How to Have the “Fun”, Free-Choice Writing Workshop of Students’ Dreams

In spite of my protestations to the contrary, I want to be the fun teacher. It’s just that often my definition of fun involves annotating or revising or learning etymology and that doesn’t consistently align with students’ definition of fun. After four months of what even I deemed to be not-fun work (various iterations of […]

Brave New Words: 5 Ideas for Bringing ChatGPT into Your Writing Workshop

You can hardly get online recently without seeing an article or other hand-wringing about ChatGPT and what this means for the world. Especially the English teacher world. Thankfully, Brett Vogelsinger has done some thinking about this. Instead of fighting against it, what if we could use ChatGPT and other AI to actually benefit our writers? […]

Turn Local History into Advocacy with Three Different Writing Projects

One of my biggest challenges as a teacher is getting students to feel connected to history. To them, especially at the middle school age, history might as well be the Milky Way– kids are told that it’s real and that they are a part of it, but the scope of history often has such galactical […]

A Conversation that Nudges Students out of Embarrassment

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.