I love a lot of things about books, obviously. But one thing I especially love is the way a novel can provide an accessible, relatively safe entry point into a difficult topic. This year, I added Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely’s acclaimed novel All American Boys to the eighth grade English curriculum at my school. … Continue reading Teaching All American Boys: Resources for Addressing Sensitive Topics and Engaging Students
The seventh grade English curriculum at my school includes a lot of historical novels, and when I teach seventh grade English, I talk about how historical fiction falls somewhere along a spectrum that ranges from almost fully rooted in historical fact to almost fully fictional. One book that falls on the mostly-rooted-in-fact end is Melanie … Continue reading The Realism Spectrum
This past week, a service day and some standardized test taking interrupted our regular school schedule, so I didn’t get to teach my normal classes for a couple of days. When the schedule got back to normal, I wasn’t at all surprised by the question that many of my students asked: “Are we doing read … Continue reading Read Alouds: Fall 2015
Now that school is about to start up again, I’m reflecting on the author events we did last year and what I learned from new things we tried. We had some exciting virtual and in-person visits, and my main takeaways from our events may be helpful for others, too, so here’s what I came up with. Preparing and … Continue reading Takeaways from Last Year’s Author Events
At the end of lunch a couple of weeks ago, a group of seventh grade students called me over to their table to tell me that they’d been talking about our read-aloud novel, Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead, which will come out this August, and they had a suggestion. On double period days, we should … Continue reading Relating to a book vs. liking it: A(nother) case against “girl books” and “boy books”
Back in the summer of 2010, I was just starting my MFA at Vermont College of Fine Arts, and Robin Herrera was graduating. At Robin’s graduate reading, she read a funny, poignant excerpt from a novel about a girl named Star Mackie, and I was hooked. I couldn’t wait to read more about Star, so I … Continue reading Student-Author Interview 13: Robin Herrera
Welcome back for the final installment of my series on teaching analytical writing. If you're new to the series, you can check out my series introduction, which provides some context, and the next three posts in which I explained how I break down the essay writing process to teach analytical paragraphs, thesis statements and topic sentences, … Continue reading Why Teach Analytical Writing?