If you’ve ever taught a bunch of self-conscious middle schoolers, you know that adolescents are perpetually embarrassed about anything and everything. You also know that they don’t just “get over it” when they realize that embarrassment is an impediment to their learning. In that state of biological and emotional upheaval, the rational voice (even when it exists) is drowned in the fear of embarrassment.
This is a follow-up conversation with Matt Foss, the IB Language and Literature teacher from the American Community School of Abu Dhabi. I spoke with Matt in a previous post where he focused on three main topics: (1) writing beside his students, (2) how remote learning has shifted how he confers, and (3) his goal […]
As I endeavored to practice what I learned, I found that conferences with a few of my students were more difficult than the most difficult examples in the books. I was stumped by blank stares and students who said, “I don’t understand what you’re saying,” or “Ok, but what should I do now?”
I want to take the reigns of my classroom narrative by showing anyone who visits what successful learning looks like in my classroom and what they can do to positively interact with the learning that’s happening. Essentially, I am communicating my expectations for me, my students, and I am communicating my expectations for them as a […]
Have you read Donald Murray? In my career, I had read a lot about Donald Murray. Tons that was inspired by Donald Murray. Oodles that has flowed out of the legacy of Donald Murray, but I’m ashamed to say that until the last month, I had never read the man himself. Until Penny Kittle told […]
Writing conferences used to scare me. Big time. In fact, for me, it was the most-dreaded element of reading and writing workshop. How would I even start? What would I say if the student had a question I couldn’t easily answer? Would the other students really be working while I moved around the room discussing […]
The first twenty minutes of the pilot episode of The Walking Dead is virtually silent. I hadn’t remembered that when, out of desperation and end-of-October exhaustion, I agreed to show the episode to my ninth graders on Halloween. They begged. I was weak. In a lame effort to sound educational, I grasped wildly for one of our recent mini-lessons. […]