Use this Alphabet Brainstorming Chart

This classic organizer worked for me at the 2020 Write-to-Learn Conference I traveled to the 2020 Write-to-Learn Conference sponsored by the Missouri State Council of the Int’. Literacy Association, The Missouri Writing Projects Network, and the Missouri Council of Teachers of English. Even though I attended only one day of the three-day conference, I’m happyContinue reading “Use this Alphabet Brainstorming Chart”

Friday Eve Photo: Protocol Peer Review Groups for High School Students

Thanks for reading! Have a great weekend and feel free to leave a comment about how your students peer review in your classroom or about your experience with this particular method, PPRG. Here’s a link to another recent post: My Article of the Week Rubric.

Mentor text: Slice of life writing for high school students

Slice of life essays written by elementary students are everywhere; high school slices are harder to find. Here’s one. Last fall, near the beginning of the school year, I introduced my high school juniors and seniors to slice of life writing. Slices are short narratives that celebrate the ordinary moments in our lives that weContinue reading “Mentor text: Slice of life writing for high school students”

New Year, New Units: Beowulf and The Old Man and the Sea

Lots of planning comin’ up! Now that the new year has started, I thought I would write a short post about the units I’m starting with my juniors and seniors next week. My junior classes will begin Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea on Wednesday  and my senior classes will start Beowulf onContinue reading “New Year, New Units: Beowulf and The Old Man and the Sea”

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”

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”

Four-day weeks are the worst… said no teacher ever

What a four-day school week means to me Last summer, my husband and I moved to a new city. Since we had learned about our upcoming move way back in January, I began searching for a new position about a month later. The local school district in our new hometown didn’t have any positions available.Continue reading “Four-day weeks are the worst… said no teacher ever”

Ditch the Dictionary

I’m trying these four short vocabulary bell-work tasks to help kids better learn new words I recently signed up to receive weekly email updates from the Sadlier School. As part of the email, I receive a free “Power Word of the Week” email from the Vocab Gal’s blog. I’ve been using these “slides” in myContinue reading “Ditch the Dictionary”

Mini-lesson idea: use this compelling lead sentence example as a mentor text

A lead shouldn’t ask a question, but raise one instead I discovered this awesome lead sentence in the July 8-21 issue of New York magazine. The article, “The Battle of Grace Church,” is written by Jessica Pressler, who opens her story with this doozy of a lead sentence. This sentence shows precisely how engaging aContinue reading “Mini-lesson idea: use this compelling lead sentence example as a mentor text”

My top three movies for the last week of school that will let you keep your teaching integrity

Walter Mitty starring Ben Stiller Rated PG; 114 minutes long; Reason to watch: To see a movie that advocates living life to the fullest; Bonus: Great for graduating students. In fact, I show this to my graduating 8th-graders as they transition to highs school. Sully: Miracle on the Hudson starring Tom Hanks Rated PG-13 forContinue reading “My top three movies for the last week of school that will let you keep your teaching integrity”