Writing to Learn

Informal Informative Writing Admit Slip Hand out 3 x 5 cards, or slips of scratch paper as students enter the classroom.  Ask students to write, anonymously, one or two sentences indicating the particular kind(s) of problem(s) they experienced while doing the recent homework assignment.  Collect, then quickly read these slips,…

Managing Grades

It's Not Too Late to Modify Grading Guidelines Four approaches to grading revolutionized my planning and grading for teaching middle, high school and college students. The first occurred after I spent a summer studying and then implementing National Writing Project strategies that include process writing and rubrics, which I customized…

Evaluating Proposed Solutions

Educators today are using blogs as a way for students to practice writing persuasive and argumentative essays based on current events.  Some middle and high school teachers are not sure how to guide their students in ways that will assure the proposed solutions backed by solid evidence.  Some students are unclear about how…

Activating Strategies for Reading

Reading: Activating Thinking Here is a chart strategies to get students thinking about new units, new books, or new readings.  Many are interactive and though they come from a site prepared for elementary school students most can be adapted for use with students of all ages.  You'll recognize many ideas that are commonly…

Career Planning

Quit Now or Stay in School? Spring term is good time to offer students the opportunity to consider why continuing their education will expand their future choices. Here's a sample Career Research Project I've used with Sophomores. Here's link to an assignment that requires similar thinking and is adaptable for eighth graders. The…

Organizing a Week of Speeches

Speaking and Listening in CCSS Consider the two sides of communication: the SPEAKER and the LISTENER as you continue to massage your assignments and scheduling. Because critical listening and useful commenting are skills of equal value to speaking well, I ask students to provide written feedback to each speaker.  To…

Engaging Starts

Introducing New Units of Study We know that getting off to a good start makes all the difference in the world.  Why not consider some of these ideas for kicking off your next unit of study or the next book you plan to teach.  With careful planning, gathering resources, and…