By Lynne R. Dorfman
Writing, like life itself, is a voyage of discovery.
– Henry Miller
We all want our students to think deeply about their writing and reading, learn how to assimilate information, and in some way take the new learning and make it their own. In writing workshop, the teacher becomes the facilitator of creative options and the students become innovators, applying knowledge in new ways.
By Maryellen Kenney
There is never enough time in a teacher’s life. We are highly functioning, incredibly dedicated professionals who, at some point, come to accept that there are only 24 hours in our day and we really need 25. Over time, we hone our craft to include only the most important, most valuable practices that best serve us. Reflection is one of those essential practices.
Most people think reflection occurs after the fact, at the end of the unit, after the first marking period is over, during semester break over the summer. It can and does happen then, but not only then. Reflection is ongoing.
By Judy Jester
The first time I wrote a piece for Voices in the Middle, I intended merely to document the nuts and bolts of the annual poetry slam I run at my school. It was fun. Here’s how you do it. But that’s more of the Instructor magazine type article. NCTE expects you to explain why such an endeavor is worthwhile. In attempting to clarify this for others, I discovered it myself. The poetry competition isn’t only fun; it fosters better writing as well. In what eventually resulted in Audience and Revision: Middle Schoolers Slam Poetry (Feb. 1997), I documented the results of interviews with students who said that they revised their poems far more because they knew they would be performing them in front of their peers. Read more
By Monica DeMuro
Reflection is something we’re all taught as educators going through college. For some of us, by the time we graduate, reflection becomes rote, something we have to check off at the end of the semester. It became that way for me. At times, I felt as though I was reflecting upon reflecting upon reflecting. I couldn’t take it anymore! Like many methods learned in our education classes, the value of reflection only became realized in practice in the real life classroom. Read more
By Diane Esolen Dougherty
It seemed like a great idea. It worked in Up the Down Staircase! What could possibly go wrong? My seniors seemed to have been engaged, enthusiastic even, in our study of Hamlet. “Let’s put Hamlet on trial for the deaths of Claudius and Gertrude,” I said. I planned the project painstakingly, making certain that every class member had a role. I specified precisely what each role necessitated. I steered the required research. I indicated the minimum and maximum time limits for each presentation. I offered extra credit for providing props and I encouraged cooperative grouping. What I didn’t foresee was the abysmal flop that my exquisite planning failed to prevent. Read more
By Gaetan Pappalardo
I circled the neighborhood looking for a place to park that wasn’t too, well…suspicious? I wasn’t breaking the law, even though I felt a little mischievous. Bangor, Maine in April is pretty desolate. I couldn’t hide in a crowd or park in a lot. The streets are wide. It’s quiet. I drove around the block a few times trying to gather the nerve to park, excitement growing with each pass. There’s no mistaking his house. He’s definitely not hiding from the public’s eye. The black gargoyles perched atop the wrought iron fence were a dead giveaway. Stephen King has lived here since 1980. He’s spent time in various locations in Maine throughout his life and also did a stint in Boulder, Colorado where he wrote The Shining, but Maine is his home.
When asked, “Why Bangor? Why did you pick this place to settle down and write?”