Showing posts from August, 2010

Nudging Writers To Make A Choice

The Stenhouse Blog: Quick Tip Tuesday: Nudging kids to make a choice  'Nonfiction reading, research, and reporting is hard work. For students to maximize their inquiry experience, they should choose a topic they care about, know something about, and wonder about,' writes Stephanie Harvey in her book Nonfiction Matters: Reading, Writing, and Reseach in Grades 3-8. But some students find it difficult to pick a topic or they think that their hobbies and interests are not suitable for school. In this Quick Tip, we get a quick glimpse into a conversation between a student, Thomas, and his teacher, Mary, as they talk about Thomas’ interest in football and how that will make a great topic for his research paper. Some students struggle with topic selection. On the eve of the topic deadline, Thomas had not come up with a single idea for research. His mother rang Mary first thing in the morning and described a family in turmoil. Thomas had been up all night fraught with anxiety ov

The Power of Memoir: Kimberly Hill Campbell, Stenhouse Blog

Everyone has a story to tell. In this installment of  Stenhouse Publishers, Questions & Authors series, Kimberly Hill Campbell shares some great memoirs , followed by some ideas that support writing a memoir. Kimberly’s recent book Less Is More: Teaching Literature with Short Texts, Grades 6-12, explores a variety of short texts to engage a wide range of young writers. Enjoy! The Power of Memoir This fall I was asked by one of the graduate students in my language arts methods class to explain the difference between personal narrative and memoir. And I immediately thought of the personal narratives so many of my high school students had written. Stories of experiences that were often rich in detail but missing what I so appreciate about memoir: the why of the personal story. Personal narrative is the starting point for memoir, but it is in the selection of what to include and what it all means, that we move from narrative to memoir. As William Zinsser, author of Inventing the

Choice in Sharing by Ruth Ayres

This post comes from Ruth Ayres, Two Writing Teachers. Ruth writes about how she wants to manage share time at the conclusion of her writing workshops. Share time is such a valuable sharing opportunity. Ruth's observations and ideas are well worth considering... Posted on Wednesday August 25, 2010 by Ruth  Ayres, Two Writing Teachers Robert B. Parker. There is no one right way. Each of us finds a way that works for him. But there is a wrong way. The wrong way is to finish your writing day with no more words on paper than when you began. Writers write. Every August, I think about what area in regards to teaching writing that I want to pay particular attention to. This year my focus is CHOICE. Something that has caught my attention the past two weeks has been giving kids more say in the sharing time of writing workshop. This has been a time when I’ve often been specific in my directions for sharing time. I’ve said things like: Share the lead of your story with the class.

Writing and Wondering

I have been buying magnifying glasses lately. I want my grandchildren to have one each so that they can discover and celebrate natural wonder. I recall how much fun I had as a small boy with my own magnifying glass. –Seeing snails and slugs up close, or watching ants and noticing their fine feelers, or exploring nature’s wonders in the fine lines and patterns on leaves. There was for me, a fascination observing the world through this magic portal; this round window. I want the natural curiosity my grandchildren possess further stimulated by the experience of seeing small wonders up close and personal. I hope such a simple gift as a magnifying glass stimulates their imagination and creativity. I hope they respond with wonderment and awe. A magnifying glass is not a piece of cutting edge techno wizardry, but it is a powerful tool for determining answers to questions that spring from every day experiences. Seymour Simon said ‘ I’m more interested in arousing enthusiasm in kids than in t