Look closer at your neighborhood public school, Indy

I’m a parent of two preschoolers in Indianapolis. I hear parents talk. I know many are enraged by a public school lottery that feels like a smoke and mirrors magic show at a Vegas casino. I know that a rising number of parents are at least marginally aware of the privileges they carry in their…

Writing as a way of life

I was everything in those stories that I thought I couldn’t be in real life: a sassy smart aleck with an uncanny ability to insult and/or shame all those who wronged me in any way. I also wrote letters to my mom (my frequent antagonist) and then tore them into tiny undetectable pieces and threw them away. I suppose it was always about the process of writing for me, about how I felt after writing, not about publishing my end products.

What writers do: Obsess, recall, wonder, question, and record (an example)

I once lost a journal, left it behind at a breakfast diner in the heart of Boston… I didn’t sleep for two full days worrying about it. …Had it been noticed or unwittingly swept into the trash? …did anyone read it? Did they laugh? In the good way? Or cry? Did they see any potential? Did they like it? Boston is a literary city, after all, so there was a lot at stake for me.

I have lived (and write about it)

Notebook entry about trip to hair salon

I am honored to be a contributor to a blog that I love, Sharing Our Notebooks curated by children’s author and teacher Amy Ludwig VanDerwater. I have given writing teachers a quick peek inside my notebooks in the past, but with Amy’s blog as inspiration, this time I am baring entries that fed the works closest to my heart.

One way of looking at 13 cardinals 

On the third anniversary of my mom’s death, I was visited by more than a dozen red cardinals in five days. I otherwise hadn’t seen one since Christmas, a full six months earlier. I looked up the meaning of cardinal sightings, though I had a vague memory that my mom had told me once that…

Ways to celebrate, publish student writing

What do you do at the end of unit of study? Your students have spent weeks cultivating their texts through a complete unit of study…What do you do to reward their efforts and emulate “publishing” for an audience beyond the teacher?

A Unit of Study in Poetry

Get a step-by-step tour of how you might teach a poetry unit. Sample mini-lessons, noticing charts, conferring videos, conferring notes and more are included. Also includes “Teacher Try-Its” to help you fill your own writer’s notebook with material that you can teach from!