The course of true love never did run smooth, and neither did my lesson plans. I’ve never understood how some teachers create a quarter calendar and stick to it down to what day the tests fall (then again, I don’t give tests either, because I prefer not to privilege my response as a reader above a student’s, but that’s another post). Fortunately, there’s email. I’ve come to rely on it more and more as a way to continue the class outside of the time we’re all together in the room. Last week, for ...


Hallelujah… Hallelujah… Nope, typing it just doesn’t have that cathedral ring. But I’m hearing it in stereo in my head right now, having just popped open an email on my computer that I waited two years to see. The big news? I got it. I am a National Board Certified Teacher. Let me say it loud: I’m an NBCT and I’m proud. Proud because I stayed with it, after getting one of the biggest kicks in the stomach I ever got in my professional life, a year ago. Not proud purely because I got the prize, ...


One advantage to having fewer students than I used to is that I can spend more time helping each one with writing (this is not a veiled pitch for independent schools—it’s an argument for small classes regardless of the type of school). I’ve tried to teach writing a lot of different ways, and it always comes down to the fact that the more high quality attention one can give a writing student at key moments, the more likely they are to write something that won’t be painful to read. One place in particular I’ve started ...


“I’m SOME-body!” So crows Steve Martin as nebbish Navin R. Johnson in a line from The Jerk when he discovers his name published in the phonebook (the plot is propelled when a killer opens his own newly delivered phonebook and plops a finger down at random on Navin’s name). Not sure why this is still kicking around in my head, but I felt a Navinesque sense of elation when I clicked on the podcast of my recent talk to teacher researchers of Annandale Terrace Elementary. In the spirit of 2.0 multitasking, pop it open for a listen ...


I’ve been invited to give the talk of my life in eighteen minutes to a group of 36 teacher researchers at Annandale Terrace Elementary School on the topic of teachers writing for publication. Serving grades PK-5, Annandale Terrace is a Title I school with 675 kids. 85% are English language learners and over 50% are eligible for free or reduced lunch. In some ways, this is the opposite school from where I teach now. So why me? It’s Josie’s fault. (Loyal readers will recall that I taught a class for George Mason a couple summers ago to ...


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