Structure Series: Essays for the 21st Century

  The five-paragraph essay is likened to learning the foundations of structure and organization critical to being able to write other organized pieces. There may be merit to this, however learning how to write something no one reads anymore may only serve to rust and crumble authenticity. Might I offer some suggestions, or additions to the five-paragraph essay, especially for secondary students? Consider these sites/links as mentor texts as well as powerful places to publish essays. Use examples of the essays written here and challenge students to compare their essays to these. Some close reading/close writing ideas: Read for anecdotes:…

Tagged.

Yesterday I spent 15 minutes searching for a website/resource I want to use this year. I couldn’t find it in my bookmarks, or remember its name, just that I discovered them at NCCE, and could have sword that I wrote about them in a post-convention post. Nope. Nowhere. But I did find it in my bookmarks, (forgot which browser I had it on), and gathered the needles and built a new haystack for colleagues. (I really need to do a better job of tagging these posts.) In my head: You need this book. //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=mrsk06-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=1936891352&asins=1936891352&linkId=357565df0e5d73ef1bec4bfa62b72556&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=1b1f24&bg_color=dfe6f0 And links: Actively Learn NewsELA Artifact (DiscoverArtifact) CommonLit…

Room in your head.

  We can’t see the stars any longer because of light pollution. But as the lady says, “The night is dark and full of terrors,” so we humans master the monsters and use all the power we can to dispel the darkness. But we don’t see things as we once did, or learn from the larger spaces and infinite wonderful universe. And perhaps — this is just an idea — we have overlooked the other toxic detriment to learning: noise pollution. Studies come out all the time based on things we know. But the knowledge needs to be re-studied, analyzed, and…

Gluing the wings back on.

  As an artist and a scholar, I prefer the specific detail to the generalization, images to ideas, obscure facts to clear symbols, and the discovered wild fruit to the synthetic jam.” ~ Vladimir Nabokov An epiphany, oftentimes, doesn’t form as a flash or explosion, but a slow, forward creeping light. This is mine with close reading. This overwhelming sensation of pulling the wings off the butterfly, of disassembling the parts and not understanding the whole, blind men trying to describe an elephant…all of this. I have read Falling In Love With Close Reading by Lehman/Roberts, and dug plenty into Notice…

It's personal.

Wanted to share a great discussion about how students can use personal connection to interact with text more deeply. I cannot remember which educational scholar suggested never to use personal connections when discussing text, but it doesn’t sit right. Every text is personal at some level: it’s the getting beyond the personal that creates critical thinking. From The Common Core State Standards: Misunderstandings about Response and Close Reading by Kathy G. Short, University of Arizona Teaching something from a text should come after personal response and dialogue, after readers have a chance to see that text as significant. That teaching should focus on…

WIHWT: Green Angel

Are there books or texts you desperately want to teach, to introduce, yet never find the right moment? The place in the curriculum, scope and sequence, where a text resides permanently in outlier territory? Green Angel is one such novel for me. This Wish I Had Written That, authored by one of my favorite writers, Alice Hoffman, tells a powerful story of loss, identity, and regrowth. It’s short, only 116 small pages, and is one of those stories that still leaves me aching and in awe over the human spirit. Some say it’s a parable for the events of 9/11,…