I teach kids it’s okay to be rejected

Rejection proves that my students are indeed writers I teach kids it’s okay to be rejected. I teach them it’s okay to fail and That it’s good to receive a rejection letter because That’s what writers do: They get turned down. I teach kids it’s okay to be rejected. I teach them to risk itContinue reading “I teach kids it’s okay to be rejected”

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”

Graphic essays add variety and visual creativity

A fresh way to reflect on Douglass’ experience, themes and symbolism During spring 2019, I assigned graphic essays to my eighth-graders after they finished reading Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave. This incredible book, which provides Douglass’ first-hand account of the horrors and traumas of American slavery, provides a reading experienceContinue reading “Graphic essays add variety and visual creativity”

2019 Middle School Writing Conference…A Great Day!

I was finally able to take some students to this regional day of writing at MSU just for middle schoolers Last Friday, May 10, I took eight students on a field trip to the Middle School Writing Conference at Missouri State University in Springfield, Mo. The conference was hosted by Missouri State University’s Center forContinue reading “2019 Middle School Writing Conference…A Great Day!”

“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 tasted likeContinue reading ““Where I’m From” Poems”

My Attempt at a STEM-Themed Activity: Exploring Coffee Lids

This project was a long time in the making… brewing, I mean     This week, I’m posting several photos from a lesson and activity that’s been in the works for a few months, if not for a year. About a year ago, I found an article online on MentalFloss called “9 Facts about CoffeeContinue reading “My Attempt at a STEM-Themed Activity: Exploring Coffee Lids”

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”

When you finally visit a place you’ve taught your students about for years

I searched through lower Manhattan to find the Triangle Shirtwaist Co. building There’s nothing like visiting a place you’ve only read about in books. Last week during spring break, my daughter and I visited New York City primarily to visit the City College of New York, where my daughter will begin graduate school next fall.Continue reading “When you finally visit a place you’ve taught your students about for years”