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”

NCTE’s Promising Young Writer’s 2019 Contest Prompt has been released

A writing contest just for 8th-graders! The long-awaited 2019 prompt for NCTE’s Promising Young Writer’s contest has been released. This year, NCTE invites students to write about instances in their lives when they “made a conscious choice to welcome or show hospitality to an experience, feeling, or person.” Click this link for more information. This contest’s purposeContinue reading “NCTE’s Promising Young Writer’s 2019 Contest Prompt has been released”

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.”

Here’s what Writer’s Workshop looks like in my middle school classroom

I’m so glad I didn’t give up on what is now one of my favorite activities Since I began teaching seven years ago, I’ve learned that sometimes it may be necessary to try a new technique, a new curriculum unit, or simply a new idea more than once in order to fairly assess its effectiveness.Continue reading “Here’s what Writer’s Workshop looks like in my middle school classroom”

NaNoWriMo, my students, and my historical nonfiction project thingy

You gotta start somewhere.   I’m finally doing NaNoWriMo with my students. Well, sort of. All during November, about fifteen students ranging from fifth- through eighth-grade arrive in my room after school and write for forty-five minutes. I only know a little about what they’re writing. That’s because I’m busy working, too, on my ownContinue reading “NaNoWriMo, my students, and my historical nonfiction project thingy”

My one and only complaint with the Missouri Learning Standards

They just seem a little vague. Last week, one of my students came across the term “hyperbole” on a vocabulary assignment. “What does hyperbole mean?” he asked. Wow, I thought. Five years ago, my students knew that term. Why? Because I taught it to them, along with other common figurative language techniques. Why? Because they wereContinue reading “My one and only complaint with the Missouri Learning Standards”

A Poetry Project that Draws Connections Between the Fires at Triangle Waist Co. and World Trade Center

The Essential Questions: How can history inform public policy? How do people prevent past tragedies from reoccurring?   Based on those essential questions (developed with help from our school’s art teacher, Joan Edgmon, by the way), I’m sure that some may think I’ve forgotten that I teach Language Arts. They may even wonder if I’mContinue reading “A Poetry Project that Draws Connections Between the Fires at Triangle Waist Co. and World Trade Center”

His Google Doc will “disappear”

There’s a long list of middle school distractions to get through before Eric’s story will be finished. Don’t buy a house in Oklahoma. That was the first line of an essay resting on the screen of a laptop checked out to Eric, a seventh-grader in my middle school language arts classes. It stopped me inContinue reading “His Google Doc will “disappear””

When sixth-graders are asked to “Confirm Their Humanity”

Are there really robots out there writing poetry?   It seemed like a crazy request last week when my students were uploading their poems to a publisher of youth poetry. After writing poems about their favorite places… in a comfy chair in their bedroom, on a sturdy branch in an oak tree in their backyard,Continue reading “When sixth-graders are asked to “Confirm Their Humanity””

The One-Word Summary

It’s one of the most specific and structured assignments my students do. One of my favorite activities to do in my language arts classes is to assign one-word summaries. These quick assignments are an easy way to encourage kids to think deeply about a text, including its theme or gist. I assign one-word summaries forContinue reading “The One-Word Summary”