Mentor Text Wednesday: Creepy Pair of Underwear!

Today’s post comes from Amy Estersohn, a middle school English teacher in New York and a 2016 recipient of the NCTE/ALAN Gallo Grant.  She writes comic book reviews for noflyingnotights.com and blogs on books and teaching at teachingtransition.wordpress.com Mentor text: Creepy Pair of Underwear! by Aaron Reynolds and Peter Brown Writing Techniques: Elaboration Story Structure Effective […]

3 Techniques for Students Who Know What They Want to Say But Not How to Say it

Can you picture the student who has just said this in a writing conference? He smoothes the pages of his notebook to reveal countless scribbles and doodles that he has spent the past few days getting down. He has generated multiple ideas for his next writing project. He has done his homework. But he sits […]

Extreme Classroom Makeover: Student Writing Portfolios

I have been using writing portfolios to assess my students’ writing in December and June for as long as I’ve been teaching. Portfolios are wonderful for so many reasons: they invite students to compile a body of work, encourage revision, show growth over time, and so forth. But sometimes they feel a little stale, a […]

A Tour of Mentor Texts for Middle Grade and High School Boys

On weekly visits to the library with my two-year-old son I often find myself browsing the periodicals in the children’s section. From there I can spy my busy toddler as he moves from the play kitchen to the dinosaur section to the puppet show. Recently I found myself drawn to magazines geared for boys and […]

Mentor Text Wednesday: Studying Structure & Genre Mixing with Nicola Yoon

Today’s Mentor Text Wednesday post comes from Amy Estersohn, a middle school English teacher in New York.  She blogs over at teachingtransition.wordpress.com and tweets @HMX_MSE. Mentor Text: “We don’t make princesses in those colours” by Nicola Yoon in The Guardian Writing Techniques: Structure Craft Genre mixing Background: The Guardian is one of my favorite online magazines for […]

Behind the Scenes: Organizing the First Weeks, Semester, and Year…It’s Not What You Think

It’s the first faculty meeting of the year. A few teachers gather in a corner to show off their new Erin Condrin planners…and as they energetically flip through them, I can see that the first days, weeks, and months are penciled in with big ideas, writing studies, and lesson plans. Then I look down at […]