December 11, 2019

Conventions aren’t icing and confetti sprinkles we apply to a piece of writing as a final flourish. Conventions are baked into the cake! I learned this truth the hard way, of course, as a new teacher. My fall from innocence to experience story goes like this: It was early in my career and I moved into my new classroom to find that I had no wall place to put my beloved “linear writing process” char...

October 8, 2019

People (and even some animals!) have used the stars as a navigation tool since prehistoric times. Likewise, in the modern world of education, with complex networks of mandates, standards, and curriculum, educators still know the wisdom of being guided by the stars—students— and using students’ strengths and interests (in conjunction with standards and district curriculum) to navigate each year of...

February 28, 2019

(Pixabay: Mabel Amber)

In my last blog (here) I shared my own slightly scandalous journey of being a young teacher trying to find meaningful methods for teaching the language standards in ways that stoked student transfer. Now, let’s take a journey together, and invite students along. Here are two easy routes that help learners get out of landlocked, passive stances about word learning and into sai...

December 18, 2018

When I was first hired as a teacher, I excitedly walked into my classroom to find… the “goods” had been pillaged. There was a teacher’s desk with drawers askew, mismatched student desks, and a wall of faded, bulletin board paper covered with last-week-of-school graffiti. I wandered around, opening closets and drawers, discovering again and again that they were empty. But, there was one shelf with...

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