December 6, 2019

“You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink.” Ah, yes, this proverb is so true when it comes to teaching, hoping, praying that students will apply the taught conventions to their own writing. There have been many times I have done a quick “well check” in my head that goes something like this:

  • Have I generated curiosity around language? CHECK

  • Did I bring a healthy dose of i...

November 27, 2018

The day started unremarkably--and then something remarkable happened. I had just ended a conference with a young writer, and as I pushed myself up from the carpet, I scanned the room to take in a sea of second graders, working on their writing. Many looked in limbo. Worry rose. I had to get to all of them. All I could see were twenty-four learners with unique needs. Each one seemed to depend upon...

August 19, 2018

For years in my classroom, literacy was the “it girl” getting all the attention and beginning-of-the-year hoopla: inquiry-driven immersion weeks and pep rally launch units for both reading and writing. Eventually, word study also got its due, as we kicked off a year of exciting word collecting with a logophile’s launch. Math… just started. So serious, so blah, so… typical. It wasn’t hard to see th...


It’s summer, but you’re already planning for the year ahead. You envision last year’s students engaged in reading, or happily lost in some writing endeavor. Yet when you think back to math...the movie reel in your head gets fuzzy. This indicates a pretty serious challenge. The 50-90 minutes we devote to math often feel different from language arts time. It’s as though math time doesn’t have a set...

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