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Modern Day Slavery
I like to do a Modern Day Slavery Project with my English III students.  They research the...
Rebecca Scurlock's "Reflections"
Let’s make this interesting One of the things I’m trying to teach my students this semester is...
Poetry- Getting to know you
At the beginning of the school year, I want to get to know my students. I want to understand what...
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A Sense of Style

Rebecca Scurlock's "Reflections"

Let’s make this interesting One of the things I’m trying to teach my students this semester is voice and style. This was a concept that I was never introduced to until my upper-level English classes in college. Obviously, I had not nearly enough...

Poetry- Getting to know you

At the beginning of the school year, I want to get to know my students. I want to understand what events in their lives make them who they are. Usually, one activity I do with my students is to have them create a simple timeline of their lives,...
Voice is important; like any skill, it must be taught.     Recently, I had the privilege of attending the Plain Talk about Reading conference in New Orleans, LA where I had the pleasure hearing Anita Archer present on scaffolded...

Adjectives and Verbs: Grammar and Stlye

Verbs: Grammar and Style Grammar: In the absence of the almighty grammar book, most teachers have moved to using the “mini-lesson” as a means of teaching the important lessons on grammar that no one really wants to learn, but must. I have found this...

Designs for Development

"Caught" in Discussion

https://voicethread.com/share/4498476/ I use voicethreads in my classroom all the time; in fact, it’s my favorite technology tool. Voicethreads let students see multimedia content in one threaded discussion site with the opportunity to comment via...

Writing the Journey

There can be a profound experience as we come to better understand our parents.  Poems like “Those Winter Sundays” or “Papa’s Waltz” help us see how perspectives can change with experience—how understanding can become clearer.  In “Drunken...

How to Write a 'Lost Friend' Story

Growing up is hard, but losing a friend may be one of the most disillusioning experiences of growing up. To know someone, to trust someone, and then to watch someone succumb to outside forces and become unrecognizable can alter a person’s sense of...

Developing Character by Integrating Interesting Facts

I remember reading something by Ralph Fletcher (maybe it was "Keeping a Writer's Notebook") in which he talked about how he always kept a writer's notebook with him, so that he could write down interesting facts that he heard to use later in a piece...

Inspirations

Modern Day Slavery

I like to do a Modern Day Slavery Project with my English III students.  They research the topic and choose one aspect of modern-day slavery to explore in depth. In the past, they have then written an essay to share their research.  “Dear...

Memories: A Love Song for Philadelphia

My students at the Beeber Middle School in Philadelphia are collaborating with a 4th grade teacher and her students at Independence Charter School to create montage to our city entitled, Brotherly Love. Brotherly Love is a musical response to the...

Dangerous Stories in Best Teen Writing

Students at my school bring more than just a backpack full of books and pencils to class. Chicago may be deeply segregated by race and economics, but no matter whether they come from an area of high poverty, or affluence, or anything in between, my...

What It Means To Be Me

Like a moth to the fire, I have always been drawn to literature that explores issues of identity, place, and cultural background.  These stories sweep me up into the angst of the characters, their confusions, questions, and explorations of what...

Content Matters

I work in the destruction room. It’s not a tough job, all that I do is make sure people don’t destroy themselves by jumping in. Other than that, I watch the world fall into that room, look at everything that falls through the door in the ceiling and...
My students often struggle with how to begin an essay and create a strong essay structure.  In Julia Marino’s “Let’s Cancel CSI,” (TBTW, 2012, p. 188-192) this young writer is able to capture her audience right away in the first line, “I love...