Did you see the new thank-you ticker crawling across the screen at this year’s Oscars? The long list of names reminded me that whether we are actors or teachers, directors or principals, we didn’t get where we are without the help of a lot of people. I was reminded of all the people who have contributed to my own, albeit less glamorous, career in education. I was reminded that I have not become … Continue reading “I’d like to thank the Academy…” a.k.a. What do teachers need?
My students have been working on their novels for a couple weeks now, and as November 15 approaches, they know it’s time to get to 50% of their word goal. When they cross that halfway line, they choose a NaNoWriMo button to wear proudly on their hoodie: But many of us are starting to feel like we’re running out of steam. The story we were so excited … Continue reading 50% means it’s time for a box castle
Today is November 1st, which means WriMos all over the world are silencing inner editors, tackling plot bunnies, vanquishing suck dragons, building box castles, pantsing or plotting, striving for that ever elusive word goal and the bragging rights of winning as they NaNo the night away in Write-Ins with fellow WriMos. They rely on caffeine, sugary snacks (thank you, Halloween), the Dare Machine, Pep Talks, fellow WriMos (both … Continue reading Do you speak NaNoWriMo?
In anticipation of the new Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessments, which students will take online, teachers are being asked to help students prepare by giving them more time on computers. After all, if the testing environment is all online, students need to be familiar with and comfortable using basic computer commands and options, as well as keyboarding and computation. But as with any significant shift in classroom … Continue reading Student agency: voice, choice and making
The first time I introduced National Novel Writing Month (a.k.a. NaNoWriMo) to my 8th graders, I was terrified. One of my teacher friends had said, “They’ll run screaming from the classroom in tears!” Some students did later confess to a brief moment of panic (“I almost lost my lunch!”), but the end result was resoundingly the most powerful and successful writing project I have ever … Continue reading It’s beginning to look a lot like #NaNoWriMo!
If your students are feverishly writing novels as fast their little fingers can fly across the keyboards, anxious to meet their NaNoWriMo word goals by the end of November, you may be wondering how best to assess their work during this glorious month of literary abandon. Since it may be unrealistic for you to read the complete texts of their novels (I have 98 students … Continue reading Assessing your WriMos
If your students are participating in NaNoWriMo (in T – 3 days), then they are probably chomping at the bit to start writing. There’s nothing like telling students they CAN’T write until a certain date to get them begging for permission to write! If they have created their characters, crafted their conflicts and plotted their plot, then they are probably more than ready to start … Continue reading #NaNoPrep – are your WriMos ready?
We teachers of young adolescents learn early on to grab our students’ gratitude when we can: their glee over a clever assignment, their pride in a hard-earned grade, their bashful “thanks” as they hand over a holiday gift probably bought and wrapped by a parent. It’s a rare treat indeed when our students communicate their gratitude to us in writing. Even better is when a … Continue reading A pro-choices classroom
You are frustrated with the testing emphasis in education, and you really resent politicians and non-educators trying to tell teachers what to do in their classrooms. You are especially upset over the shift away from creative, artistic pursuits in the classroom as drill-and-kill math and reading replace the arts. So what can you do to make a difference? Don’t despair, my friend! The Office of … Continue reading A Novel and Most Excellent Cause
It’s Day One of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and my 8th graders wrote for a full hour in class, tap-tap-tapping away on the first chapters of their novels. They wrote in a Google Doc, which they shared with me, so when I should have been working on my own novel, I was taking peeks at theirs. Wow! Some great stuff. Here are just … Continue reading Call me NaNo…