Prepping for the Coronavirus break

Paper paper everywhere. Distance learning doesn’t mean high-tech for me. Yesterday at 3:35 pm, my school released until April 1st in an attempt to control the spread of the coronavirus. The night before, I was sitting at my dining room table preparing plans for students to accomplish over the break. Just because we’re not inContinue reading “Prepping for the Coronavirus break”

Try this low-stakes writing activity called “Take a line for a walk”

It’s a keeper. A couple of weeks ago, I traveled to the 2020 Write-to-Learn Conference sponsored by the Missouri State Council of the Int’. Literacy Association, The Missouri Writing Projects Network, and the Missouri Council of Teachers of English. Even though I attended only one day of the three-day conference, I’m happy with the handfulContinue reading “Try this low-stakes writing activity called “Take a line for a walk””

Use this Alphabet Brainstorming Chart

This classic organizer worked for me at the 2020 Write-to-Learn Conference I traveled to the 2020 Write-to-Learn Conference sponsored by the Missouri State Council of the Int’. Literacy Association, The Missouri Writing Projects Network, and the Missouri Council of Teachers of English. Even though I attended only one day of the three-day conference, I’m happyContinue reading “Use this Alphabet Brainstorming Chart”

Teaching students to write essays that answer the question: So what?!

Asking “So what?” makes the difference My juniors finished reading Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. Instead of taking an objective culminating exam, they will show their learning by writing a literary analysis essay. However, each student will choose the content and the focus of their essays instead of selecting a topic fromContinue reading “Teaching students to write essays that answer the question: So what?!”

Five articles to pair with The Old Man and the Sea

These articles are intended to round out the ideas presented by the novella This winter, my junior English students have just finished reading The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway and are beginning to develop their cumulative essays on the novella. To prepare for that, and to build more background knowledge about theContinue reading “Five articles to pair with The Old Man and the Sea”

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell: A nonfiction contender for 2020-21

Thinking ahead to new class sets for next year Nonfiction is definitely my thing. Yes, I love novels and short stories, but nonfiction really captivates me. And I guess it’s because I truly believe that life is stranger than fiction. As a result, I’m starting to consider which nonfiction books I’d like to requisition forContinue reading “Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell: A nonfiction contender for 2020-21”

Mentor text: Slice of life writing for high school students

Slice of life essays written by elementary students are everywhere; high school slices are harder to find. Here’s one. Last fall, near the beginning of the school year, I introduced my high school juniors and seniors to slice of life writing. Slices are short narratives that celebrate the ordinary moments in our lives that weContinue reading “Mentor text: Slice of life writing for high school students”

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”

Sometimes poetry can teach better than I can

Take word choice, for example Last December, when I read a student’s second draft of their Treasured Object poem and saw that it contained the word “get” four times, I thought Really? Get? Four times?  It surprised me because I thought I had taught not only sentence variety, but word variety as well. It’s goodContinue reading “Sometimes poetry can teach better than I can”