Countdown to novel writing

This November. Nanowrimo. Finally. November is National Novel Writing Month and this fall, I’m writing a first draft of my first novel in thirty days! I have always wanted to take on Nanowrimo, but the idea of writing a novel has always scared me to death. This year, however, I think I’ll approach this behemothContinue reading “Countdown to novel writing”

Five Reasons I Teach Cursive

Beyond giving students a competitive edge, here are some other impossible-to-ignore reasons. Two days ago, my post focused on this reason to teach cursive: to make sure that kids in public school are competitive with kids in private schools and around the world, where cursive writing is taught and practiced regularly. I discuss this very practicalContinue reading “Five Reasons I Teach Cursive”

Contest #7 That Works for My Students: Ozarks Writers League Youth Writing Contest

  Don’t forget to investigate any contest opportunities that may be available from a local writers group in your area. My principal received a flyer from a member of the Ozarks Writers League last fall. The flyer gave the basic details for the league’s annual youth writing contest. I’m always up for the extra motivationContinue reading “Contest #7 That Works for My Students: Ozarks Writers League Youth Writing Contest”

“Why do we have to write in cursive?”

Pure and simple: to compete.   Near the beginning of the school year, I read aloud the comment in the picture below to my middle school Language Arts students. I came upon this comment one day when I was reading this New York Times article about the death of cursive writing. The writer of thisContinue reading ““Why do we have to write in cursive?””

How I Add Cursive Writing to My Class

I don’t really teach it… I just help them practice it. I’ve heard some teachers say that they simply don’t have the time teach cursive in their 53-minute class period. Frankly, neither do I. But I can do this: open class with a five-minute cursive activity. So about three days week, I’ll go to BrainyContinue reading “How I Add Cursive Writing to My Class”

2017-18 VFW Patriot’s Pen Youth Essay Contest Results

Finally… here’s that follow-up post I promised plus the winning essay entry Photo: Pixabay Last winter, I wrote a post about a contest that my seventh-graders enter each fall: the Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. At the conclusion of that post, I wrote that I would update youContinue reading “2017-18 VFW Patriot’s Pen Youth Essay Contest Results”

Read this Gary Provost gem to teach sentence variety

You’ll see light bulbs pop on across your classroom as you read it. Photo: Gisella Fotographie on Pixabay Copy off the paragraph below from writing guru Gary Provost and read it aloud to your students at the beginning of class or as a mini-lesson. Don’t just read it aloud… make sure they follow along onContinue reading “Read this Gary Provost gem to teach sentence variety”

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.”

“I would write like a dog with hooves it was hard.”

When students reflect, three things happen.   About a week before school ended in May, I asked my sixth- and seventh-grade students to write a 300-word reflection of the progress they made in my language arts class this past year. I find this assignment very valuable, both for me and my students because it provides threeContinue reading ““I would write like a dog with hooves it was hard.””

Dear DailyMail.com: Tom Cruise has never won an Academy Award.

Your fact-checkers and my students should take note; teachers like me over 50 should take heart. This post is based on a story I recently wrote and posted on Medium.com. When I read something that I know is false, I take notice of it. This DailyMail.com article shows kids that not everything they read is trueContinue reading “Dear DailyMail.com: Tom Cruise has never won an Academy Award.”