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Reading and Writing Volume Counts

By |2018-08-12T21:55:53-04:00August 12th, 2018|How to Fix Education, Instruction & Curriculum, Instructional Strategies|

Volume is its own goal. The more we read and write, the better we read and write. That doesn't mean volume alone leads to excellence. It doesn't. But progress without volume is almost impossible. Last winter, I was privileged to attend the regional ELA teacher's conference in Missouri called Write to Learn. Two of the [...]

The Writing Gap: Why a Renaissance in Writing Instruction is Imperative

By |2017-12-09T19:58:51-05:00December 10th, 2017|Common Core, Current Events in Education, Instruction & Curriculum, Instructional Strategies, Literacy, Professional Development, Teacher Leaders|

"Appositive?” “What is an appositive?” “Is that even a word?” These were snippets of conversations overheard in a teacher’s book study at Liverpool High School, a large, suburban school north of Syracuse, NY. The assembled teachers, from a variety of disciplines including World Languages, English, Social Studies, Science, Mathematics and Special Education, comprise a group studying [...]

3 Steps to Helping Students Develop College-Ready Writing Skills

By |2017-11-28T08:44:48-05:00November 26th, 2017|Common Core, Formative Assessments, Instruction & Curriculum, Middle School, Responsive Classroom|

Teachers are forever reminding their students that what’s going on in their classrooms will be ‘important to know in high school and college’ - but how many students actually believe them? I remember one student who replied to me when I said that: “Yeah, that’s what they say every year. And it’s never really true [...]

Teaching Writing With Hyperdocs

By |2017-05-21T18:36:58-04:00May 22nd, 2017|Common Core, From the Front Lines, Going Paperless, Instruction & Curriculum, Instructional Strategies, Middle School, Technology|

If you’re looking for a new approach to teaching writing, you’ve got to try teaching with hyperdocs. What are hyperdocs? According to their creators, Lisa Highfill, Kelly Hilton and Sarah Landis, hyperdocs are “a transformative, interactive, personalized engaging too to help facilitate student creativity and collaboration” (The Hyperdoc Handbook). And I can testify that hyperdocs [...]

The Struggles of Grading Writing: It’s the Process That Matters

By |2017-05-09T22:21:32-04:00April 24th, 2017|Instruction & Curriculum|

I absolutely hate assigning a letter grade to student writing; it's depressing. Not because my students are bad writers because they aren't. It's that I hate to see all the mini-lessons, and drafting, revising, editing, conversations, and growing as writers reduced to one letter. A percentage in the grade book. As soon as that grade is [...]

Relearning and Unlearning Writing in Grades 6-12

By |2016-11-01T13:44:28-04:00September 22nd, 2016|High School, Instruction & Curriculum, Literacy|

To relearn is to "learn something again, as after having forgotten or neglected it," and after the five-seven weeks of summer break, students may have a fair amount of forgetting. That means teachers will begin each school year focused on student relearning. The German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus was a pioneer in the study of memory and learning which led to his discovery [...]

How To Do A Focused Writing Bootcamp

By |2020-04-11T23:43:10-04:00September 16th, 2016|Instruction & Curriculum, Instructional Strategies|

Using the term “boot camp” to describe a teaching experience suggests something perhaps not so pleasant—what’s the classroom equivalent of crawling through mud under barbed wire? But teaching a focused bootcamp can be a lot of fun, and it’s actually a nice break from the norm.  Students gain a great deal by an intense focus [...]

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