`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 […]

On the surface, Washington Irving’s piece of American folklore, “Rip Van Winkle,” has absolutely nothing to do with today’s teens. Written in 1819, it’s a story of an old guy with a shrew of a wife who takes a 20-year nap in the woods, sleeping through the entire Revolutionary War. My students aren’t old, aren’t […]

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