course, Mindset!

      1. Thank you for the book recommendations. I recently found your blog as it was recommended by master educator, writing guru and amazing workshop presenter Mark Overmeyer. I’m so looking forward to your book. Please keep us posted on the publication date. Thank you for your inspiration!

  5. Hi Kristi! You trained me at Teacher’s College many years ago and I have taken your easy ways to draw charts to a whole new level in my Reader’s and Writer’s Workshops. Thank you!!! I am sad you are not doing the TCRWP trainings anymore because my school is looking for a trainer to fly out to California.

    Hope you are well. Congrats on your published book(s) and happy charting!!!
    Tracy from San Francisco

    1. Hey Tracy!

      Thanks for commenting!! I love hearing from people I have worked with in the past. I actually do still consult- through Heinemann or the Educator Collaborative. If you are looking for someone, you can always send me an email at kristimraz12@gmail.com


  6. Hi! I was sent your blog post, my Fitbit made me do it today and I loved it! Then I read who you were and realized I have your book smarter charts! My aunt took a class with you at teachers college and she sent me the book. I am also a kindergarten teacher and will check out chart chums too!
    Amy Klebaur

  7. Thanks Kristi for starting my weekend off after the first 10 days of kinder, in Iowa have left me under the weather. After reading just a few of your entries this morning I feel motivated and even more determined to make it to NY one day. I can’t wait to keep reading and be inspired to rethink in order to create an even better learning environment for my own kinders through my virtual learning experiences. I appreciate your reflections and how they push my thinking!

    1. So sorry you are sick (it always happens, right!) and am so glad you are finding inspiration for your own classroom. When you do come to NYC, let me know! I would love to talk teaching and learning

  8. What an amazing opportunity that would be ….. For now I’ll keep adding to my coin jar for a ticket and reading online and my new book that should be here next week! Thanks for having the courage, will power, and making the time to share your ideas and collaborative opportunities!

  9. Kristi, I am such fan of your work! I remember learning so much from you when you led TC Writing Institute section for 1st grade teachers and have enjoyed your books over the years. I’m so glad to have found your blog, so I can continue hearing your reflections on life in the classroom. The way you love and respect each child comes across so clearly. Thank you for sharing!

  10. Hi Kristine, I purchased the Mindset book to use with my students. But I need some help; I cannot understand why the symbol of the traffic light was used for resilience. The rest of the symbols make sense to me, but not this one. Could you please explain? Thank you so much!

  11. Lovely to meet you Kristi. I followed a link from a tweet this morning and am pleased I have found your blog. I look forward to reading more from you. 🙂

  12. Hi Kristi,

    I’m so glad I’ve found your blog. I’m an Instructional Coach and this past January went to the TC Coaching Institute. One of your former interns was an assistant in our group and told us all about the great things you are doing!

    At our school, we’re getting some resistance around workshop teaching from kindergarten teachers. I think they are scared to try it and don’t believe the mini-lesson format is ever effective or developmentally appropriate for kindergarten. I’m a big fan of the kindergarten units and how playful they are! Any advice on how to get buy-in from kindergarten teachers?



  13. Hi Kristi! About 8 or 9 years ago I attended the Teachers College Reading & Writing Summer Institute and you were my TA for the afternoon session. I loved your energy! And now I’ve read two of your books, Purposeful Play and A Mindset for Learning. Thank you for re-inspiring me and reminding me why I became a teacher and how I need to teach. I’ve been teaching in an inner city school for 17 years, now in a TK/K class. It’s been a challenge with the academic expectations of our youngest students but your books have reinspired me and have gotten me thinking about how I can go against the tide and reform my teaching. I’ve been a believer of play and nurturing the SEL of children but your books have helped me to think more concretely about how I can really help grow my students’ brains within the requirements of our district. Thank you for reinvigorating me!

  14. Hi Kristi!
    I have been reading your books and following your posts on Twitter for about a year. Thank you for being such an intelligent and outspoken voice advocating for play. Your posts give me inspiration for charts that I can make with my students the next day and I also revamped the Super Powers unit this year to fit my students’ love for Pokemon. They were SO engaged and are still talking about it a month later.

    I have been teaching kindergarten for 8 years and each year I have felt increasing pressure to justify the time I “let” my students play. I have used different articles and research in the past, but I am excited to read your new book and form an even more convincing defense of the importance and benefits of play.

    When people have argued that the academic curriculum is more important than what can be gained through play, I have personal experiences from my teaching that suggest otherwise. For my students who are English learners, the language they gain from their peers through play is often more authentic and unique than I can even plan for. In the kitchen, two kids decide to make pancakes and all of a sudden they are talking about the size of the spatula and whether a different size might work better. Kids are also able to navigate tricky social situations in real time as well as at other times of the day when we talk and learn about social skills.

    Thanks for everything!
    Christa Edlund

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