What Comes After Mentor Texts?Building Mentor-Text-Infused Reading Rhythms

I’ve been obsessively watching The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix, the true-ish story of Beth Harmon, American chess champion. Like everyone binging the Netflix show, I now fancy myself a minor chess expert. To work her way to higher and higher levels of chess mastery, Harmon studies past champions’ games. And then she plays past champions’ […]

What Comes After Mentor Texts? Defining Each Writer’s Signature Style

My 8th graders are just starting to embark upon their high school application journey. In terms of writing, this means short answer application questions and longer essays in admissions tests. You know the kind. The kind that lure students into giving vague, voiceless answers to questions like, “What inspires you about school?” and “Give three […]

Nature Poetry and Survival Instincts: Floating with the Vampire Squid

2020 has provided unique challenges to the effort to close the “Nature Gap”: minimal time spent enjoying outdoor play and increased time spent in front of screens has led to greater nature disconnection.  One way I’ve tried to address this gap in the virtual classroom is to use poetry writing as an entry point for […]

What Comes After Mentor Text? Class Writing Moves Glossaries

I want my students to become confident using mentor texts to guide and inspire their writing — it’s one of the most transferable skills I can give them for school and life beyond school. But, as I shared last month, I’ve been thinking a lot recently about a kind of independence that comes after that. […]