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For more than thirty years, Jeff has inspired writers and teachers of grades K-8 with the power and joy of the writing process. He has written eight books and five kits for Stenhouse Publishers: Mechanically Inclined, Everyday Editing, 10 Things Every Writer Needs to Know, Revision Decisions (coauthored with Dr. Deborah Dean of BYU), Patterns of Power: Inviting Young Writers into the Conventions of Language, Grades 1-5 (with Whitney La Rocca), Patterns of Power: en español (with his former 4th grade student, Caroline Sweet, and Whitney La Rocca), Patterns of Power Plus Grades 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. Patterns of Power: Inviting Adolescent Writers into the Conventions of Language, Grades 6-8 (with Travis Leech and Melinda Clark), and his latest, co-authored with Whitney La Rocca, Patterns of Wonder: Inviting Emergent Writers to Play with the Conventions of Language (Summer 2021). He also writes middle-grade novels, including Sterling’s Zack Delacruz series: Me and My Big Mouth, Just My Luck, and Upstaged.
Jeff grew up in Austin, Texas, where he fell in love with writing while journaling and sharing stories he’d written to entertain his friends on the phone. As a staff developer and demonstration teacher, Jeff says, "I love the ability to spark curiosity and creativity and to support people in finding their voices. That's pure joy."
Jeff's first book, Mechanically Inclined, came to life when he was looking for ways to integrate grammar rather than ignore it. This book chronicles his journey to teach grammar in a way that would actually resonate with students and, most importantly, be applied to their writing. His other books come from his work in his own classrooms and those across the United States. The invitational process in Everyday Editing is built around facilitating the conversations students have around mentor sentences. 10 Things Every Writer Needs to Know is Jeff's chance to share the essential things writers need. In his first collaboration, Revision Decisions, Jeff and Debbie tackle sentence-combining and its larger effects on revision and writing. Jeff’s new book is written with Whitney La Rocca. They met at a staff development and immediately began tweaking the invitational process for primary and elementary writers. Three years of their professional relationship resulted in the Patterns of Power: Inviting Young Writers into the Conventions of Language (2017). They continued their collaboration with grade-level Patterns of Power Plus kits (2019). Travis Leach and Melinda Clark joined Jeff for the middle school version of Patterns of Power (2021), and Jeff and Whitney joined forces again for Patterns of Wonder: Inviting Emergent Writers to Play with the Conventions of Language.
In his free time, Jeff walks his dogs, Carl and Paisley, or sits on the deck with his partner, Terry. When he's not doing that, he meditates or reads—his latest addiction is nonfiction.
Beyond the Book
If you’d like to book Jeff for your school or district’s next PD, email email@example.com to consult with our PD Specialist or click the blue “Book This Author” icon.
- Patterns of Power: Inviting Young Writers into the Conventions of Language (Grades 1-5)
- 10 Things Every Writer Needs to Know (Grades 3-9)
- Everyday Editing: Finding Power in Process (Grades 4-8)
- Mechanically Inclined: Teaching Grammar and Editing in Context (Grades 4-8)
- Revision Decisions: Talking Through Sentences and Beyond (Grades 6-8)