What do students think about the five-paragraph essay?

by Jennifer P. Gray, Ph.D. Do you ever wonder what students think about the writing assignments they do for school? Lately, I am hearing about how assignments fit into Common Core areas or how assignments match up with general education requirements, and I’m curious about the students’ perspectives. What do the students think about our…

I Teach Readers and Writers, Not Reading and Writing

by Matthew T. Meldrum In the summer of 2012, I was at a crossroads in my teaching career. I was responsible to write curriculum, but when I looked over the template provided, I realized something wasn’t sitting right. I had just returned from the Heart of Texas Writing Project Summer Institute, the Austin site of…

Our book club activities for Esperanza Rising (Pam Munoz Ryan)

Why Book Clubs Matter

By Gretchen Rumohr-Voskuil and Deborah Vriend Van Duinen Show me a family of readers, and I will show you the people who move the world. –Napoleon   Recently, the Writers Who Care blog has discussed college readiness, alternative forms of literacy, a teacher-as-writer model, the concept of providing real audiences for writers, and advocacy related…

Malaika Writing

“I’ve Got Better Writing to Do.”

By Tim Dewar My older daughter has written her first five-paragraph essay for school. In the language of the Common Core, and since she is in fourth grade, it was an opinion piece.  The topic? Should students have more or less homework? She argued for less with a tone best described as “Duh” by a…

What the Data Won’t Show

by Susan Lazear When Autumn texts me, she always ends with, “Sorry to bother you.”  Sometimes she sends a heart, too, or sometimes it’s a row of hearts. Her Facebook profile picture is from graduation day. Her other pictures are from when her parents paid a local photographer to take her picture in a field,…

Writing as a Path to Healing

By Roberta P. Gardner One of my earliest memories of writing in school was a failed scribble drawing of my deceased cat, Honey. She wasn’t officially my cat, but I was the one who played with her every day, and I let her know that she was loved. I used to sneak her bowls of milk…

Fight Back Against Fundamentally Flawed Regulations

By Melanie Shoffner, Rebecca Powell, Anne Elrod Whitney, and Don Zancanella In today’s environment of school accountability and high-stakes testing, teachers are constantly labeled as uncaring, unprepared, and ineffective. Patently unqualified corporations, millionaires and profit-driven businesses are invited to “solve” educational issues, while patently qualified teachers, teacher educators, and educational researchers are excluded from the…

Proposed Regulations Bad for Kids, Teachers, and Schools

by Anne Elrod Whitney, Ph.D. Report cards may sound simple and harmless. But the “report cards” for teacher education programs that were recently proposed by the U.S. Department of Education are a bad idea. They, and the proposed new federal rules of which they are a part, could do tremendous damage to schools, to colleges,…