When Christian Bale becomes Beowulf

Here’s another way to infuse relevance into Beowulf If you extend your Beowulf unit into a mini-unit on Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, three things will happen: 1) You’ll build excitement to read an Anglo-Saxon poem so old we don’t even know exactly when it was written or by whom. 2) You’ll open students’ eyes toContinue reading “When Christian Bale becomes Beowulf”

My post-COVID Follow-Up: Creative Vocabulary Resources

Here they are: the links for “Eight Ways to Explore New Vocabulary Words” Since COVID mixed things up a bit for me personally last week, I’m mixing things up a bit this week. I’ll explain in this quick video. Links: Please leave a comment with all the questions you have! And if you’re wondering aboutContinue reading “My post-COVID Follow-Up: Creative Vocabulary Resources”

Eight ways to explore new vocabulary words

I’ve used these vocabulary strategies from Always Write for years now. “Vocabulary is about precision.” Those are the words of Sheridan Blau, author and Professor of Practice in English Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. I heard Blau speak at the Writing & Thinking Conference hosted by the Ozarks Writing Project at Missouri State UniversityContinue reading “Eight ways to explore new vocabulary words”

Headline Poetry Reimagined and Redefined

My high school students take headline poems to the next level Again this year, I chose to start the school year with headline poetry. Both my in-school students and those learning at home created headline poems with words and phrases found and clipped from with a variety of printed materials, magazines, newspapers, and even junkContinue reading “Headline Poetry Reimagined and Redefined”

Just in time for back-to-school: Three templates for Where I’m From poems

Plus photos and links to help you plan Back-to-school is the perfect time for Where I’m From poems. I’ve decided to repost this article from last May to help you add this great activity to your opening days. Where I’m From poems from the author and poet George Ella Lyons… you just can’t write enoughContinue reading “Just in time for back-to-school: Three templates for Where I’m From poems”

The New York Times announces two new writing contests

Both ask students to record their lives in the year 2020 Last Thursday, I attended a webinar titled “Giving Students a Voice: Teaching with Learning Network Contests.” It was hosted by The New York Times’ Learning Network. Teachers from around the world gathered online to get the skinny on a total of ten student writingContinue reading “The New York Times announces two new writing contests”

Six writing prompts for Article of the Week essays

Offer students more ways to respond If you’re a fan of Article of the Week (AOW) assignments and student choice, then this post is for you. Side note: If you’re unfamiliar with the AOW assignment, scroll to the bottom first for a quick explanation and here’s a link to my post about how I useContinue reading “Six writing prompts for Article of the Week essays”

Call for submissions: Frederick Douglass wants your students’ essays

Their best words and ideas are needed now This morning, I learned about an organization taking essay submissions from students around the world for possible online publication. The organization is called Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives. Founded in 2007 and based in Rochester, NY, FDFI is  dedicated to the legacy of the abolitionist Frederick Douglass andContinue reading “Call for submissions: Frederick Douglass wants your students’ essays”

Try this poem to spark rich discussions in your classroom

“The Cold Within” by James Patrick Kinney Looking for a poem to generate a rich and engaging discussion with your students? I recently came across a post in one of the Facebook Groups I belong to. As I scanned the comments on a particular post, I learned about a poem called “The Cold Within” byContinue reading “Try this poem to spark rich discussions in your classroom”