Blogs on Literacy

Blogs on LiteracyRSS
Lisa MimsNovember 6, 2013

As they enter the room, I wave the big yellow envelope in the air. They know what it is, and the room comes alive with excitement. They can barely wait until I open the envelope and pass out the contents. Their pen pal letters have arrived!

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Ali ParrishNovember 5, 2013

Editor's Note: A version of this post first appeared on Techie Teacher and Character Coach.

"But Miss Parrish, I can't think of anything to write!"

Haven't we all heard similar lines in our classrooms? We see hesitant writers sit with a pencil in their hands and a paper on their desks, almost as if they have been handicapped by the task we asked them to do.

How is it that some students have so much to say when talking out loud, but when a pencil is put into their hand they suddenly hesitate, struggle and have nothing to say? How can you help those hesitant writers eliminate the "handicap" or barrier that suddenly appears when asked to write?

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Suzie BossOctober 28, 2013

Visit schools where project-based learning (PBL) is taking hold and you are almost certain to see teachers collaborating. They may be meeting face-to-face to plan projects, using critical-friend protocols to improve projects, looking at student work together, or even teaming up virtually with project partners in other time zones.

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Ashley HutchinsonOctober 24, 2013

Note: Ashley Hutchinson co-wrote this post with social studies teacher Stephanie Noles and instructional coach Mike Flinchbaugh, both of whom are her colleagues at J.H. Rose High School in Greenville, North Carolina.

Stephanie was having one of those days when everything she thought she knew about working with young adults seemed miscalibrated -- when tempers flared without cause and student motivation disappeared despite her careful planning. That was the day we decided our students should come with written instructions.

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Erin KleinOctober 15, 2013

As a classroom teacher, it was never my intention to integrate technology into all facets of my instruction. I knew that I would be encouraged to use such digital devices in my practice, but I hesitated to introduce a tool simply because it was flashy. After all, I thought of my traditional lessons as being flashy enough. I didn't need a device to amp up my creative curriculum.

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Robert RosenbergerOctober 7, 2013

A conversation is emerging over the potential for dictation technologies -- devices that translate voice into text -- to improve classroom learning. For example, it has been suggested that dictation technologies can be used to enhance reading instruction support, assist students with dyslexia, and make the chore of providing student feedback less cumbersome.

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Rick TaylorOctober 2, 2013

In his book Reinventing Shakespeare (1990), Gary Taylor unravels the long series of historical and theatrical circumstances by which the plays of William Shakespeare have somehow survived four hundred years of reimagination and reinterpretation. We are quickly approaching a time -- if we have not already passed it -- when Shakespeare's language is inaccessible to all but scholars. Recovering these plays and experiencing them the way theatregoers and readers did in the last decade of the 16th century and the first decades of the 17th may be impossible. But teachers, those daily doers of the impossible, must participate with students in the sort of reinvention that Taylor is describing to create a Shakespeare who speaks to students and who, in turn, is spoken by students.

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Marilee SprengerSeptember 18, 2013

Teaching vocabulary within the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is an essential component of standards-based curriculum alignment. Making the critical words second nature to our students will enhance achievement on assessments and will be useful in college and career. To process and store the academic vocabulary of the standards, our students’ brains require an efficient automatic memory system. This system, also called nonmotor procedural memory, stores information that is repeated, such as multiplication tables, song lyrics, words and definitions.

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Betty RaySeptember 3, 2013

See how this 9th-grade English teacher connects with his students, earns their trust, and then invites them to contemplate their future with -- or without -- reading skills.

  • At the beginning, watch how he makes a connection with each student as they enter the classroom.
  • At 6:54 he gets students to talk about their previous jobs, and the work they want to do.

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Rebecca AlberAugust 30, 2013

Ah, listening, the neglected literacy skill. I know when I was a high school English teacher this was not necessarily a primary focus; I was too busy honing the more measurable literacy skills -- reading, writing, and speaking. But when we think about career and college readiness, listening skills are just as important.

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