NaNoWriMo Nostalgia: NaNoWriMo, my students, and my historical nonfiction project thingy

You gotta start somewhere. Note: I published this post about a year ago when I first attempted an after-school NaNoWriMo program. This year, I have recently moved and am now teaching high school. I hope to eventually host a similar after-school NaNoWriMo program in my new district, but for now, I’ll just look back fondlyContinue reading “NaNoWriMo Nostalgia: NaNoWriMo, my students, and my historical nonfiction project thingy”

My attempt at teaching kids how to add narration into their dialogue

Here’s a mini-lesson I created a few months ago Kids love to write dialogue, but it often ends up being just a series of spoken words… a lengthy showcase of spoken words followed by any one of the following: he said, she said, he replied, she stated. This year, in my AOW and EOW assignments,Continue reading “My attempt at teaching kids how to add narration into their dialogue”

Instantly elevate your students’ writing: teach them to write cumulative sentences

Thanks to the National Writing Project’s Sherry Swain, I had a great lesson to use as a resource A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about a workshop I had attended at the Write to Learn Conference in late February at Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri. I had attended Sherry Swain‘s workshop on teachingContinue reading “Instantly elevate your students’ writing: teach them to write cumulative sentences”

My students confuse the words “although” and “however” and I’m not sure why

So, as a teacher, how do I figure this one out? Lately, I’ve noticed a pattern in my students’ writing. The pattern I’m noticing may reveal some confusion that my students have regarding  the words “although” and “however.” It seems that some students will use “although” correctly in a guided writing prompt, but then inContinue reading “My students confuse the words “although” and “however” and I’m not sure why”

To the parent who told my student she’d never be a writer

Thanks but no thanks for the motherly advice. Yes, a student informed me about a month ago that her mother told her she wouldn’t ever be a writer. “Say that again?” I asked when I overheard Claire report to a friend what her mother had said the previous evening as she revised a narrative essay.Continue reading “To the parent who told my student she’d never be a writer”

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”

Use this totally free source for movie and TV transcripts

Every so often, this website comes in really handy. Ever need to know exactly what a character said in a movie? Ever want to show your students how dialogue is done for film? I recently found a free —I repeat, FREE—source for any and every movie transcript. At the time, my class had just finishedContinue reading “Use this totally free source for movie and TV transcripts”

NaNoWriMo, my students, and my historical nonfiction project thingy

You gotta start somewhere.   I’m finally doing NaNoWriMo with my students. Well, sort of. All during November, about fifteen students ranging from fifth- through eighth-grade arrive in my room after school and write for forty-five minutes. I only know a little about what they’re writing. That’s because I’m busy working, too, on my ownContinue reading “NaNoWriMo, my students, and my historical nonfiction project thingy”

My one and only complaint with the Missouri Learning Standards

They just seem a little vague. Last week, one of my students came across the term “hyperbole” on a vocabulary assignment. “What does hyperbole mean?” he asked. Wow, I thought. Five years ago, my students knew that term. Why? Because I taught it to them, along with other common figurative language techniques. Why? Because they wereContinue reading “My one and only complaint with the Missouri Learning Standards”

Contest #12: Fleet Reserve Association’s Americanism Essay Contest

Here’s a new contest you may want to check out. A former student told me about this contest, which I don’t have any experience with. It’s one I’m totally new to, but thought I would add it to my blog’s contest list anyway. It might be something I can invite or encourage a few studentsContinue reading “Contest #12: Fleet Reserve Association’s Americanism Essay Contest”