Writing for Authentic Audiences #1: Class Open Mic

Click here for link to Slide Deck: Open Mic Protocol Student writers need to write for real audiences. They simply write better when it’s for someone besides the teacher. I tried to avoid this truth for many years. I have valid reasons for my denial. Having students write for authentic audiences can be challenging. First, I have to find […]

Getting Started with Reading-Writing Workshop

This year I’m experimenting with a workshop approach to reading and writing instruction. In my mind, this means three things: Student choice in what they read and what they write. Time for students to read and write in class. Authentic writing tasks—Students write for real audiences and purposes. Logistically, trying a workshop approach means I’ve had to make major shifts […]

Open Mic End-of-Year Writing Celebration

  I am a big fan of blogging, Tweeting, online discussions, and collaborative wikis. However, in the end, nothing feels more special, more like a community of writing, than having students read their work in class. Out loud. No tech required. The type of oral publication I’m endorsing is not a formal process. I don’t think […]

Teachers Are Writers Too

Sometimes if feels a little risky to write with my students. It’s hard. And messy. And sometimes the topics are a little more personal than I would normally share with students. And there are so many other things I have to do! Take attendance, talk to the kid who was absent yesterday, check my email. […]

Teaching Writing or Teaching to the Test?

Curtis Sittenfild’s confessional article “Those Who Can’t Teach” in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine made me think about what it means to teach writing. Sittenfild, author of the novel Sisterland, describes an experience she had as a volunteer tutor when she tried–unsuccessfully–to help someone pass the English section of the G.E.D. Exam. When Sittenfild moved away, […]