Beginning Our Argumentative Writing Unit with an Inquiry Stance, Part 2: Arguments in the Wild Analysis Safari

In my last post, I shared how we began to take an inquiry stance to explore what we thought we knew about argumentative writing.  For the next part of our inquiry, I set up a gallery walk of sorts with a variety of different texts that presented an explicit or implicit argument.  We reviewed our … Continue reading Beginning Our Argumentative Writing Unit with an Inquiry Stance, Part 2: Arguments in the Wild Analysis Safari

Reading Workout with Literary Nonfiction and Memoir Book Clubs

Inspired by the always innovative Sarah Brown Wessling, I adapted an activity she shared this past December that she calls Reading Workouts for independent reading time.  I made a few modifcations to account for a shorter literacy block of time and the needs of my 8th grade learners, but here is my version that was … Continue reading Reading Workout with Literary Nonfiction and Memoir Book Clubs

Finding a Path into Poetry with Annotations, FSLL Charts, and Poetry Chats

Last week  (April 17) we began our exploration of poetry with an inquiry-oriented warm-up.  I presented students two documents: An annotated copy of "Alone" by Maya Angelou (annotations by me) A FSLL (Feelings, Story, Language, and Lines) that I had completed for "Alone" by Maya Angelou. Students could work alone or with a partner to … Continue reading Finding a Path into Poetry with Annotations, FSLL Charts, and Poetry Chats

Argumentative Writing March Madness with Post-It Note Reading, Think Tank Conversations, 11×14 Reasons and Evidence Mapping + Essay Drafting

The last five weeks have been a whirlwind here between district third quarter benchmark testing and next steps into argumentative writing, the culminating activities of the front-loading skill work we did in February (see previous blog posts, please).  I'd like to share our journey of reading, writing, and thinking with you by outlining the major … Continue reading Argumentative Writing March Madness with Post-It Note Reading, Think Tank Conversations, 11×14 Reasons and Evidence Mapping + Essay Drafting

Seeing the Big Picture with Theme: Collaborative Work + Learning Stations

In my last two posts, I wrote about some of the learning activities we did in my 8th grade Language Arts classroom to set the stage to do some collaborative work with theme.  Using the structure and materials from this "Discovering Theme" activity with learning stations as my framework, we spent roughly 4.5 days of … Continue reading Seeing the Big Picture with Theme: Collaborative Work + Learning Stations

Give Them Something To Talk About: Collaboration and Conversations with Reflection Squares

Like many of you, I am always looking for ways to engage students in conversation with each other.  After we finished reading Act II of Macbeth together last week, I wanted to give students a conversation structure to help them discuss their review questions as well as some bigger questions related to theme, what they … Continue reading Give Them Something To Talk About: Collaboration and Conversations with Reflection Squares

New: Upcoming Presentation at GCTE 2018

  After a long self-imposed hiatus from public speaking, I'm excited to be presenting a session in Athens, Georgia at the GCTE (Georgia Council of Teacher of English) in February.  Here is a preview of my session, Lift Every Voice and Sing: What Will Their Verses Be? Creating a Chorus of Student Conversations for Learning … Continue reading New: Upcoming Presentation at GCTE 2018

Using the Write-Around Structure as a Collaborative Anticipation Guide

Those of you who have followed my work in the past five years know I am a huge fan of Harvey Daniels' written conversation strategies.  Today I decided to take anticipation guide prompts/quotes and incorporate them into a write-around with my 12th ELA Honors seniors as a fun way to kick off our first day … Continue reading Using the Write-Around Structure as a Collaborative Anticipation Guide