July 2006 Archives

Expert Opinion

The summer institute of the Northern Virginia Writing Project draws to a close, and next week I will be the last presenter from our group of nearly thirty teachers. Being on staff this year has rekindled the transformative enthusiasm I experienced when I was a fellow here in 1997, at that time wondering if this was really the job for me after four years in the classroom. Now, after thirteen years there, both my presentation topic and my relationship to the profession have changed. The first time my project was called “Jazz Is... Writing Three Ways With Jazz.” I remember ...


Starting from scratch

When I was growing up, the goal with your records was to not scratch them. I learned how to hold the black orbs by the edges between my palms as soon as I started raiding my older brother’s Who collection. Billy Joel smiled at me from the Italian restaurant on the cover because I cleaned lint from the needle before I spun The Stranger. I might have worn a groove in Give Me Three Steps, but there was never an unwanted pop or hiss on either disc of my first double album, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Gold & Platinum. At some ...


Three Little Birds

The NVWP Summer Institute is in full swing, and in this post I want to tell you about Jessica’s presentation, create the inaugural post for the institute’s blog (I’ll post this entry there, too), and pick up again with Entry 4 by considering the institute as an “achievement.” As you may recall, the SI is a five-week intensive program for teachers of all grade levels and subject areas to study their craft and work on their own writing. We study our craft by making presentations about some aspect of the teaching of writing for an audience of ...


We Interrupt This Blog ...

(or whatever World Cup game you happen to be watching) to bring you breaking news. Okay, so it started last May, when Newsweek came out with a list of America’s 100 best high schools based on Washington Post journalist Jay Mathew’s Challenge Index. Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, where I teach and widely considered one of the best schools in the country, didn’t crack Newsweek’s list. I wrote a reply to the list which appeared in Education Week’s June 14 issue under the headline, "Ranking America’s High Schools: A Few Quibbles ...


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