The One Writing Standard You're Not Teaching in the ELA Classroom (yet the one you need the most!)

pedagogy student-centered Feb 01, 2022

Standards can be tough, can't they! There are some that we hit naturally in our day-to-day teaching and others…well, we have to plan for them, right?

The Common Core writing standards, which we centralize in the classroom, is the set of skills our students need to know or be able to do as a result of their time in the classroom with us.

Two standards rise to the surface right away: our argumentative writing standards and our informational writing standards. These two seem to have precedence in the high school English classroom.

Meanwhile, there is also our narrative set of writing standards, which is the third piece to the Common Core’s emphasis on writing. Unfortunately, the narrative writing standards are often overlooked in the high school ELA classroom because, quite frankly, it's 'not on the test'.

So, in essence, narrative writing takes a backseat.

However, I want to focus on narrative writing standards now more than ever! These are the standards, in my opinion,...

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5 Simple Writing Activities to Jumpstart Your Student Writers (ELA Grades 6-12)

The academic essay holds a lot of weight in our classrooms. It's our primary means for teaching the foundations of writing, but is teaching the academic essay alone the best for our students?

No, it’s not…and I am sure you already knew that!

Although we can’t get rid of the academic essay, what we need to do is make room for the practical application of writing skills in our classroom as well.

I want to share with you five different writing activities to jumpstart your student writers to make the writing process a more authentic one for your students. 

Let’s start with and place an emphasis on argumentative writing. It’s one of those key writing skills our students need in today's world, in a high school setting, etc.

Go ahead and fund me!

Let me give you quick context. Many, many moons ago when Alexander Pope was translating the Iliad into English, it took him five years to do it. Obviously, you're not going to work for free for five years. So...

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The Truth About Giving Students a Voice in ELA (hint: it's not what you think)

pedagogy student-centered Jan 11, 2022

I know you are probably thinking…Yeah, give them a voice! Our students have something to say and we NEED to hear it! So, let them have one in the classroom!

Isn’t that the catchphrase of our modern teaching era? ‘Give students a voice + choice.”

Let’s focus on the word ‘GIVE’.

When a student hears a teacher say something like, “Today I am going to give you a writing assignment in order to give you all a voice when it comes to the new clubs being added to the school…” Students have a weird feeling about this idea of teachers giving them their voice. It becomes a power dynamic almost…them challenging why you have to GIVE it to them in the first place. Don’t they already have one?

Doesn’t the whole concept take us way back to the days of old? The days where your job as a student is to sit still and raise your hand and IF you are lucky, the teacher may call on you to hear what you have to say? Those days...

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