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”

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”

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”

The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards: Six tips for entering your students’ work

Your students need to enter this contest! Last December, ten of my students’ entered their writing in the 2019 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Two of those students won Silver Keys and three won honorable mention awards in the Missouri Writing Region awards, a qualifying round before the national level. (Students who win Gold KeysContinue reading “The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards: Six tips for entering your students’ work”

When students don’t “follow along” in the book

“Following along” may not work for every student I’ve been reading Chasing Lincoln’s Killer by James Swanson to my seventh-graders and we just finished it on Friday. About every two chapters or so, they’ve written a response to a question I’ve posed to help them comprehend the text as well as think critically about someContinue reading “When students don’t “follow along” in the book”

My number one most effective writing assignment: Gallagher’s AOW

Nothing works better to build writing stamina. If there’s one assignment I would never give up it would be the AOW, the Article of the Week. Gotta have it. Gotta do it. I can’t imagine teaching without it. You may have heard of AOWs. They’re pretty well-known among English teachers. They were developed by KellyContinue reading “My number one most effective writing assignment: Gallagher’s AOW”

How not to feel guilty about showing videos before a break

Plus: the movies we watched the final two days before Christmas break Every teacher knows the feeling. You’re in the final week of school before Christmas break. There’s no point in starting something new, and often, you’re finishing up a project or unit and you need a couple of extra days for the late workContinue reading “How not to feel guilty about showing videos before a break”

How I actually accomplished something in my classes the week before Christmas break

Students presented their writing contest entries for an end-of-semester critique   The last week before Christmas break was super productive. Oh, don’t get me wrong… we still watched videos late in the week, but we ACCOMPLISHED SO MUCH early in the week with our contest entry presentations that my self-inflicted and totally undeserved teacher guiltContinue reading “How I actually accomplished something in my classes the week before Christmas break”

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”