I started a new book the other day, and as I settled into it, it felt like I was returning to an old friend even though I’d never read it before. At first, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but as I kept reading, I realized that it felt very much like another […]
Mini-Mentors for Fixing Run-Ons and Comma Splices
In almost two decades (!!!) of teaching, I’ve taught every grade 7-12. And whether I’m teaching 12-year olds or 19-year olds, run-ons and comma splices abound. I’m not going to spend time here theorizing about why this is true. I suspect that if I interviewed my high school English teachers, they’d say it was prevalent […]
A Systematic, Realistic, No-Worksheet Approach to Teaching Articles (a, an, the) to ELLs
This ready-to-use mini grammar unit aims to provide a framework for the student to systematically learn and use articles in their spoken and written English. Slides included.
Redefining Productivity for ELLs in the Writing Workshop
I kept trying to get better at giving students more independent writing time and ensure I conferred with every student every day. Yet, my ELLs continued to struggle in both their language proficiency and productivity. They wrote the least number of pieces every year.
Write Where You Are: How Writing Helps Us Process Life
Things are a little stressful in Texas, where I live. We just survived a snow-pocalypse the likes we’ve not seen in a century. Many of us had power outages, no internet, no water, or busted pipes, and this was just during the week of SNOVID! That doesn’t include all of the trials of the aftermath. […]
Considerations for Teaching Conventions to ELLs
Teaching conventions seems to be the most straightforward part of teaching English. Learning conventions, though, doesn’t come easy, especially to ELLs.
Designing With Grammar
Teaching grammar is my instructional nemesis. I’m sure I am not alone in feeling this way. For nearly twenty years now, I have worked at teaching grammar in the context of writing, without skill-and-drill worksheets, and every year I tweak my approach, often some variation of Harry Noden’s creative Image Grammar approach. But it’s still […]
To Teach Writing Sin Miedo: Rethinking how we create fear or courage for our writers
ESSENTIAL QUESTION: How do we provide students with the opportunities and space to write “sin miedo”? ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: What does it mean to write without fear? Where does fear come from in the context of writing in the classroom? What kinds of classroom traumas create or worsen this fear? How do we help […]
Two Microchanges to Make All the Difference
Things are crazy right now, to say the least. When I started my instructional coaching job, I made a vision and a mission statement that I hung up above my desk. I refer to it more often than I care to admit as I often let my agenda, my feelings, and what I think is […]
“The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle” (and How to Help Your Writers Deliver it with Assessment Reviews)
I came across one of those well-intended but ultimately wrong-minded tweets today while scrolling through Twitter. It offered advice for “ELA teachers” from someone who isn’t one. It suggested encouraging students to try out a new Microsoft Word feature that will basically auto-suggest (or replace, if I interpreted the gif correctly) segments of student writing […]