About Us

Welcome to our blog! We are Melanie Swider and Melanie Meehan and this blog is a result of all of the emails and shared posts we send each other. We love helping one another grow professionally! 

Melanie Swider: 
I am currently a fifth grade teacher in Simsbury, CT and have been teaching for over 10 years. Prior to teaching fifth grade, I was a fourth grade teacher and a Reading Consultant/Literacy Coach in my district. I received my Masters degree in Curriculum and Teaching at Teachers College Columbia University and worked at the Manhattan New School as well as in the Armonk school district in Westchester. 

Literacy is one of my greatest passions in life and I am an avid reader of children's books, professional books, blogs, and articles. I attend the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project (TCRWP) summer institutes, Saturday Reunions, and their calendar day workshops as often as I can. I am fortunate that my school district has been affiliated with Teachers College for about ten years so we work closely with the TC staff developers each year to help us continue to grow professionally. 

Since I have a passion for professional development, I also mentor and coach new teachers, provide professional development for my colleagues, and write/revise the reading curriculum for our district. 

Melanie Meehan:
I am the Elementary Writing and Social Studies Coordinator for Simsbury, CT. I worked in a residential school for emotionally disturbed students for several years before I had my second of four daughters and decided to stay home with my girls. When my youngest daughter went to first grade, I returned to the classroom and worked as a Special Education teacher in Simsbury until 2012, when I accepted the Coordinator position. For two years, I was lucky enough to share students with Melanie Swider; in addition to the students we share, we also share books, articles, postings, and any other sources for ideas and better teaching that we can find. I finished my Educational Leadership program in May 2012 and I am currently working on my Master's in Creative Writing. My hope is that this blog is a place for us all to develop as teachers, leaders, and learners.


  1. Hey Mel! It's me.....Kelly O'Dell. Your partner in crime at The University of Hartford. I love this Blog! I'm going to share it with the Cherry Brook teachers. I'm on FB- I tried finding you. Here is my e-mail address: kellyodell3@yahoo.com I'd love to catch up and hear how you are doing.
    Miss you

  2. Hello Melanie and Melanie, Just stumbled upon your blog while looking for Confer resources. I was so happy to find it. I am the new master technology teacher for my district and just started blogging. Your blog is a great inspiration to me. Our district is also starting with reading and writing workshop this year. I would love to share your blog with my teachers on my blog. Would that be ok? Thanks, Jeanine Gottko

    1. Hi Jeanine, of course you can share our blog with your teachers! So glad you came across our blog and find it helpful.
      Thank you!
      Melanie S.

  3. Thank you for summarizing so well your take fabulous weekend. I love learning and sharing and your website and this information will be discussed this week at my school, thank you ! xo

  4. Hi Ladies,
    Thanks for your blog. I am teaching in a classroom (4th grade) after 10 years as a consultant and I'm so grateful for blogs like yours. I'm sure you're aware of what's out there- a real mixed bag. I came for your review of the Confer app (I'm trying to figure out if I can have the same child in more than one group with this app, which is pretty essential. I'm currently stuck in giant-binder-mailing-label-random-slip-of-paper craziness). But I stayed awhile to explore other posts.
    Stephanie Parsons

    1. Hi Stephanie,
      Hope you are enjoying teaching 4th grade - I taught 4th before 5th and loved it!
      Yes, you can absolutely use the Confer app to form small groups - that is one feature about the app that I love and use all the time. You can form a small group a couple different ways. One way is by clicking on the "Group" icon on the bottom portion of the screen and click +add new group. Once you click that, you can name the group and then put a check mark in the box to the left of the student names that you want in that group. To add a note for multiple students for a partner conference or table conference, you can click on the box to the left of the student names and then click add note in the upper right corner. Whatever you type in for the note will automatically go into each individual student at once. It saves so much time! Please let me know if you have any other questions as you play around with the app and start using it. Thank you :)

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  6. I absolutely love your blog and just signed up to receive updates. Thank you for sharing your learning.

  7. I READ" each" blog that you send carefully. Many blogs I just skim. I wait until I know I can sit quietly with a cup of coffee to read the detailed thought provoking items you send. Thank you for giving me delicious points to ponder. Old dogs can learn new tricks to impact students. Thank you.

  8. Weird...Melanie Meehan was my maiden name, lol!