Japanquiry 

A dear friend of mine surprised me with a care package recently, from someplace far away. Not really sure what to do, I decided to let my students figure it out for this week's Article of the Week. Three snack foods and a pile of printed material later, one of the students said, "This is …

Compliments Project

A good friend and mentor recently sent me an email telling me about something called the "Compliments Project." It's a community-building activity in which students sit in the "hot seat" while the rest of the class writes something positive about them on the board. Since our culture is still reeling from the recent election and …

Reflections, arguments

All of my students (8th-12th grades) have been working on argumentation this semester. Many of them hate it. I do Articles of the Week (thanks, Kelly Gallagher), and the first seven AoW's this semester required students to write an argument-based response ("just" one page). On the 8th AoW I changed the focus of their response …

Culture of Argument

In this election year, the title of this post might warn you off reading it. But no: it's actually a good thing, and students at my school are learning that "argument" means better things than mainstream culture, and some politicians, would appear to believe. As part of the National Writing Project's College-Ready Writers Program (CRWP), …

Wonderful Writing Workshop

James McMichael and Susan Davis (my father and step-mother) visited us in Cambridge this September and put on a workshop on September 7th to help students develop their poetry writing and reading skills. Students from Cambridge High School and Fruitland High School, along with their English teacher Kelly Dayley, attended the workshop. Attendees were introduced …

Used Books in Class

Mash-up are usually the blending of music from two or more sources. However a different mash-up was featured in a story by National Public Radio (NPR) where street signs in New York City were rewritten into Haiku poetry, Haiku Traffic Signs Bring Poetry To NYC Streets. This story illustrated how a mashup could be made of a very basic informational text with a strict poetic form. “Caution: Oncoming Traffic” was expanded into a poem of  of 5 syllables/7 syllable/5 syllables of “8 million swimming/The traffic rolling like waves/Watch for undertow.” In the NPR story,

“Traffic warning street signs written as haiku are appearing on poles around the five boroughs, posted by the New York City Department of Transportation. The poems and accompanying artwork were created by artist John Morse.”

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NYC’s Department of Transportation hoped the signs would catch new eyes in order to communicate important information. The…

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What The?

One of the cool things about having parents who were teachers, who are now retired, is that they're still interested in education (lifelong learners, I guess). They regularly send me things they think I might be interested in, and they're always right. I opened my email this morning and found this from my mom, who …