Story Setting and Writing Calls to Action

Image via Davide Restivo on http://commons.wikimedia.org While designing a short story unit for my AP English literature students this past August, I was eager to identify stories that acknowledged the environmental challenges that we are currently facing.  I’ve always had faith in literature’s ability to help us enter into an imaginative awareness of what others […]

Behind the Scenes: Organizing the First Weeks, Semester, and Year…It’s Not What You Think

It’s the first faculty meeting of the year. A few teachers gather in a corner to show off their new Erin Condrin planners…and as they energetically flip through them, I can see that the first days, weeks, and months are penciled in with big ideas, writing studies, and lesson plans. Then I look down at […]

Behind the Scenes: A Moving Writers Series for a New School Year

  Every August, when I enter my classroom for the first time I begin in the same way: I open all my cabinets, desk drawers, and shelves, and dump everything out into the middle of the room. Then I begin sorting. I organize, toss, refile, reshelve, donate, upcycle, recycle, declutter, reclutter, etc. You get the […]

Teaching High Schoolers How to Read Like Writers with Cynthia Rylant’s When I Was Young in the Mountains

Fact: high schoolers love storytime. They love sitting cross-legged on a patch of carpet as the teacher reads a story from a chair, fanning open the pages of the book. When I told them we were having storytime, my ninth graders appeared confused at first, exchanging dubious glances around the room. “Like in elementary school […]

New Year’s (Writing Workshop) Resolutions (or, Why Didn’t I Do This in August???)

Midterms are over, and we have reached the point of the year where, inevitably, I second guess every decision I have made so far and long for a do-over. And while this year hasn’t been without its victories, I still wonder, What ever happened to that uber-planned-perfectly-balanced class I dreamed of while I sat by […]