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 […]

Mentor Text Wednesday: Ambiguity Over the Confederate Flag

Mentor Text: Ambiguity Over the Confederate Flag by Frank X. Walker Techniques: Poetic form Editing and Revision Critical Thinking Background – Originally, I didn’t save the mentor text I’m sharing today because of its mentor text potential. Knowing I was going to be pursuing anti-racist work in my teaching this year, I saved this amazing […]

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. […]

Getting some perspective: Choice and Authenticity in the Learning Process

When I think of increasing student choice and voice this leads me to think about increasing student motivation and happiness. And when these ideas coalesce I can’t help but think of Malcolm Gladwell’s Ted Talk (I realize this is a strange connection to make, but hear me out). Gladwell discusses how Prego, back in the ’70s, took over […]