“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 […]

Workshop Process Non-Negotiable (Part 2): Revision & Determining Importance

Last month I wrote Part 1 of this topic. It focused on the “messiness” of the writing process. Actually, it focused on the necessity of it. For it is within the messiness that student engagement and ownership over their writing increases. This post is about what comes after that messiness…what to do with all of […]

When They Get It (But Can’t Quite Say So…)

As an MTSS support coach, I’m constantly reminded that students at the losing end of the achievement gap are very rarely deficient in their ability to take an academic interest in a subject.  But when a student’s reading and writing gaps are so far behind grade level that traditional assessments bar them from demonstrating their […]

Making Research Relevant: Teaching Students to Synthesize Evidence

Every time I go to a workshop about research writing and synthesis (and I’ve been to a few since I teach both AP Language and AP Seminar), we talk about making smoothies or chocolate chip cookies or chili. In every instance–much to my disappointment– we’re not talking about eating, we’re talking about blending evidence effectively. […]

The Most Essential School Supply (Plus 3 Instructional Practices to Make the Most of It!)

It’s that time of year. Yeah, we may sometimes feel like we’re in survival mode with eager tallies marking how many Mondays are left in the school year, but as much as we might be counting down, we’re also starting to plan ahead for next year. We’re waxing reflective and submitting school supply lists to […]

“Word by Word”: Thinking About Close Reading, Revision, and NCTE

The title of Anne Lamott’s book on writing, Bird by Bird, comes from a family story that a favorite colleague of mine also liked to tell when she was helping students get started with their writing. As Lamott tells it, when her father saw her brother overwhelmed by the task of a report on birds […]