Teaching transitions in writing, part 2

This student-written essay illustrates transition ideas A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about how the nonfiction author James Swanson’ transitions from paragraph and from chapter to chapter in his nonfiction narrative Chasing Lincoln’s Killer. The post discussed transitions words (such as therefore, however, in contrast, nonetheless, and others) that we all know andContinue reading “Teaching transitions in writing, part 2”

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”

The rubric rub

  Do what the rubric says. And only what the rubric says. And by all means, don’t think too hard.   Last week in my high school Language Arts classes, students spent time planning memoirs that they will begin drafting this week. On Friday, a few girls who had already decided on a memory toContinue reading “The rubric rub”

“Where I’m From” Poems

My All-Time Favorite Poetry Activity   Have you heard of George Ella Lyon? She’s an American writer and teacher from Kentucky who wrote a poem several years ago called “Where I’m From.” Here’s Lyons’ poem: Where I’m From I am from clothespins,from Clorox and carbon-tetrachloride.I am from the dirt under the back porch.(Black, glistening,it tastedContinue reading ““Where I’m From” Poems”

It’s a Wrap! Three Take-Aways from Writer’s Workshop

Students turned in their final portfolios on Friday, and just like that, the semester is nearly over. On Friday, my seventh- and eighth-graders turned in their final Writer’s Workshop portfolios. In early November, students began choosing eight writing projects from a list of twelve. The list offered a range of projects ranging from poetry toContinue reading “It’s a Wrap! Three Take-Aways from Writer’s Workshop”

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.”

The Candy Memoir: A Sweet Assignment

This candy-themed essay is a great intro to the genre of memoir My second writing project with sixth-graders (after the Sometimes Poem) is memoir writing. We dip our toes into memoir writing by documenting memories that involve candy. If kids can’t think of anything or don’t really like candy, they can write about a favoriteContinue reading “The Candy Memoir: A Sweet Assignment”