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writing

Finding Your Inner Poet

Poetry has been my lifelong friend who always shows up at the right time. My English I and II classes have just begun their Poetry Unit. I look forward to gently nudging the scholars to find the poet inside themselves.

Growing up, poetry came into my life with artists like Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, and Robert Lowell. When I was earning my undergraduate degree, I studied under Jorie Graham who later won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. I still keep a personal note to me from Jorie as a reminder of how one teacher can introduce you to a whole new way of thinking about words.

Should we teach English grammar in our schools?

Is it important to teach English grammar in our schools? Do kids need to know the difference between a noun and an adjective, or between the subject and the direct object of a sentence? Before the 1960s, educators generally believed that understanding grammar was crucial to becoming an articulate speaker and a good writer of English. But a sea change in thinking occurred in the late ’50s and early ’60s.

Doing it Write

Most students I’ve encountered in my teaching career have profound anxieties about writing. As a teacher of English, I have wondered about how to crack this problem. Over the summer, I had a transformative experience with the New York City Writing Project, a for-teachers, by-teachers organization that has writing at its center. Working with the Project caused me to question many things about my own teaching and beliefs about writing.

A Summer Challenge: Let Your Voice Ring Out: Writing a Persuasive Piece Today.

In the age of selfies and 140 character social media posts, is the art of persuasive oration dead? Can a hashtag win the 2016 election? Do we want more than a soundbite? Sure, we can state our opinion, “I like (particular candidate),” but do we remember how to provide a reason for our claim and how to back up that claim with relevant evidence?

What to Do About Plagiarism

Plagiarism is one of those things kids know of, but are not sure about. They read something on the Internet and think, “Yes, that’s exactly what I want to say. This person said it better than I ever could,” and then they don’t know what to do. I put a note on a student’s assignment that said we need to chat about plagiarism. This particular student had been having trouble with this consistently the previous year. Because I would be teaching him again, I decided that I would begin a discussion of plagiarism right away.

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