Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Writing Circles

It's that time of year when my students and I participate in writing circles. I do it along with my students. Here is some of my work from this year:

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Back to School Night, Take 2

Here's my new Animoto for back to school night, reflecting my new changed up curriculum for the year.

Create your own video slideshow at

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Frank Baker, who is a regular on the EC Ning, just brought my attention to this wonderful collection of documentaries:

He also has an amazing website, Using Documentaries in the Classroom, which is a great resource for teachers wanting to use documentaries.

Thank you, Frank!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Kelly Gallagher Workshop

The Kelly Gallagher writing and modeling workshop sponsored by CUWP this Saturday was, literally, amazing. I left feeling so energized!

I took copious notes, but for now I'll just leave you with a favorite story. Kelly sat by the CEO of a "big computer company" on a recent flight. The CEO mentioned that they strive to hire the best and the brightest--graduates of Harvard, MIT, etc., but they have a hard time finding candidates. Kelly asked why, and the CEO said, "Because it's really easy to find really smart people, but it's hard to find smart people who know how to think."

Wow. That kind of sums up my job in a nutshell. I (try my darnedest to) teach kids how to think! That's why I think my job is so rewarding.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Holocaust Webinar

This is going on over at the EC Ning. I haven't had time to join in, but I hope to look over the available things later this summer.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Less is More?

Fellow EC Ninger Keith Schoch recently posted an interesting blog about getting students to write more precisely--quality over quantity.

His ideas range from 6 Word Memoirs, to One Word Quickwrites, to Overheard Everywhere, and stories ranging from one to six sentences. It's a great trove of tiny treasures!!

I've tried some of these ideas, and they really do get students thinking and working. Here's his post.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Teaching Nonfiction Writing - A Practical Guide

This was the latest read for the CUWP Book group. It proved to live up to its name--practical! Although it felt like it was geared towards kids from about fourth grade through junior high, I still found a lot of things in it that I put to immediate use in the classroom. I used a genre exploration (bringing in about 40 nonfiction books, biographies, magazines, etc.) before I assigned my students to do their Chaucer presentations. Because the kids had a better idea of what I was looking for (illustrations, things that could go in a sidebar, definitions, quotes, headings, etc.) I had the best Chaucer presentations I've ever had.

This book has a great little section on leads that many of us were talking about at the book group last night. I can't wait to try it out.

I've already noticed that I am more aware of pointing out the various techniques in the nonfiction pieces that we've read recently. For example, I always have the students read "The Man in the Water" in conjunction with Beowulf and our talk about heroes. This time when we read it, I made sure that the students noticed the craft Rosenblatt uses, i.e. when he uses imagery in the first paragraph: The jets from Washington National Airport that normally swoop around the presidential monuments like famished gulls are, for the moment, emblemized by the one that fell.

Speaking of book group, we had an incredible turnout last night. We are going to need a bigger room next time.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year Goals

I was going to list my goals here, but then I saw this little gem:

Now I guess I'll just work on them in secret. Of course, they involve writing and reading--because what else is there in life?