Category Archives: Uncategorized

Speaking NOT “Public Speaking”: Why The Difference Matters

I want all students to become better speakers. Every time I say that I get a response like “Oh yes, public speaking is so important!” I really dislike that response. Let me explain. The words have a terrible connotation. “Public … Continue reading

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What’s it gonna be this year?

Inevitably, there is some new initiative, some new program being introduced. If you have taught for a while, you have seen many of these come and go. Maybe last year was the year they introduced the new reading program that … Continue reading

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Don’t Follow Your Dreams

Dreams have a mystique in America. Teachers tell students to follow their dreams. Friends encourage each other: Go for it! Never quit! You can be anything you dream of being!!! Except… A dream is a regular idea with a fancy … Continue reading

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Ready for the Real World

Read “Speaking Out” from Educational Leadership May 2022 issue Or click here.

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Redefining Reading

[This was originally published at the HMH Shaped Blog. I am reposting it in response to the NCTE’s recent position statement which includes these lines: My wife recently rediscovered her grandmother’s copy of The Scarlet Letter. The edition was published … Continue reading

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Essays Muttered Aloud!

The annual convention of the largest association of English teachers in America. The president of the organization addresses the thousands in attendance. A keynote address? Not exactly. More like reading an essay at the audience. Listen to a piece of … Continue reading

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Talk First. Write Later.

“F9. Action” That was Mason’s response to the prompt “What’s your favorite movie? Why is it your favorite?” It was part of a Getting to Know You assignment at the start of the 6th grade year. I had to look … Continue reading

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Give Students a Digital Voice First

You want students to speak to the class. Maybe they are sharing What I Did This Summer or About Me presentations to start the new year. Later, students will be reciting poetry or participating in a mock trial or presenting … Continue reading

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Can Numbers Be Biased?

We love statistics. Specifically, we love raw number statistics: number of students proficient or advanced, number of babies named Emma, number of hot dogs eaten in 10 minutes, and more. We also love percentage statistics: grades; batting averages in baseball, … Continue reading

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Instead of an essay

“What does democracy mean to you?” That was the writing prompt I gave to my class. I was expecting a three-paragraph essay about the rights, duties, and responsibilities of citizens. Ryan asked if he could make a video. Of course, … Continue reading

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