By Diane Esolen Dougherty
Several years ago Time magazine devoted its cover story to the latest wunderkind educational reformer. It was an in-depth look at “state of the art” practices in education, particularly in teacher accountability. One anecdote from the article was telling, at least to me. The reformer was doing a walk-through in an elementary school in the district. After observing a teacher for several minutes (yes, I wrote minutes), her decision was made. “I’ve seen everything I need to see,” she said. Nothing of merit was happening in that third-grade classroom. The teacher was conducting a class meeting, and class meetings are not instructional. All class time was to be devoted solely to instruction. Read more
We are celebrating the one year anniversary of the PAWLP blog, and what a year it’s been! To celebrate our one year “blogiversary,” we’ve collected some posts from this past year that may be particularly useful to teachers as a new school year begins.
So in case you missed them, here are a “baker’s dozen” – thirteen blog posts with some practical tips and inspiration. We hope that you enjoy reading our blog and encourage you to comment, ask questions, and share your own experiences. We would love to hear from you! Read more
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 Lynne R. Dorfman
I have always known that research begins with a burning question – one that needs to be answered to satisfy that “Curious George” persona in all of us. As my students have engaged in content area learning in the past, I now realize that I was perhaps too quick to send them off on a journey (not always a journey of student choice either). We all know how important the three Cs are to student learning – choice, challenge, and collaboration. But what if your students don’t have a burning question to ignite their quest? Read more
By Tricia Ebarvia
Last week I explained how I help students discover an inquiry question through independent research. Below, read on to lean more about our drafting process and the final products.
At the core of the inquiry paper is Kenneth Burke’s contention that writing is like “entering a conversation.” No doubt others have written about music and feminism, for example, but I encourage students to think of their final paper as their way of adding their voice to the ongoing conversation about their topic. Read more
By Tricia Ebarvia
I vividly remember the pile of 3 ½ x 5 index cards I used to collect information for the dreaded junior year research paper. I also remember my teacher, Mrs. Caum, telling us exactly how our paper needed to look, from the in-text citations to the footnotes.
While the type of academic writing I did that year was valuable—I did, after all, become an English major—I’m not sure how authentic that experience was, then and especially today. The fact is that nothing screams “school” more than a traditional research paper, double-spaced in 12-pt Times New Roman font with an MLA heading and works cited page. No doubt that students should know how to do that type of academic writing. But now that I find myself as the teacher who assigns that dreaded research paper, I’ve thought about ways to make the experience more meaningful for my students. Read more