Photo of a girl sitting in a field and writing. Photo reads, The Harvest Writer

Nurturing Literacy, Not Test-Taking

By Dawn Kirby Literacy as Nurture: Learning, Improving, and Having Fun Try a mini-experiment. Think about activities in which you engage for fun, for pure joy and pleasure.  Mentally list a few. Now, consider these questions: Does anyone officially grade you on that activity? Are you required to write a paper about why you like…

Photo of a word web. Highlighted words include, students, play, writers, writing, piece, and revision.

Revision Makes My Students Thirsty

by Noreen Moore On a crisp fall day after lunch, my fifth-grade students began working diligently to revise their narratives about our class trip to the pumpkin patch.  However, five minutes into our writer’s workshop, hands started going up with students who claimed they were either finished, needed to sharpen a pencil, get a drink…

Photo of a notebook page with a word circled and the comment "Really?" written in purple

The Match That Starts the Fire

by Alexandra Cavallo Duvantee, a junior and one of the brightest in his class, asked me to look over his college essay. I found that many of his sentences didn’t make sense due to word choice. He told me he had used the online thesaurus. When I asked what he meant by referring to his…

Resources to Kick Off the School Year

by Eileen Buescher Greetings! We hope that you have had a smooth start to your school year. We know that learning is always happening, not only for students, but for teachers as well. To start the year off right and ensure that you also have a year of learning and growth, we have compiled a…

Photo reads, "Heal."

Finding Understanding through Storytelling

by Deborah Alvarez I realized the importance of storytelling as I spent two years studying the effects of Hurricane Katrina on writing literacy in New Orleans, where I examined how secondary teachers and students were using writing in and out of school. Since then, I have been conducting research on the effects of the Haitian…

Picture of a hand writing

Black Girls’ Lives Matter – In Writing, Too

By Gholnecsar “Gholdy” Muhammad In the 19th century, African American girls used their pens to shape the world around them. Meeting together in literary societies, they wrote what mattered to them while unapologetically loving themselves and each other. These literary societies developed into spaces of academic excellence, self-confidence and love. As I have discussed in…

Photo reads, "Author-ity"

School Writing Vs. Authentic Writing

by Ken Lindblom Many students dislike writing in school, and it’s no wonder.  Five-paragraph essay formats, predictable essay questions on books they didn’t choose to read, all written for a teacher (or faceless exam scorer) who knows more about the subject than they do.  Who would find this “schoolish writing”–as Anne Elrod Whitney has called…

Photo of someone writing on a clipboard with post it notes surrounding her

Counterstories from the writing classroom: Resistance, resilience, refuge

by Deb Kelt & Amber Warrington In a statement that has nearly gone viral in the teaching community, Nancie Atwell urged new teachers to choose the private sector over public schools. Though Nancie’s statement received much press, her words don’t stand alone. Often we hear from teachers leaving their beloved classrooms, stating they “just don’t…