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Ideas

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This photo was taken last fall, as I led a week-long lesson study on argument writing at the middle level. It’s interesting: Many teachers tell me that narrative is difficult to teach, but personally, argument writing has inspired a great deal of my own growth over the last 25 years. Doesn’t that sound sweet and super positive? Yes. Argument writing has been an inspiring teacher. But y’all, you KNOW how that growth happens. It…

Last week, I had the great fortune to coach research and information writing in Melanie Jones’s kindergarten class at John T. Waugh Elementary School in Lake Shore, New York. We were most interested in taking the Next Generation English Language Arts Standards for a drive by diving into play-based learning and exploring the effect that it had on rigor. First things came first, though: we needed an audience for students’ work! Thanks to my vibrant…

Last week, a friend asked how I intended to spend my brief summer break, ahead of great travel for work and for pleasure, too. “Wandering,” I said, with a wistful smile. This is what I love most about summer: Long stretches of uninterrupted time to stroll around farmer’s markets, local parks, and the garden in my backyard. Time to think. Time to read. Time to write. A number of teachers that I support began building…

In my work with teachers, and in our fellowship programs at the WNY Young Writer’s Studio, I’ve become closely acquainted with a few kids who absolutely hate writing. What’s worse is that they believe they aren’t capable of it. Why? Well, mostly because they are unable to sit silently before a screen or page and push words out of the end of their fingers in a coherent fashion until every inch of white space is…

Some of the best learning I enjoy emerges from my study of writers at play. In 1932, Mildred B. Parten was the first to distinguish one form of play from another, making a contribution to the field of education that has sustained the test of time. My awareness of these classifications often prompts me to consider the relationship between play and the development of writers. Many similarities appear to exist. Take a peek at the…

I’m looking forward to blogging here with regularity again, and as I’ve been brainstorming ways to make the experience as manageable as it is meaningful, I teased out the following purposes and a structure. Every Monday, I plan to share a bit of what I’m reading each week and invite dialogue around the ideas that emerge. That exchange might happen in the comments here. It might also happen on facebook or Twitter, depending on how…

Read anything awesome over spring break? I did. My favorite read was actually a reread, and I have a feeling I’ll be referencing it deep into the future. Sunni Brown, Dave Gray, and James Macanufo wrote Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rule-Breakers, and Changemakers. If you’re responsible for helping people generate ideas and solutions in any capacity, you will love this book. You might also love the app, which I spent this morning test driving as well.…

I’m looking forward to blogging here with regularity again, and as I’ve been brainstorming ways to make the experience as manageable as it is meaningful, I teased out the following purposes and a structure. Every Monday, I plan to share a bit of what I’m reading each week and invite dialogue around the ideas that emerge. That exchange might happen in the comments here. It might also happen on facebook or Twitter, depending on how…

“What have we been studying in kindergarten this spring?” Heather asked her students. “Things that hatch!” They sang. “And how have we been doing that?” Heather asked. A jumble of ideas poured out of them at once, and fingers were pointing to different corners of the room, where a bunch of creatures were in the process of hatching: “Today, we’re going to take the next step in our learning. We’re going to become researchers.…