I’m very happy that my idea of creating Embarrassment Free Zones resonated with many teachers and students. My goal in this post is to establish that there are situations when Free Zones won’t work. Yes, that’s right.
Graphic Novel Writing: A Breather Unit
A few posts ago, I wrote about what Beth Rimer calls “Breather Units.” A Breather Unit is a 2-3 week mini-unit in which a teacher engages in something lighter–or perhaps does a bit of review–after a deep and intense unit of study. Inspired by a Graphic Novel Writing unit Rebekah posted to the Moving Writers […]
A Conversation that Nudges Students out of Embarrassment
If you’ve ever taught a bunch of self-conscious middle schoolers, you know that adolescents are perpetually embarrassed about anything and everything. You also know that they don’t just “get over it” when they realize that embarrassment is an impediment to their learning. In that state of biological and emotional upheaval, the rational voice (even when it exists) is drowned in the fear of embarrassment.
Genius Hour, but for Writers
Breather Routines and the Misdiagnosis of Writing Stamina I produce a podcast called Write Answers, and about a month ago, Beth Rimer (co-director of the Ohio Writing Project) and I recorded an interview in which she talked about a between-unit-plans break that she called “Breather Routines.” A Breather Routine can be a 1-3 week series […]
Stigma in the Writing Workshop
On being asked if they would risk being stigmatized so that they move forward in their learning, the majority of the students said, “Yes, I would.” How many times in the last week/month had they taken such a risk? “Almost never,” they admitted. Even though students may be consciously aware that they must put their learning over their fear of stigma, very few are able to do it at the moment it matters. Isolation and ridicule are scary, especially during the teen years when the need to belong is paramount.
Some case studies of student writers midway through a school year of conferring about writing
First Year Teacher Support: The Power of Talk￼
When I decided to write a blog for new teachers, I should have begun with this piece of advice. What I’m going to share with you is nothing new or nuanced. I’m sure other teachers (myself included) have already said this 1,000 times on this blog. There are whole books on this topic that dive […]
Inquiry Lab: Anchor Charts that Help Students Go Further
Welcome back to the Inquiry Lab! In my last post, I shared ways I teach and coach students to nudge each other toward deeper learning. Today, we’ll get into ways the teacher can leverage a workshop approach to similar effect, especially when it comes to inquiry work. It all begins with effective anchor charts. To […]
Digital Notebooks, Remixes and Infographics: The Stealth Writing Workshop
A few weeks ago I outlined my peculiar teacher headspace this year as I face the challenge of teaching AP Lang after years of working to perfect English 11, a course I helped design from the ground up and continue to approach eagerly every day. In that post I outlined my major goal for the […]
Inquiry Lab: Teaching Students to Nudge Each Other Toward Deep Learning
Welcome to the Inquiry Lab! In this series, we’re thinking through how we can use the workshop model to teach inquiry work, in any subject (writing included, of course). For the last year or so, I’ve been rethinking the way we teach into group work and partner collaborations. To that end, here at Moving Writer’s, […]