Working with middle school writers at our library this summer, I’ve found a few storytelling tools that are too awesome not to share. Continue reading

Years ago, a friend told me that starting a blog is like adopting a baby dinosaur. Sure, everyone wants a baby dinosaur. I mean, think of the cuteness. The trouble, of course, is that a baby dinosaur grows bigger (and bigger!) and the not-as-cute critter still needs to be fed and the poop still needs […]

I just finished grading my first batch of ninth-grade essays (farewell, summer – it was fun) and Stephen King is on my mind. No, not because the papers were a horror show, but because King’s memoir, On Writing, speaks to what my kids need.

Honors freshmen tend to overwrite. They use 12 words when three will do the job. They think dropping words like “contrapositive” into a thesis makes them sound smart. They think I won’t realize a clichéd idea wrapped in a pretty word package is still a cliché. Oh, silly freshmen, they don’t know me at all – yet. Continue reading

In a perfect world, class sizes would be capped at 12 kids. Teachers would lead two or three classes a day and ample time would be given to reflect on students’ work, tailor individualized paths of improvement, and prep exciting lessons for the next school day. Continue reading