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Reader Mail: How can we help students better understand what they are doing in their own writing?

After the last installment of my four-part series on reading like a writer, I received a question from Lisa in Waunakee, WI about helping students better understand what they are doing in their own writing: “How to help students explain WHY/HOW an aspect of the piece (like a description, an added scene, a certain line, […]

Mentor Text Wednesday: Five Truths and a Lie about Paxton Avenue

Mentor Text: Five Truths and a Lie about Paxton Avenue by Jose Olivarez (pdf) Techniques: Writing Memoir Using a Structure Background –  In the first paragraph of this column, I usually reference my Twitter feed. I follow a lot of poets, not only because they share their work, but the poetry community is wonderful at sharing […]

Scaffolds for Helping Students Read Like Writers, Part IV (Trying the craft in your own work!)

This whole scaffolding series has been building up to this last post. Everything we do to teach kids how to read like writers is in preparation for the last leap: trying the craft in your own work. In literature heavy classrooms, teachers may skip this step: The peak of literary analysis instruction is teaching students […]

What LEGO bricks and Writing Intervention Have in Common

“You have to learn the rules before you can break them.” This is an argument I hear frequently – usually in favor of teaching the 5 paragraph essay before more authentic genres or for memorizing parts of speech before studying craft. This year, my beat for Moving Writers reflects my role at school: intervention and […]