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.
Tomorrow is the first of two days of our state testing season for ELA (reading and writing) for my sixth graders. For my latest monthly column at Middleweb, I wrote about how I try my best to navigate the season with my students without turning my classroom into “test prep central,” which I refuse to do.
My latest blog post over at Middleweb is about how the concept of “systems thinking” might lay the foundation for thinking about writing with students. It might also open the door for more technical writing.
My latest column at Middleweb is on the topic of encouraging students to be community leaders and change agents. Take a read, if you have time. I wove in activities at my school with a hangout I did with the founder of Kids Tales.
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.
My latest post for my blog at Middleweb is about watching the Trump Inauguration (yes, it was painful, but yes, I was neutral) and teaching my students to use sketch-noting or visual notetaking as they listened to the speech. (The top-left on in the collage is mine)
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.
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.
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.
Over at Middleweb, I used my last Working Draft column to pose some questions to John Spencer about his new book, written with A.J. Juliani, called LAUNCH. The book centers on design process thinking and student learning.