Grading class sets of an assignment can be compared to a snake swallowing a rabbit. There’s a large lump that moves slowly through the serpent’s body; the beast becomes rather sluggish until the digestive process completes itself. Unfortunately, we teachers don’t have the luxury of sunning ourselves on a rock until the sheaf of papers is gone. Our kids keep showing up, day after day. We not only have to give them new stuff to do each time they appear, they inconveniently produce lots of things along the way that require our attention. Managing not just the ...

Or, I Never Metacognition I Didn’t Like After hacking our way through Beowulf in a tenth grade class, I was panting behind my sturdy linden shield wondering what to do at The End. You know, some kind of culminating activity that says, We have done this book. God forbid, one can’t just read and move on in an English class. Where’s the grade in that? Because I’m the sort of enlightened despot who doesn’t give tests, I tend to rely on a project or a paper. In this case, I decided to experiment by assigning ...

The title of this post might be the shortest lesson plan ever written by a traditional teacher (“Test Friday,” he could add if he felt talkative). New and improved teachers, at least those familiar with the writing process, may recognize these directions as steps one and two of how to share your paper in a workshop setting. The idea is that after reading the piece out loud, an author has to step out of the way and listen to his group’s response in order to understand what is actually coming across to the reader. This is sometimes very different ...

Writer’s workshop is fundamental in my teaching. A writing teacher and colleague of mine, Vic Kryston, explains perfectly why it works so well: “Vic Kryston is the most interesting person in the room.” Nancy Atwell, author of the seminal 80s how-to In the Middle and now a brand unto herself in education circles, can fairly be called the mother of writer’s workshop, at least in terms of using it with kids in the classroom. From her I’ve borrowed a term now in wide currency in writing instruction, “writing territories,” asking my students this year to write about ...

I want to write a book that for now I’ll call, “Where Kids Work Hard.” The idea is to promote student-centered as opposed to teacher-centered teaching. But, I’m feeling a little intimidated by the whole idea and don’t quite know where to start. Dashing off a blog post in a sitting is one thing. But a sustained masterwork of utter brilliance… Just as Certifiable helped me eat the elephant of the National Board portfolio one bite at a time, I hope Eduholic can help me build this book. To that end, here’s an example of kids ...


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