How to cure the “I don’t have anything to write about” blues

Students having trouble choosing a memory for a memoir? Have them make a map. A few weeks ago, my junior and senior students wrote memoirs… creative personal narratives about an important memory that taught them an important truth about life, growing up, or the world in general. In the past I’ve always passed out anContinue reading “How to cure the “I don’t have anything to write about” blues”

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”

How to teach students what “be specific” means

It’s about naming things Be specific! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written that on my students’ essays, poems, and narratives. They know the importance of adding relevant details and crystal clear descriptions to their writing. We talk about it all the time, after all. In fact, “add more detail” and “be moreContinue reading “How to teach students what “be specific” means”

Outlines have a time and place; a personal essay isn’t one of them.

One of my students is learning that “Discovery is the thing.” Last week, I wrote about Writer’s Workshop and how I am really enjoying it this fall in my middle school language arts classes. I have a few books that I pull ideas from to use for mini-lessons before the kids transition to working onContinue reading “Outlines have a time and place; a personal essay isn’t one of them.”