In my ongoing efforts to give my students more voice and choice in our classroom, I decided last summer that I would hand over the bulletin boards to them. I wasn’t sure my students even noticed what was on our walls, and I was pretty sure that I didn’t know what they needed to see that might impact their learning. But the start of the … Continue reading Student #voice: bulletin boards and literary analysis
What’s a holiday movie without a dozen relatives (and a newcomer) crowded around a food-laden table, trying to dodge conversational land mines (or in some cases, hit them) as they settle in for a chaotic, tension-filled meal? Those annual feasts bring together so many elements that make for great scenes: people of all different ages (who have known each other forever) trying to get along; … Continue reading #NaNoWriMoTinyTip: Holiday Meals!
Most of our class time during NaNoWriMo is spent in silence (except for the tap-tap-tapping of the laptop keys), as my students need a quiet environment to focus on their writing. Many of them use earbuds to listen to music while they write, but they know that the room needs to be quiet so we all can concentrate. But we have also learned that talking … Continue reading #NaNoWriMoTinyTip: Whip it!
The first few years that my students and I wrote novels with NaNoWriMo, I neglected settings. This wasn’t intentional, but my main concern was helping my students plan enough of a plot that they would be able to keep writing for the full month. My lack of novel-writing experience caused me to miss the fact that settings make a big difference in adding more story, … Continue reading #NaNoWriMoTinyTip: Houses & Hamburgers
My students are deep in the planning stages of NaNoWriMo, which means they have crafted their main characters and plotted some main events. But we are all a bit foggy about where our stories might go. Brainstorming ideas and bouncing them off our friends only takes us so far. So today we tried something new, and my students (and I) were so excited about the … Continue reading #NaNoWriMoTinyTip: Ask & Suggest
I told my husband that he needed to come with me for an evening canoe ride. We were vacationing at our cabin, and although I was working very hard at not working, I was also working on a piece of writing that had to get done. And I needed to bounce some ideas off of him. We paddled up the lake a bit, the late … Continue reading Teach writing? Then you’d better BE writing.
So it’s kind of a funny story. Last fall I was invited to attend the Petaluma Educational Foundation’s annual fundraiser. We can never go on our own, as the ticket price alone is too rich for our blood. But last fall we were treated by amazing parent and PEF board member, Bridget Mackay. 😘 During the auction (our mouths agape at the ginormous bids), I … Continue reading Summer Deadlines
My students have participated in the Hour of Code since it launched in 2013. Regardless of the class I’m teaching (English 8, Digital Design 7/8 or Broadcast Media 7/8), we take a break from our current projects and spend a class period dipping our toes in the waters of computer coding. Thanks to a wide variety of video tutorials provided by the good folks at Code.org, … Continue reading Coding in English class? Yes! And not just an #HourOfCode, but a #MonthOfCode!
I’ve never published a novel of my own, so it’s intimidating to ask my students to write a novel under my tutelage. But since the answer to just about every question can now be found online, I decided this year to ask my students to search the web for writing advice from those most qualified to give it: published writers. Much of the wisdom they found echoes … Continue reading #NaNoWriMo: ask the experts
Greetings! I have been teaching middle school since 1988: first English Language Arts, then Digital Design Lab and Broadcast Media, and now as the K-12 Ed Tech Teacher on Special Assignment in Petaluma, California. I present workshops for teachers on technology in the classroom, project-based learning and writing; plus I work with Edutopia, PBS and KQED Learning. I love to connect with other educators, so please enjoy … Continue reading Always a learner; also a teacher.