Skip to main content

Mission Accomplished....So Far

They love collaborating!

Yesterday I asked one of my classes, "Do you think we do enough writing in here?"  All 33 of them responded with a resounding, "YES!"  I was thrilled.  You see, over the summer I read several books by Kelly Gallagher  which encouraged  me to reevaluate  the way I had been teaching writing and inspired me to think of new ways to teach writing.  Just a FEW of the things I learned and decided to try:


  • Give students more choice about what they write.  Give them several topics to choose from.
  • Provide students with mentor sentences and texts.  SHOW them good writing.  Ask them to emulate what they see!
  • Don't correct every little error. For each essay, pick TWO sentences for the students to correct.  
  • Do most writing in class.  Give students feedback DURING the writing process, not after.
So far, I have nothing but positive things to say about implementing each of these strategies. So far, my students have written an essay in which they read two articles and had to synthesize their findings, a personal narrative, a character analysis , an analysis of symbolism in a short story, a six word memoir,  and six Article of the Week responses (summary and personal response).    Would you believe that my students haven't complained yet?  Well, at least not to my face!  

I am so excited about the rest of the year with my students.  I feel as though I am on my way to accomplishing my mission of making more students more passionate and better writers!





Popular posts from this blog

Oreos in China and Read 180

A few years ago I read an article about what happened when Kraft introduced the Oreo to the Chinese in 1996.  It was not a success.  The Chinese thought the filling was too sweet-the cookie too bitter.  Kraft almost pulled the beloved cookie off the shelves. Instead, they began a quest to find out how to make the Oreo appeal to the Chinese. Enter the green tea Oreo, the mango Oreo, and an Oreo in the shape of a straw (not sure that still qualifies as an Oreo).  The revamped Oreos were a huge success! I found the article fascinating and decided to design a lesson around  it to share with my students.

First I showed them a news clip from CNN about the topic. Then, I taught them a few vocabulary words that appear in the article using Kate Kinsella's method.  Next, we read the article together and marked the text. I did a think aloud as I read aloud to them.  After that, students created a T-Chart listing the ten most important words in the text, as well as five main ideas from the tex…

Bottle Flipping

Last week someone posted article on Facebook about the newest trend with middle schoolers-bottle flipping.  If you haven't heard of it, you probably don't teach middle school or have a child in middle school! Consider  yourself lucky! If you know about it, then you also know it's annoying as heck.  Kids (usually boys), toss a partially filled water bottle into the air so that it flips in midair.  The goal is to have the bottle land upright.  This year I have had to ask several students to put their water bottles away because they wanted to flip them.  I know,  I'm mean!  



After reading the Facebook article I thought, "Hey!  I bet I can incorporate this into a lesson somehow."  Using my Oreo lesson as a model, that's just what I did.  First, I found two different articles about bottle flipping.  I went through both looking for key vocabulary words.  I then typed out the sentences with the words and created an activity where students had to guess the definit…

How to Train, Tame, and Enjoy a Seventh-Grader

I remember when my oldest son went to middle school.  I was a mess.  I was so anxious about whether he'd like his teachers, make friends, and be able to handle all of the work.  I think I was one of those parents that drive teachers crazy. No, I WAS one of those parents. I emailed teachers with questions that I could have asked my son (even when I asked him, I didn't trust his answer).  I checked his grades every day.  I constantly asked him whether or not he was caught up on homework. I asked him who he ate lunch with. If he didn't like a teacher, I wanted him transferred to another class.   If he messed up, I wanted to fix it.  If he didn't turn in an assignment on time, I wanted the teacher to let him turn it in late.  If he forgot his lunch, I wanted my husband to bring it to him (thankfully he refused). If he wasn't starting his homework when I thought he should,  I was practically putting the pencil in his hand and opening the textbook. In other words, I was …