Here’s what happened when I submitted a student’s writing to a hunting magazine

    Last fall, one of my seventh-grade students wrote an “Expert Advice” article, one of ten assignments in our Writer’s Workshop project list. My students seemed to like this particular assignment. They chose a topic they were familiar with and then wrote a how-to article. “Jared” wrote an article called “Four Ways Novice HuntersContinue reading “Here’s what happened when I submitted a student’s writing to a hunting magazine”

Six Things I’ve Learned So Far from Using Instagram in My ELA Classes

#workinprogress #experiment  #askmeagaininMay I attended an ed-tech conference over the summer. One of the sessions, Social Media in the Classroom, was taught by a middle school teacher from another district in my area who admins a private Instagram account for her ELA classes. The idea intrigued me. I already knew Instagram was fun, based onContinue reading “Six Things I’ve Learned So Far from Using Instagram in My ELA Classes”

It’s hard to teach middle schoolers this: grammar rules exist to bring readers on your journey

Part 4 of 4   In my classroom, I stress that writing is so much more than just knowing a bunch of grammar and punctuation rules. Writing is really about expressing oneself, your dreams, your beliefs, your hopes, your imagination.  Writers don’t write to show off to readers that they know how to avoid vagueContinue reading “It’s hard to teach middle schoolers this: grammar rules exist to bring readers on your journey”

Contest #5: Outdoor Writers Association’s Norm Strung Writing Awards

Here’s another writing contest for you to try with your students. The Outdoor Writers Association, based in Missoula, Montana, is an organization of writers, editors, broadcasters, photographers, film makers, and other communicators who are, according to OWAA’s website, “dedicated to sharing the outdoor experience.” The organization is involved in many outreach activities, including the NormContinue reading “Contest #5: Outdoor Writers Association’s Norm Strung Writing Awards”

Contest #4 That Works for My Students: New York Times Editorial Contest

Since 2014, The New York Times has sponsored an opinion-editorial contest on its Learning Network site. Last spring, all of my seventh-graders submitted entries for their chance to win.  This contest engaged my students, especially because they knew they were writing for The New York Times. Age Range: This contest is open to students agedContinue reading “Contest #4 That Works for My Students: New York Times Editorial Contest”

Don’t Let Spellcheck Ruin the Writing

    “Mrs. Yung, why is this wrong?” Emily asks me during class, staring at her laptop screen. A wavy green line floats below a phrase, again interrupting the first draft of her slice-of-life essay. “We’ll figure it out later. Stay in the zone,” I respond, hoping she can quickly return to her mind’s creativeContinue reading “Don’t Let Spellcheck Ruin the Writing”