A cartoon, with stick figures, of a classroom of desks facing one another. There are about 15 students at their desks facing left (the center of the room) and about 15 students at their desks facing right (also the center). Arrows indicate that the students are speaking to others across the room. The teacher stands apart, in the front.

Making Arguments Stronger: How to Get Students to Consider All Sides of an Issue

By Patricia A. Dunn Whether students compose arguments for tests or for real-world genres such as online petitions, public service announcements, complaints to manufacturers, letters to editors, etc., their writing would be more persuasive if they acknowledged and understood opposing views. As more and more people today shield themselves from positions with which they disagree…

Image of spiral notebook with letter from teacher to student opposite a letter from student to teacher.

Building Relationships and Understanding with Dialogue Journals: One Entry at a Time

by Brennan Cruser and Stacey Ross Teachers of young children share conversations all day with their students. What if you could capture some of those conversations and provide a space for a one-on-one discussion with each of your students? Dialogue journals provide a space to connect teacher to student as students connect pencil to paper.…

Picture of a shopping list with a jar of JIF peanut butter

Lessons on Writing from a Clueless Shopper

by Jonathan Bush I’m a pretty good teacher of writing, but I’ll freely admit that I am one of the world’s worst grocery shoppers. I am easily distracted. I often have an interest in unique and useless items, and I’m apt to buy things that are often close to what we need, rather than the…

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…