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.
Read Every Student is a Potential Change Agent
Peace (and change),
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),
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)
Read Watching My Students Watching the Inauguration
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),
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.
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),
My latest post at Middleweb explores the notion of reflection as a crucial part of writing experiences for our students. This post got a lot of play in different spaces, which I appreciate.
Come read Why Student Reflection Should Never Be Skipped at Middleweb
Peace (go deep),
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.
Come read John’s insightful responses, and learn more about the book.
Peace (designed and implemented),
My start-of-the-year post for my Middleweb blog — Working Draft — is about what happened when I realized that the technology platform that I use at the beginning of the school year for a few projects with my sixth graders … died and disappeared on me. I had that slight panic of now what and then realized, again, it is never about the technology.
Read More Proof It’s the Teaching, Not the Tech at Middleweb
Peace (settling in now),
I posted a book review over at Middleweb that explores the difficult terrain of assessing student digital writing. It’s an area I know I continue to struggle with. This book — edited by National Writing Project colleague Troy Hicks and featuring a number of National Writing Project educators — seeks to show a variety of paths (via protocols) to look at digital writing, mostly from the view of process of creating as opposed to evaluation of the final product.
Read my review of Assessing Students’ Digital Writing: Protocols for Looking Closely
Peace (we’re all looking),
In my latest blog post over at Middleweb, I explore the use of digital portfolios as a tool for student curation of their own writing over time. This was a pilot year for me, with my own professional digital portfolio, and my students, with a digital writing portfolio.
Read Digital Portfolios: Curation in the Age of Cacophony at Middleweb
Peace (in the think),