For many years of teaching, I would follow the same formula over and over throughout the year with my classes: teach a unit, finish unit, assign paper on that unit. Writing happened, but it was the thing that we did after we did the other stuff. What this means is that writing mostly happened at home, [...]
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I have taught the most driven, elite-college bound students, and I have taught students who barely squeaked through their graduation requirements. I have taught students for whom English was their favorite class of the day, and I have taught students who let out a big sigh every day when they walked through the door. I [...]
Spring Break is the long awaited oasis, the reason we survive as teachers from Christmas Break until summer. But if your district is like mine, Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) are due by the end of the year. We like to call this IEP Season. Unlike flu season, this part of the job cannot be avoided [...]
The Best Persuasive Argument of 2015 was not presented in the form of the standard five paragraph essay. Instead, the best persuasive argument made this year featured 1000 musicians playing the song “Learn to Fly" in a field in order to persuade the rock band Foo Fighters to play a concert in a small town in Italy. The entire project was [...]
The SAT and ACT are taken, scores received. The transcripts bundled with a plethora of application pages. The FAFSA and other financial information finally finished after hours of telephone calls, online services, old receipts and bank statements gathered. Yes, one of the most exciting and stressful elements of senior year is the college application [...]
Summer Learning Loss is the bane of every teacher's existence. We work tirelessly to teach students reading and writing strategies, grammar concepts, vocabulary building techniques, critical thinking skills, and more and it seems that by September they have forgotten what Venn Diagram is and how to find a noun. I know I do endless work [...]
Who wants to rewrite curriculum this summer? (Anyone? Anyone?…..) Let’s be honest. Writing or rewriting curriculum is a ongoing process that, while necessary, is not always seen as the most positive experience. Moreover, the suggestion of spending summer days writing curriculum (paid or unpaid) may trigger range of emotions, some strangely akin to the model offered by Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book, On [...]
Have you ever been frustrated between grading pieces of writing that were good (had all the "bones," all the structures, all the requirements), and grading really great, well-written, interesting pieces of writing? Both had all the meat, but only one had real substance. As an English Language Arts teacher, the question has been raised in my mind numerous times, [...]
Teaching writing can be difficult, even for English teachers. Many of us set our focus on whatever test our state mandates, which causes us to neglect writing instruction for fear of “wasting” time. If our state includes a writing assessment, we will ignore cultivating a love for writing in favor of a more clinical approach. [...]
“Snow Fall” by John Branch The blizzard raging outside recalls the looping GIF of drifting snow that opens the 2013 Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times feature story, “Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek.” As a model text, this example of digital writing is the kind of writing that we should [...]