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Capture the Moment

Each school year, ELA teachers are tasked with covering a lot of diverse content in a relatively short amount of time. No longer just about instructing students on the foundations of reading and writing, we are also required to teach students to differentiate the conventions of fiction from nonfiction, multi-media texts from single-genre. Presentations. Collaboration. Persuasion. Revision. …

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Writing Revelations: Why Writing Wednesdays are Good for Everyone

In my school district, November is affectionately known as “No School November.” Between election day, a teacher workday, and three recognized holidays, we end up with only one full instructional week during the month. As a result, my twelfth-grade classes did not have a single “Writing Wednesday” week for the entire …

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Essay Norming for Students

Groups of students pass sample essays around their table, referring to a rubric as they work. Occasionally a debate ensues:  “This one earns the thesis point.  “No it doesn’t. They don’t actually argue anything.”  “Yes they do. Right here. See?”  “Yeah, but that’s not an argument. That’s just a summary.”  …

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Curating Collaboration

One of the favorite buzz-words in education is “collaboration.” Teacher certification programs teach future educators about the value of collaboration. Teaching interviews often inquire about an applicants’ view on collaboration. Administrators often encourage (and require) collaborative learning teams (CLTs) within departments. But for as much as we talk about collaboration, …

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Creative Writing Tasks Made Easy – Storymatic Classic & Synapsis Story Generators

Even before Writing Wednesdays, I incorporated creative writing into my Language Arts instruction. But one of the biggest challenges I faced, particularly when integrating creative writing early in the year, was getting students started. They would stare at the blank page in terror, frozen in place by their inability to …

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In Defense of Books

Like many educators, I am becoming increasingly disheartened by the growing number of calls from parents and lawmakers around the country to exclude certain books from education. Tennessee recently passed a law that makes lesson plans illegal if students “feel discomfort, guilt, or anguish.” A county in Texas made national …

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Writing Wednesdays: Why We Write

Dedicating every Wednesday to creative writing instruction takes commitment. Rearranging the schedule in order to maintain weekly writing when unexpected events chip away at instructional time takes commitment. Taking a little longer than usual to get through our literature units in order to give space to writing takes commitment. Sometimes, its easy …

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Winning Formulas

Writing Wednesdays emerged from a growing awareness that secondary ELA students were starving for creative writing opportunities and that, when well-integrated into instruction, student engagement increased dramatically. As much as we love the idea of student engagement, however, incorporating creative writing into core instruction simply because students enjoy it is …

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