Blogs on English Language Arts

Blogs on English Language ArtsRSS
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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Steve J. MooreOctober 20, 2012

Writing Alongside Students

The term “workshop model” is one used in my school district at the moment to denote a classroom where something innovative is being piloted. My neighbor’s classroom is a place where new ideas are being shaped and tinkered with each day; I like the idea that there are little pedagogical laboratories being run all around me.

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I'm excited to celebrate the 2012 National Day on Writing on October 19th and 20th. Sponsored by the National Writing Project, the National Council of Teachers of English, and a whole host of other great organizations (including Edutopia!), it's an opportunity to share your text with a mass audience, and a great way to bring awareness to the value of writing as a means of communication in the 21st century.

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September 30th kicks off Banned Books Week, a celebration of the freedom to read all across the country. This year is the event's thirtieth anniversary, as the battle against censorship marches on. In this digital society, where we have access to most any kind of information at our fingertips, there are still those who would limit our rights when it comes to what we read. While book censorship is almost always born from the best of intentions -- most often to protect the innocents -- it's a threat to our first amendment rights and something we should all rally to fight off.

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Terry HeickSeptember 17, 2012

Perhaps more than anything else, the English Language Arts classroom is a place of diversity.

There is diversity of academic expectations for teachers. The ELA Common Core assigns literature and informational reading, writing, speaking/listening and language to what is usually a single "class." This is a total of five extremely broad topics, each of which could more than stand on its own as a content area.

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Todd FinleyAugust 29, 2012

Technology can enhance academic conversations, says Anna Des Roches, a community development officer for Collaborize Classroom. The American Association of School Librarians (AALS) agrees, naming Collaborize one of the "Top 25 Best Websites for Teaching and Learning in 2012."

Blake Wiggs, a history and language arts teacher in North Carolina, often uses Collaborize to efficiently "organize classroom participants and sort their contribution to the discussion." He likes that he can integrate audio or video clips and widgets into the discussion pages. Nico Saldana, a high school world history teacher, uses Collaborize to increase student participation: "Nobody can check out of a conversation because everyone is writing."

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Ben JohnsonAugust 24, 2012

In Texas we have a new state test called the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) and some schools like mine, were surprised by the student poor performance in writing. As I was reviewing the low scores, I began thinking, "What else can I do to help my students write better?"

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Laura BradleyAugust 13, 2012

(Updated 11/2013)

My 8th-graders do their best writing when it is part of a project that is meaningful to them and will be published in some way when they are finished. So over the years, my students have written and illustrated children's books for schools in Uganda, published magazines on topics of their choice, blogged poems from their autobiographies, and showcased their best work in online portfolios.

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Todd FinleyAugust 8, 2012

High school writers often fail to include dialogue in their stories. Perhaps this is because they over-rely on telling narratives. Or perhaps skipping dialogue is a strategy that allows students to elude the punctuation rules that accompany quotations. Regardless, students should be taught that the payoffs for learning a few dialogue-writing skills are ample: dialogue can help develop plot, reveal characters' motivation, create a visceral experience for the reader, and make average stories extraordinary.

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