Here’s the 7th Grade Missouri State Winner in the 2018 DAR American History Essay Contest

Plus: How I used this contest to teach blended-genre writing Every fall, my sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-graders enter an essay in the Daughters of the American Revolution’s   American History Essay Contest. Last fall was the fourth year my students entered the local contest, which is sponsored by the Taneycomo Chapter of the DAR, Forsyth, Mo.Continue reading “Here’s the 7th Grade Missouri State Winner in the 2018 DAR American History Essay Contest”

How to forget the Holocaust

Remove it from the curriculum Are we forgetting the Holocaust? I asked myself this question recently as I perused an English Language Arts curriculum map for grades 6-8 and found that out of dozens of texts the curriculum uses over the three years, only one text addressed or had any connection to World War II: Continue reading “How to forget the Holocaust”

Writing Contest #9: NCTE’s Promising Young Writers

An any-genre writing contest just for your 8th graders Full disclosure: this is a contest I have NOT tried with my students… yet. I’m a member of NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) and for some reason, I just found out about the group’s Promising Young Writers contest a few days ago while surfingContinue reading “Writing Contest #9: NCTE’s Promising Young Writers”

Top Resources that I Use to Teach 9/11

It’s never too early to plan to “never forget.” I get it. The school year has just ended and the last thing you may want to think about right now is what you will be doing in September in your classes. However, discussing 9/11 effectively deserves forethought and preparation to match the motivation and curiosityContinue reading “Top Resources that I Use to Teach 9/11”

Paperless classroom? No thanks.

I like “the little transaction.”   I don’t have a paperless classroom and it will always be this way. I like the transaction that occurs when students actually turn things in. When students turn in assignments, they walk over to the three stacked baskets (one for each grade that I teach) that stand at theContinue reading “Paperless classroom? No thanks.”

A good thing: Weekly in-class awards

I enjoy recognizing students for their on-time, on-target writing Last year, sometime during the second quarter, I decided to start awarding students for their hard work on their weekly written homework assignments. I came up with four awards to recognize students for being on-time and for doing a good job. The awards and the skillsContinue reading “A good thing: Weekly in-class awards”

Contest #8: Cursive is Cool

It’s a cursive handwriting contest! I stumbled upon this cursive contest online a few days ago sponsored by Campaign for Cursive (C4C).  This organization is a committee of the American Handwriting Analysis Foundation (AHAF) and is an all-volunteer non-profit that began in 2012 in the Southern California chapter of the AHAF. Its goal is to “bringContinue reading “Contest #8: Cursive is Cool”

Countdown to novel writing

This November. Nanowrimo. Finally. November is National Novel Writing Month and this fall, I’m writing a first draft of my first novel in thirty days! I have always wanted to take on Nanowrimo, but the idea of writing a novel has always scared me to death. This year, however, I think I’ll approach this behemothContinue reading “Countdown to novel writing”

Five Reasons I Teach Cursive

Beyond giving students a competitive edge, here are some other impossible-to-ignore reasons. Two days ago, my post focused on this reason to teach cursive: to make sure that kids in public school are competitive with kids in private schools and around the world, where cursive writing is taught and practiced regularly. I discuss this very practicalContinue reading “Five Reasons I Teach Cursive”

Contest #7 That Works for My Students: Ozarks Writers League Youth Writing Contest

  Don’t forget to investigate any contest opportunities that may be available from a local writers group in your area. My principal received a flyer from a member of the Ozarks Writers League last fall. The flyer gave the basic details for the league’s annual youth writing contest. I’m always up for the extra motivationContinue reading “Contest #7 That Works for My Students: Ozarks Writers League Youth Writing Contest”