Blogs on English Language Arts

Blogs on English Language ArtsRSS
Todd FinleyFebruary 13, 2013

Although House of Cards on Netflix, the fictional Elmer Gantry and the preposterous Watergate cover-up all provide ammunition to those who view rhetoric pejoratively, rhetoric should be studied as a powerful tool for good. Winston Churchill composing speeches from bed comes to mind, as does the Gettysburg Address, a marvel of brevity more poignant than Winter Aconite, a speech that redefined the Civil War as a national fight for equality. The Gettysburg Address, composed by that hipster Abraham Lincoln, has never been more relevant, especially to the framers of the Common Core Curriculum Standards who appropriated Lincoln's address because of its literary rhetorical characteristics.

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Jeremy ShermanFebruary 12, 2013

It's five minutes before the bell. My psychology students are reaching for their smartphones after our mini-field trip to the main campus library for an introduction to online reference materials.

"Wait," I say. "Before you go, I have a short question to leave you with."

The students sigh but smile, setting down their phones.

"What's left?" I ask, pausing for effect. "What is left?" They wait for me to continue. "Online, you've now got instant access to what everyone everywhere knows and thinks. In the past, to know anything you would have had to spend hours finding and memorizing it. Now it's right there on your smartphones. So what's left? If everyone has access to all this information, what is school for, and how could it possibly give you any kind of edge? What's the future of education?"

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Jonathan OlsenFebruary 8, 2013

Ten years from now, maybe sooner, you'll be able to find this article and laugh at its concept. Defending print -- how 20th century. As more schools move towards 1:1 computer-to-student ratios, as textbooks become digital and periodicals move online, it will become increasingly rare for students to avoid the glare from computer screens. However, my experiences in the classroom have shown that students can benefit tremendously from reading physical copies of print media.

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Ashley ProphetJanuary 18, 2013

Organized debates are an engaging way to help students discover, explore and organize ideas during the writing process. However, neither my teacher colleagues nor students share my enthusiasm. To find out why, I asked how they felt about using debate in the classroom. Here were their responses:

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Todd FinleyJanuary 9, 2013
Author Penny Kittle
Penny Kittle

Write Beside Them: Risk, Voice, and Clarity in High School Writing is a compelling and seminal work on the practicalities of teaching writing to high school English students from New Hampshire teacher and literacy/instructional coach Penny Kittle. You can also watch the speech she gave when that book earned her the 2009 NCTE Britton Award. I've used the book and accompanying DVD for three years now, and my English education pre-service teachers have called the unequivocally helpful text "warm, inspiring and intelligent," "100 % heart," and hailed the author as "a writer's teacher of writing."

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Erika BurtonJanuary 8, 2013

Parent involvement is the number one predictor of early literacy success and future academic achievement. However, according to a 2007 report by National Endowment for the Arts, there are more literate people in the United States who don't read than those who are actually illiterate. How do we change that pattern for the future of our children?

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Mark PhillipsJanuary 7, 2013

I had a Lewis Carroll-like dream the other night . . . or was it day? I have a hunch some of you might relate to it, so please join me while I take you on my trip to the Wonderland of Educational Reform.

My story begins…

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Heather Wolpert-GawronDecember 27, 2012

Earlier this month, I wrote about how the four Cs relate to my current TED Talks unit. Just to recap, the four Cs represent elements of Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Creativity.

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Elena AguilarDecember 11, 2012

I gestured to the stack of books next to my bed and said to my nine-year-old son, "Those are the books I'm going to read this winter break!"

"All of them!?" he exclaimed. "I don't think you can read all of those."

He might be right. I've gathered nine books, over 3500 pages of text, that I'm hoping to devour starting this weekend when my break begins. After a year and a half of almost exclusively reading education-related books, I'm craving stories and beautifully crafted sentences . . . and plot and character and action and historical fiction and science fiction . . . and that almost trace-like state that we enter when we're consumed by a novel.

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Patrick WilsonOctober 26, 2012

What do you think of when you hear the word dyslexic? All too often the reflex reaction is a stream of negative associations -- "slow reader," "under performance," "extra time on exams," "difficulty spelling." While it is true that these are common symptoms in students with dyslexia, they are surmountable problems. For any educator, the key to unleashing academic success in dyslexic students lies in understanding how their brains work.

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