Little Boxes on the Desktop: Keeping Writing Small

I went to a pretty good conference last weekend. It made me think of the old folksong, “Little Boxes on the Hillside” (scroll down to the bonus audio). There was a lot of writing involved in sessions throughout the day, which is always a good thing. But in each session I attended where writing was involved, I got a handout with boxes on the page. […]

Read More 2 Comments

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 […]

Read More 6 Comments

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 šŸ˜‰ 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 […]

Read More 6 Comments

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– […]

Read More 5 Comments

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,Ā The Rubric Criterion that Changed Everything ,Ā about a simple move that helped him attack the never-ending pile of grading he (and all writing teachers) face.Ā He added a single, simple criterion to his rubric for grading writing assignments:Ā Is it interesting? Voila! The weight of grading suddenly lightened by a […]

Read More 2 Comments

Writing Teachers: Think You Donā€™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 […]

Read More Leave comment

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 […]

Read More 8 Comments

If A Tree Falls In The Woods, Will Robert Frost Be Surprised?

I. We promise magic, we teachers of writing. A kind of electromagnetism that will connect writer and reader; a moment when words, ideas, and intentions collide and BAM: meaning explodes. Once upon a time, we teachers asked kids to write on paper, pass it in, then we would hand it back. Then we asked kids to write for more than just the grownups. We asked […]

Read More 8 Comments

Do As I Say or As I Do? Making Blogging Matter

I’m reflecting on this thing we callĀ blogging. Why do I do it– what do I expect to get out of it? What am I writing about? Does it matter? To whom? What do I want this blog to look like– how does it represent me? (If you can think of any, please add them in the comments.) I’m thinking about this becauseĀ I’d been thinking about […]

Read More 4 Comments