Discovering Language to Help Us Write

Over the last few months, I’ve been sharing different kinds of language field guide entries that help students explore words and make discoveries about language. (My first installment shared the basics of choice word field guides, the easiest and most fundamental way we explore words. My second post talked about exploring significant words in a text + in […]

Discovering Language: Field Guide Entries that Explore the Language That Means the Most

Here’s my first post in this series that will give you some background on Language Field Guides as well the foundation of choice word field guide entries. Language field guides are a place where readers + writers make discoveries about the language they explore. It’s how I approach vocabulary instruction in a way that’s meaningful, […]

Language Exploration That Changes Writers in 30 Minutes Per Week

In sixteen years of teaching, I have only had less than one handful of students who truly, thoughtfully attended to word choice. It’s gritty and granular — the work of scrutinizing each and every word, turning it over in your mind, considering every other possibility, and landing on the very best word.  Few middle or […]

What Comes After Mentor Texts? Student-Created Mentor Text Rubrics

I’ve been on a journey this fall to think about ways to move students toward increasing writing independence. We know mentor texts benefit writers of all ages. We know that isolating the moves writers make helps newer, less-experienced writers demystify the writing process and take their own work to new heights. But we also want […]

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 […]