One thing that surprised me during last spring’s testing season was the heavy use of computer-voice instructions and listening passages on our state’s Common Core-style exam, the SBAC. I hadn’t really taught listening as a specific skill set, yet my students’ scores told me that they needed help there – badly. Continue reading

Last week, Stanford researchers released a “bleak” report showing that more than 80 percent of students can’t determine the difference between real and fake news. (Alas, it seems this is something adults struggle with, as well.)

The severity of students’ lack of media literacy was shocking to the study’s authors who were “taken aback by students’ lack of preparation…Many assume that because young people are fluent in social media they are equally savvy about what they find there. Our work shows the opposite.”

What to do about this? I’m going to start by Continue reading

My school’s hallways are abuzz this week with the creepy clown ridiculousness that’s sweeping America and now, it seems, the U.K.

Continue reading

About eight years ago, I stopped giving out-of-class writing assignments and, instead, decided to have all major papers written in class. I told my students this was because I wanted to prepare them for the high-stakes timed essays of the AP, EAP, and SAT exams. This, however, was only a half-truth. My larger motivation was that I’d grown weary of the stress and lost prep periods dealing with case-after-case of plagiarism. Continue reading

`Tis the season for graduation speakers to start preparing remarks as they’ll soon populate podiums across the land, hoping to reach the hearts of our freshest graduates buried under all those layers of polyester. Continue reading

I recently caught myself being one of those annoying people who offer advice without being asked. Twice over winter break, I ran into former students who are now seniors (apparently, Target and Panera are the places to be seen around here) and, of course, I couldn’t stop myself from asking about college applications, the go-to small talk topic when you haven’t seen much of a kid since she was a freshman. Continue reading

As October comes to a close, novelists-in-the-making are sharpening their pencils (or more likely charging their laptops) in preparation for National Novel Writing Month. Each November, NaNoWriMo.org encourages writers to deliberately schedule time to ink some pages. They’re also now giving us the tools to help our students – and maybe even ourselves – take […]

Last week’s launch of the NFL season provides a timely and compelling way to excite your students about the tools of argument, beginning with this recent Instagram gem Continue reading

Maybe it’s the former journalist in me (in third grade, I knew I’d be Lois Lane when I grew up), but I’m hooked by narrative non-fiction. Tell me that a story really happened and I’m with you ‘til the very last page. So when Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken winked at me as I tore away the Christmas […]

I’m always on the prowl for engaging news stories that will give my high school English students access to high-quality writing on topics that will actually hold their interest. It’s not easy. Continue reading