Blogs on English Language Arts

Blogs on English Language ArtsRSS
Marc AndersonJuly 18, 2013

I wanted to talk to someone. But who? It's moments like this, when you need someone the most, that your world seems smallest. -- Rachel Cohn, Dash & Lily's Book of Dares

Let's face it -- everyone has something to say some time or another. ESL learners are no different. As a teacher of either online English or classroom ESL instruction, it is important to make your students feel comfortable speaking. They may feel embarrassed about their inability to speak English fluently. Or perhaps they are just shy. As an instructor, you need to ask yourself how you are impacting the learning environment:

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Gregory WebsterJuly 5, 2013

When teaching a new unit, teachers know that their strategy can either "sizzle" and get the class excited, or "fizzle" and lose their attention. As a first-year teacher, I saw a good number of my lessons fizzle out. But one that really sizzled was my unit on poetry. When we started, my fourth grade students hated the idea of poetry. However, by the end of the unit, my neglected poetry section became the most popular part of my class library. This metamorphosis is all thanks to the careful use of selected authors and scaffolded instruction.

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Margaret BridgesJuly 2, 2013

This post stems from New Journalism on Latino Children, translating new research for activists, journalists and policy analysts. The project is based at the Institute of Human Development at UC Berkeley, in collaboration with the Education Writers Association and the Latino Policy Forum, and funded largely by the McCormick Foundation.

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Robert WoodJune 12, 2013

Cultural responsiveness in the classroom can often be written off as something patched by a quick fix, especially in an English classroom where swapping a traditional (read: Dead White Guy) text with something written by a person from an underrepresented background can take the place of more significant cultural response. Don't get me wrong, I think that putting Zora Neale Hurston, Chang Rae Lee, and Junot Diaz into "the cannon" is an important social step for our discipline, but doing this at the expense of also having substantive structural changes in the classroom is a temptation that one has to be careful of embracing.

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David CutlerJune 6, 2013

Few subjects are as challenging to teach as journalism, a field that is changing as fast as technology itself -- or faster.

I reached out to William Zinsser, age 90, a living legend, stellar journalist and one of America's greatest teachers of writing. I was curious to hear how he adapted so successfully to publishing his work online. Following are highlights of that conversation.

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Sarah Mulhern GrossJune 6, 2013

I'm an evangelist.

A book evangelist, that is. I hand out books to students and colleagues, booktalking them in class, at lunch, and even in my email signature. I want my students to read widely and read often, to pick up a book instead of browsing Tumblr every time they are bored. But I have no desire to assess my students for each book they read during the year. I'm a voracious reader, but I don't take a quiz after each book I finish. If I did, I don't think I would be a reader for very long! I do want my students to think about some of the books that have affected them and influenced them, though. And I want them to plan ahead and think about the books they want to read in the future. In other words, I want them to be readers.

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Maria WaltherJune 3, 2013

Like you, I've been doing a lot of thinking and wondering about text complexity. As a first grade teacher, I'm pondering what that concept means for young readers and guided reading instruction. How do we support readers as they gradually climb a staircase of texts that leads them to those with greater complexity? My research-guided experience says, "Let’s take it one step at a time!"

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Mark PhillipsMay 30, 2013

During my years as a high school teacher, summer vacation was often the time to catch up on the reading I didn't have time for during the school year. My reading list frequently featured books unrelated to education, but I always included a book or two related to my teaching, as long as it was both thought provoking and readable. So I want to suggest some books that I think would be good to check out for this summer. These are my picks.

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Hassan MansarayMay 22, 2013

Not satisfied with students' progress on district- and state-mandated tests -- and after careful deliberation by administration and staff -- the Edwards Middle School implemented the Massachusetts Expanded Learning Time (ELT) Initiative in the 2006/07 school year. ELT has since become an integral part of the school day, where students receive an additional 60 minutes of support instruction in some core academic classes like English and math, and 90 minutes of electives in arts, sports and music, and other enrichment activities.

In order to maximize the benefits of ELT for students, I looked for ways to fine tune my approach to teaching individualized learning in my English language arts classroom. One of the instructional models that informs my approach to teaching individualized learning is the Readers and Writers Workshop. This approach proved very helpful in optimizing ELT. Read More
Lee Ann SpillaneMay 14, 2013

"I wasn't actually in love, but I felt a sort of tender curiosity."
-- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

The new film adaptation of The Great Gatsby starring Leonardo DiCaprio might move teens to fall in love with the story of the book, but it won't make them better readers of the novel. Long before the film was announced, I've been using simple technology tools to help my eleventh graders become curious critics analyzing the text patterns Fitzgerald employs.

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