A little context to preface this post… I teach high school English at an international school in Abu Dhabi (in the United Arab Emirates). The curriculum in grade 9 and 10 uses the Common Core Standards, and we offer both an IB and AP stream in the upper grades. This year I teach grade 10, […]
There’s a John Lennon song that addresses an issue that teachers know all too well: “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making [lesson] plans.” Even the most responsive and differentiated approaches can fall victim to the different kinds of chaos that life throws our way (Technology, I’m talking to you). On top […]
Imagine if you will… FADE IN: EXT. HIGH SCHOOL CAMPUS – EVENING It is ‘Back to School Night’ at The American Community School of Abu Dhabi. A crowd mingles about waiting for the bell to signal the first round of 8-speed dating sessions with their child’s teachers. DISSOLVE TO: INT. HIGH SCHOOL ENGLISH CLASSROOM – […]
Image via publicdomainpictures.net Let’s face it: no matter how well we run our reading and writing workshops, there are about a hundred different points in any given class period where problems can crop up. There’s no such thing as a perfect lesson plan, and as a result, teachers have to be decision making machines on a […]
Over the years, I’ve probably revised my writing lesson plans more times than I’ve moved classrooms, and through that, I’ve come to learn that some of my best writing instruction is rooted right back where my reading instruction takes place: my classroom library.
I used to be the proud mother of this beautiful beast: He crossed the rainbow bridge a few years ago, but I’ve been thinking about him a lot lately because I have some writers who remind me of him. Before you get offended on their behalf (She’s comparing children to a dog?!), I need to […]
Writing alongside our students is one of the most important instructional moves we can make – both for our students and for ourselves.
Before I leapt into writing workshop years ago, the biggest thing holding me back was my fear of writing conferences. I was so afraid that I wouldn’t know what to say or that I couldn’t help or that a student would bring me a problem I didn’t know how to solve. Years have passed. Now, […]
Conferring with writers has always been the hardest part of workshop teaching for me. When it goes well, a writing conference is where the energy is, where the lightbulb turns on, where the writing and the writer move forward. But it takes a lot of work to train writers to have a meaningful, energizing writing […]
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 […]