Writing Our Way In: Exploring Drama Through A Soliloquy Study– Part One

On any day last week, a quick sweep of my three senior classes offered the same scene: gaunt, gray faces; foreheads on tables; backpacks exploding with papers; hair teased and tangled by frustrated fingers. It’s the October crunch, and my seniors are feeling the pressure of first quarter assessments, college applications, and fall SAT testing. […]

Rolling Snowballs in Summertime: Using #100DOSW18 to Encourage Deeper Writing Next School Year

Remember how Olaf, the snowman from Frozen, sings about how excited he is to experience summer after Arendelle’s deep freeze? Consider me his opposite. As summer (and summer writing!) approaches, I, ever the Wisconsin girl at heart, am thinking about snow. Seriously. I’m thinking specifically about a snowman-size snowball, the kind you make by rolling […]

Making the Most of the Final (Exam) Countdown: Climb the Reflection Ladder to Avoid the Senior Slide

I have two full weeks of classes with my seniors before their IB and AP exams begin, and after a semester of preparing students for those exams using methods I described in January, one of the biggest questions on my mind is this: how can I help students write as sensitively, authentically, wisely, and sophisticatedly […]

“Word by Word”: Thinking About Close Reading, Revision, and NCTE

The title of Anne Lamott’s book on writing, Bird by Bird, comes from a family story that a favorite colleague of mine also liked to tell when she was helping students get started with their writing. As Lamott tells it, when her father saw her brother overwhelmed by the task of a report on birds […]