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 […]

Behind the Scenes: A Moving Writers Series for a New School Year

  Every August, when I enter my classroom for the first time I begin in the same way: I open all my cabinets, desk drawers, and shelves, and dump everything out into the middle of the room. Then I begin sorting. I organize, toss, refile, reshelve, donate, upcycle, recycle, declutter, reclutter, etc. You get the […]

Best of the 2016-2017 School Year: 3 Reasons Literary Analysis Must Be Authentic

There is a a common thread that runs through many of our most-popular posts from the 2016-2017 school year: authentic analysis.  We are all hungry for something more. For something more than poorly-crafted already-been-said-before five-paragraph essays about the same old topics. And if your and your students’ disdain for reading and writing these kinds of […]

Best of the 2016-2017 School Year: Structure as Mentor Text: How Can We Organize Ideas Beyond the 5-Paragraph Essay?

It speaks volumes that three of our top ten posts in the 2016-17 school year explore the issue of abandoning the 5-paragraph essay in favor of structures that are more organic and authentic and favorable to our young writers. We have Tricia to thank for sharing all of her thinking around this issue. In today’s […]