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Teacher to Teacher: A Metablognitive Moment

By Janice Ewing

Snowy Days HaikuSo winter finally arrived. Remember how during the mild days of December we wondered where it was hiding, and if it would ever make an appearance? Then in January the snow burst in, followed by a couple of languid snow days, and now it’s that slushy, drag-along season, when we sometimes find ourselves struggling to maintain energy and enthusiasm.

A bit of metacognition about the blog (metablognition): when we first designed this project in 2013, we identified monthly themes that seemed to follow the path of a teacher’s year. As we’ve grown and changed over the years, we’ve continued to use those themes as a guide, rather than a mandate for the topics of our posts. The theme we chose for February was “Maintaining Positive Energy for Teachers and Students,” and that still seems relevant.

In addition to our monthly themes, we’ve developed some regular features each month: Teacher-to-Teacher, which tend to be reflective posts, From the Classroom, which are oriented towards evolving classroom practice, Tools of the Trade, which often focus on technology and other strategies that enhance learning, Books on the Blog (reviews), and Guest Posts. Of course, there is overlap among these features; aspects of teaching and learning are not easily categorized, nor should they be. Still, this format has helped us to find a rhythm that works well for us as writers, and, we hope, for our readers. You might have particular posts or writers that you find yourself especially connecting to, or you might appreciate the variety of voices and approaches.

Back to winter, with its short days and long to-do lists. I thought it would be valuable to do some collective inquiry into what we’re doing to build and maintain positive energy for ourselves and our students. So, you’re invited to respond to any or all of the following:

  • How is collaboration or mentoring with colleagues fueling your enthusiasm for teaching and learning?
  • What are you reading that is energizing you or causing you to think differently?
  • What are you writing that is helping you to grow as a teacher/writer/learner?
  • What changes are you making/planning to make in your teaching practice that you and your students are excited about?


Share your thoughts with us; find the energy in collective inquiry.

???????????Janice Ewing is an adjunct for Cabrini College and a co-director for the Pennsylvania Writing & Literature Project. Janice co-facilitates PAWLP’s “Continuity Days” and this blog. She is an avid reader and writer, and especially enjoys writing poems.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Linda BRACH #

    Janice, I’m Currently reading and loving “how to read like a professor” I teach high school English, 10th and 11th, fiction and film, and SAT prep. While on sabbatical I’m getting moments to breathe, which I never have during the school year. I can’t wait to incorporate Foster’s ideas when I teach Midsummer Nights Dream, the Crucible, and The Great Gatsby.


    March 29, 2016
  2. Janice, Thank you for pausing and thinking about the evolution of the blog and asking readers to pause and think about their teaching lives and the rhythms and inspirations that fuel their lives. Your questions prompted me to reflect on what is energizing my teaching life and why? – I am infusing my teaching with a focus on sustainability and this has made all the difference. . . it seems the “golden thread” or spirituality that I’ve been searching for — while I wrote several pages in response to your question/s — in this space, I just want to thank you for always prompting me to think more deeply and thoughtfully about what I do and why. You are a fabulous colleague and friend. Stay tuned for more on sustainability . . .


    February 6, 2016

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