At Middleweb: The Shape of Digital Argument

My latest column at Middleweb is a look at a new book by Troy Hicks and Kristen Hawley Turner, entitled Argument in the Real World: Teaching Adolescents to Read and Write Digital Texts.  In the book, Hicks and Turner seek to explore the concept of argument — and its push deeper into classrooms with the Common Core principles — through the lens of digital media being used in the lives of many students.

I posed some questions on my mind to the writers (both of whom I am loosely connected to through the National Writing Project), trying to parse out some ideas on argument in the age of technology and how teachers might tap into the ways kids write outside of school for the teaching of argument. They were generous enough to respond.

Curious? Come read what Hicks and Turner said. And join the conversation in the comments there.

Peace (no argument here),
Kevin

At Middleweb: A Plethora of Writing Ideas

I recently reviewed this new book — The Writing Strategies Book: Your Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Writers by Jennifer Serravallo – and I thought it covered a lot of ground in a fairly easy-to-use format. There are a wide range of ideas for the classroom on engaging young writers. I counted about 300 ideas in here. That’s a lot of possibilities.

I wrote in my review:

Flip through the book to find a ton of great ideas — helping students engage more with their own writing process; organizing ideas for short and longer fiction and non-fiction pieces; structuring assignments for all learners, or providing structure for student collaboration opportunities.

See what you think. Read the review over at Middleweb.

Peace (in books),
Kevin

At Middleweb: Exploring Notions of Literacies

My latest Working Draft column at Middleweb explores the notion that “we are all teachers of literacy.” But how does that work for math, science and social studies teachers? I try to explain some of the approaches that we are taking in my grade, at my school. I also reference a new book on teaching writing in the science classroom that might prove valuable.

Read How We’re Learning to Share the Work of Content Literacy at Middleweb

Peace (in words, texts, images and more),
Kevin

 

At Middleweb: What They Wrote About

I wrote about this project, including the overarching plan and the collaboration between myself and my social studies colleage, in more detail over at Middleweb.

My sixth graders finished our version of their Letters to the Next President right on Election Day. The next day, we knew who had won. Yes, we will add President Trump to the salutation and ship the letters out nearer to Inauguration Day. I hope the transition team isn’t in such disarray that the letters get lost.

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As I was going through and assessing the final version of the letters, I kept track of the topics they chose to research and write about. This was a combination research/civics/writing assignment, mirroring some of the amazing work done by older students at the Letters to the Next President site (nearly 12,000 letters from middle and high school students).

It is no surprise that the environment was a popular choice. Young writers often are worried about what is happening with Climate Change (yes, Mr. President, it is real and not a hoax) and the plight of animals in the changing world. I suppose “pollution” could have fallen under the “environment” umbrella, too, but there was enough distinction to warrant its own category for my purposes.

Again, you can read more about what we were up to at Middleweb.

Peace (in what they write),
Kevin