New writing contest: Book blurbs!

Whether you’re distance learning or at school, start fall with this new contest With talk of a second corona virus wave coming late summer, knowing what “school” will look like in August or September is impossible right now. However, one thing I know for sure: on the first day of school, my creative writing classContinue reading “New writing contest: Book blurbs!”

The Ten Percent Summary

Jazz up the typical summary assignment Ever get tired of having kids write summaries? If you’re like me, it’s easy to become tired of summary writing. However, I also know it’s a skill that students need to practice from time to time. Summary writing helps students comprehend a text, prioritize its ideas, and convey theContinue reading “The Ten Percent Summary”

Headline poetry: At a loss for words? Let the words find you

Ever feel that words don’t exist to describe summer 2020? Ever feel as if words simply don’t exist to describe the summer of 2020? Here’s an idea: search through magazines, newspapers, mail, anything, and… let the words find you. I started this headline poem last night. I’m on step 1… searching and clipping. I haveContinue reading “Headline poetry: At a loss for words? Let the words find you”

White Teacher Question: Are these race and social justice books enough?

Send me your contemporary social justice book suggestions I ordered these books for fall 2020 because I’m focusing on the power of literature to effect social change. Of course, recent events in response to the killing of Minneapolis resident George Floyd make me wonder if there are more topical books I should have ordered insteadContinue reading “White Teacher Question: Are these race and social justice books enough?”

Watch this TED Talk about coronavirus

…especially if you’re still in school Thanks for stopping by during this busy time! Chime in with how your school is dealing with the coronavirus and COVID-19. My school is still in session and no adjustments are in the works at the current time. I have been told, however, to begin planning two weeks ofContinue reading “Watch this TED Talk about coronavirus”

Dear Teachers: The Church of Scientology is one click away from your students

Be careful: the church’s Youth for Human Rights lessons are now available online.   A lot can happen in two years. Two years ago, I wrote on Medium.com about a variety of educational materials offered by Youth for Human Rights International, a Los Angeles, Calif.-based human rights advocacy group. Back then, after doing some quickContinue reading “Dear Teachers: The Church of Scientology is one click away from your students”

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”

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””

The Triangle Fire and My Students’ Human Rights Dissertations

Triangle Fire forms the first literature unit for my 8th-graders’ human rights dissertations This week I’ve been writing about the unit on the Triangle Waist Co. fire that my 8th-graders start the year with. For them, the last few weeks of seventh grade was an introduction, a sort of “paving the way” for the moreContinue reading “The Triangle Fire and My Students’ Human Rights Dissertations”

Words are things that are beautiful to picture, things that glow in the world.

Today’s post: Sixth-graders reflect on their writing Today, I’m posting some responses from a reflection assignment I gave to my sixth-graders the last week of school. I asked them to write a 300-word reflection of the progress they made in my language arts class this year. Read more about the assignment and my seventh-grade reflectionsContinue reading “Words are things that are beautiful to picture, things that glow in the world.”