Saturday, March 17, 2012

     Here is an informative article on how to motivate students to write. However, I've found the best way a teacher can engage students in writing is -- is to be a writer himself. When I show my students some of my work, when I then ask them to create their own and we will work on it together to polish their work -- I find the most motivated students.
     Teachers who are writers also far better understand exactly what they are teaching. How often I've heard students come to me from their regular classrooms, giving me the classic definition of "metaphor." Their own teachers did their best, I'm sure, when they armed their students with a definition to explain this wonderful writing tool. But did they tell their students how metaphors liven up writing, how they allows the reader to see an image in the environment they themselves live in, how the ordinary sentence become extraordinary in the hands of a metaphor? A writer would tell students this -- and more.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Teachers and Technology


 those of us who know technology in the classroom is the way to go -- but have much to learn ourselves -- here's an excellent article on just that topic. Perhaps the next generation of teachers will simply enter the classroom and do it all. For the rest of us, these articles help guide us.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Reading Nonfiction Gives Major Boost In Reading Development

     I cheered when I saw this New York Times article, a study that seemed to show -- at least, for a first examination -- that helping children read nonfiction has a far lasting impact on their reading achievement. I've suspected this for some time. Quality literature is a must for a literate society, and it opens the reader to other lifestyles, other personalities, other human desires and thoughts. But too much of the reading textbooks are filled today with mediocre fiction. Why waste the children's time, this study suggests, when instead they could be adding to their prior knowledge through nonfiction?
    It will be interesting to find out if this is some statistical error or, in fact, nonfiction reading has much more to offer our students than once thought.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Story Pirates and Writing

     In New Jersey a group of very talented improvisation actors inspire school children to write their own plays, encourage students to submit their own plays to their troupe, and they return later in the year to put on some of those very plays. Definitely, most definitely, this will inspire students to see a purpose for their writing, a direction for themselves. Surely many towns have such actors who can do the same. Though I love when various groups visit our school -- or our students visit the children's theater here -- how valuable would such an activity be in our own schools. The actors get a paycheck, the teachers get direction and inspiration for their writing, and the children -- the children write and write and write.
     What a delightful idea all around.