All Hands on Deck

Every Building Tells a Story

I like to drive by schools when I visit a new town. It’s a way I get a sense of a community. Last weekend, I visited Eastern Oregon for the first time. Our hosts own 20 acres, which they farm for alfalfa that they sell to Japan. The have chickens, goats, a large garden. They both have full-time professional jobs. In short, they are financially […]

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When a Project Gets Sidelined

The room buzzed with voices and movement. Students hovered in small groups around workstations, talking, pointing to the computer screens, gesturing. I had given what I thought was a simple assignment: find images that will bring to life a new layer of meaning in the poem you received at the start of class. It was one of the first classes of the semester in a […]

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Writer’s Notebook on Steroids

I was sitting with my notebook this morning, relishing the heft of my favorite pen. Me, the passionate digital writer and reader, the enthusiast for the transformative teaching and learning possibilities the web offers us– forget all that. This morning, it was all about the pen. Its shiny gold-colored clip. The cool, smooth barrel and the way it sat perfectly against the nubbin of my […]

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Free-sliding into NCTE

My friend and colleague, Rick Kreinbring and I have been working on our presentation for the November NCTE convention in Houston. Yes, we know we’re not typical (in this and other ways 😉 but we know how we work; we need time to think, then reel in our thoughts. In line with the theme of this year’s convention, amplifying student voice, we’ve called our presentation […]

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I Dunno. You?

Most of the time, I sit down to my blog to write about something I’ve thought a lot about and half composed in my mind. I know where I want the piece to go. But my co-conspirator colleague, Rick Kreinbring, and I have been working on our presentation for NCTE 2018— about using digital writing to give kids the chance to develop as public thinkers– […]

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If It Doesn’t Matter to You, I Won’t Care Either

Some time ago, Ken Lindblom, a professor of English Education at Stony Brook University, wrote a blog post, The Rubric Criterion that Changed Everything , about a simple move that helped him attack the never-ending pile of grading he (and all writing teachers) face. He added a single, simple criterion to his rubric for grading writing assignments: Is it interesting? Voila! The weight of grading suddenly lightened by a […]

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Writing Teachers: Think You Don’t Matter?

Think again. Because our students are not only listening, they’re living as writers, for reasons both professional and personal. Last weekend, I attended a WordPress meetup called “Bogging for Professional Development.” Dozens of people showed up at a co-working space on a Saturday afternoon t o hear a panel of young professionals talk about the ins and outs of blogging. Yes, they talked about blogging […]

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“You are not the boss of me:” Talking Back to The Technologies In Our Lives

There’s a time in the lives of young children when they toss their heads, place their hands on their hips, jut out their little chins, and announce, “You are not the boss of me.” It usually happens when a parent is trying to get out the door, or wants the toys in the living room put anywhere but in the middle of the floor before […]

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When An Hour Lasts Forever

Along the edges of the room sat five or six kids who didn’t look up the entire time, or had their hoodies so tightly cinched around their faces only their eyes showed. Another knot of kids chatted loudly as they draped themselves across seats in the back corner of the room. A table to one side held a kid I’d talked to on an earlier […]

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