Recently in Language Arts Category

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April 23, 2012

Writing Instructor Downplays Critical Thinking

Mark Bauerlein, a professor of English at Emory University, proclaims that, starting next year, he's going to stop requiring students in his freshman composition class to write analytical papers exhibiting critical-thinking or higher-order thinking skills. Instead, he's going to have them just write...

April 20, 2012

A Whole Literacy Lesson in Your Pocket

Haven't gotten around yet to celebrating National Poetry Month in your school or classroom? Feeling kind of guilty about it, aren't you? (I'm feeling kind of guilty that we haven't mentioned it till now.) Well, you still have next week, and here's a nice opportunity: Thurs., April 26, is National Po...

February 02, 2012

Should Kids Read 'Trash' in School?

In a lively podcast, Jeffrey Wilhelm, a professor of English Education at Boise State University, discusses the preliminary research behind his forthcoming book—the wonderfully titled Let Them Read Trash: The Power of Marginalized Texts to Promote Imagination, Satisfaction, and Social Action. W...

December 14, 2011

Can English Teachers and Social-Networking Sites Get Along?

Siobhan Curious posts an e-mail from a fellow English teacher who, try as she might, is having a difficult time stomaching all the poor usage and grammer on Facebook and other social-networking sites.

November 22, 2011

Pop Culture's Place in the Classroom

This will be my last writeup on NCTE. Overall, I have to say it was an impressive conference, especially content-wise (the logistics were a bit hectic for me, but perhaps that's to be expected with about 7,000 attendees and 50 concurrent sessions during each time slot). On Friday, three high school...

November 17, 2011

Tearing Down Writing Instruction

Washington Post education writer Jay Mathews argues that writing instruction in most schools today is "academic and lifeless." Nor does he think the new common core writing standards—redolent, in his view, of "clerical work"—will help matters much. So what's a language arts teacher to do...

September 19, 2011

Has Reading Instruction Lost the 'Gist'?

In the New York Times, literary critic and Core Knowledge Foundation founder E.D. Hirsch reasserts his case that the recent drop in SAT reading scores derives not from student demographic changes but from a long-term de-intellectualization of elementary school curricula: The most credible analyses...

September 13, 2011

Test Prep in the Kitchen

Looking for a new way to help students prepare for entrance exams? Have you tried teaching them to cook? Seriously, there's even a book for it. Charis Freiman-Mendal, an enterprising freshman at Choate college prep, has just published Cook Your Way Through the SAT, a cookbook in which the recipes ...

August 05, 2011

Using iPads for Formative Assessment

Are some principals really handing out iPads to teachers without any plan for how they are to be used in the classroom? Appears so from an inquiring e-mail Bill Ferriter recently recieved from a language arts teacher friend. Always ready to lend a hand, though, Ferriter comes to the rescue with so...

July 11, 2011

Dumbing Down 'Gatsby'

Film critic Roger Ebert is fuming mad about a "retold," intermediate reader version of The Great Gatsby published by MacMillan. The book employs greatly simplified prose, comes in at less than half the length of the original, and seriously muddles the ending. For Ebert, the whole project amounts to ...

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