The Favorite Place Poem

Have students create content with a poem about their favorite place Many of my students are reading poetry. On Instagram. Okay, okay… I know. But whether or not you take verse found on Instagram seriously, poetry is experiencing a resurgence in popularity… thanks to social media, where many poets, including Rupi Kaur and others, gainContinue reading “The Favorite Place Poem”

New writing contest: Book blurbs!

Whether you’re distance learning or at school, start fall with this new contest With talk of a second corona virus wave coming late summer, knowing what “school” will look like in August or September is impossible right now. However, one thing I know for sure: on the first day of school, my creative writing classContinue reading “New writing contest: Book blurbs!”

“Where I’m From” Poems: download these mentor texts written by students

Share these examples with students to help them create their poetic personal histories Where I’m From poems are one of my favorite poetry assignments, and one of the best ways to get kids invested in writing their own is to show them some examples written by other students. In case you’re unfamiliar with Where I’mContinue reading ““Where I’m From” Poems: download these mentor texts written by students”

Mini-lesson idea: Avoiding first-person point of view in academic essays

For the most part, it’s an easy fix. It’s nice when a common issue you know your students have with writing can be easily remedied. This is one of them: avoiding unintentional and unnecessary first-person point of view in academic writing. For the most part, the first-person words can simply be removed with… wait forContinue reading “Mini-lesson idea: Avoiding first-person point of view in academic essays”

Treasured Object Poems: A favorite poetry activity for all grades

In this post: Treasured Object Poems mentor texts and lesson tips Need a fun poetry activity to use with your students? One that will also hone their sensory language and revision skills? Show them how to write a short free-verse poem about an object they value. Paying tribute to a precious personal item encourages themContinue reading “Treasured Object Poems: A favorite poetry activity for all grades”

Teaching transitions in writing

Don’t teach just transition words… teach transition ideas as well. I taught this book for eight years in my middle school ELA classes. It’s such a ride! Plus, when you read it as a writer, you notice key skills the author James Swanson utilized heavily when he wrote this little gem. For me, teaching transitionsContinue reading “Teaching transitions in writing”

Mini-lesson idea: use this compelling lead sentence example as a mentor text

A lead shouldn’t ask a question, but raise one instead I discovered this awesome lead sentence in the July 8-21 issue of New York magazine. The article, “The Battle of Grace Church,” is written by Jessica Pressler, who opens her story with this doozy of a lead sentence. This sentence shows precisely how engaging aContinue reading “Mini-lesson idea: use this compelling lead sentence example as a mentor text”

Slice-of-life writing: the anti-Instagram narrative

These short narratives celebrate the ordinary and challenge high schoolers to write creatively One result of a three-month summer break? Students out of practice with writing, especially creative writing. To remedy that last week, I decided to introduce my high school students to slice-of-life writing, a fairly new genre within the world of narrative non-fiction. InContinue reading “Slice-of-life writing: the anti-Instagram narrative”

Sweet! Instagram for Your Class!

Three Reasons to Add Instagram to Your Teaching A year ago, I attended an educational technology conference hosted by Branson School District in Branson, Mo. At one session, I learned about the possibilities of opening a private Instagram account with my classes. The presenter used a private account with her own classes and encouraged the attendeesContinue reading “Sweet! Instagram for Your Class!”

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”