Nancie Atwell calls theme “the chilliest mind Popsicle” of all the writing lessons that young writers need to learn, and I couldn’t agree more. (Atwell, 2015, 101) Theme is one of the toughest lessons I have had to learn to teach in both reading and writing and by the time I did, I not only […]
My students came to me from a context where conferences were the times in class when the teacher would give 1-1 feedback to them, i.e., the teacher would list a bunch of things that needed to change by the next conference. I found that they spent most of their Independent Writing Time waiting for a […]
Every year, a parent comes to me (or, more likely, their child’s advisor or an administrator) with concerns that students aren’t writing pieces that are long enough. Where are the 10-page literary essays? The 20-page research papers? They are interested in quantity. The kind of volume they think will be expected of their child in […]
As the summer waned and I prepared to start the year teaching in a new high school, I realized how uncertain I felt in the skin of my new classroom, colleagues, curriculum, and community. Quickly, I realized my opening day plans were slipping into traditional territory: Let’s make sure classroom expectations are clear from day […]
Ever since NASA began releasing images captured by the James Webb Space Telescope, I’ve become reacquainted with my child self’s way of thinking about space–how every Milky Way diorama, every glow in the dark star sticker affixed to the ceiling, every classroom poster of those dusty, celestial bodies evoked deep wonder. Part of the joy […]
Choose what’s true for you:
A) It makes complete sense to teach/focus on editing and proofreading after the craft lessons.
B) I wish my students’ writing were rid of niggling errors in basic conventions, especially the ones I have already taught.
This summer during Camp Rewrite, I had an illuminating conversation with Utah teacher John Arthur. In his sixth grade classroom, he frames everything students do as “content creation”. After all, Arthur said, this is what every kid wants to be — a content creator. An influencer. So, what would it look like if we reframed […]
This year on Moving Writers, I’ve spotlighted re-reads of some older books about writing, and not all of them by teachers. Together, we examined the writer’s inner life with the poet Ted Hughes, practiced memory writing with the book Metro: Journeys in Writing Creatively, and honed our questions for conferring with the wonderful Barry Lane. […]
This year on Moving Writers, I am dusting off some old-but-wise books on my shelf about writing, creating a tiny review, then considering how one passage from the book can inform writing instruction today, even decades after the book was first published. This month, I’ll consider After The End by Barry Lane, the original edition. […]
Placing Maggie Smith’s “Good Bones” and Craig Santos Perez’s “Good Fossil Fuels” side by side can elicit a wide-ranging classroom conversation about the ways the climate crisis is downplayed. Through describing points of convergence and divergence, students can ponder how the “recycled” aspects of Smith’s syntax and prosody appearing in Perez’s poem challenge their thinking […]