mindmap

The Problem with Graphic Organizers

by Anny Fritzen Case Teachers have long used graphic organizers and other instructional strategies designed to demystify and teach more complex literacy practices. Functioning similarly to a ladder, they are intended to help students progress step-by-step towards the learning goal until they are able to master the targeted skill or new understanding independently. Examples of…

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…

Photo of a boy lying on the floor drawing. The drawings are blowing away into a cityscape below

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…