The “From the Classroom” column is back and with a new—and improved—format! This year, we have a new opportunity for PAWLP Fellows—an open invitation to contribute to the “From the Classroom” column and share all the good work that you’re doing in your classrooms.
Below, PAWLP Fellow Jen Greene shares a lesson she uses with her 2nd graders to teach about specific word choice—and right in time for Halloween! And if you feel inspired after reading Jen’s wonderful post, please consider sharing your own favorite lesson here on the blog! To learn more about contributing, please click here. Read more
By Tricia Ebarvia
My AP Lang students are currently working on their “On” essays—writing on anything they choose.
There’s a long tradition of “On” essays in the world… and by an “On” essay, I mean any essay whose title starts with the word “On…” (although, really, isn’t anything an “On” essay if it’s on a topic? The distinction for my purposes in teaching is really just technical). We read essays like “On Keeping a Notebook” by Joan Didion and “On Dumpster Diving” by Lars Eighner, which explore process. We read a contemporary essay like “On Compassion” by Barbara Ascher and a 19th century essay like “On Running After One’s Hat” by G. K. Chesterton, which delve into the philosophical as well as social commentary. We read “On Being a Cripple” by Nancy Mairs and “On Being Black and Middle Class” by Shelby Steele,” which focus on identity. We read essays by Lewis Thomas, whose essays,“On Warts” and “On Probability and Possibility,” are some of the best examples of elegant science writing—and writing in general—I’ve encountered. And still we read other essays whose titles don’t begin with the word “On” but embody the ethos of writing on what it means, ultimately, to be in the world—essays like “The Jacket” by Gary Soto and “Me Talk Pretty” by David Sedaris and “Salvation” by Langston Hughes.
We study and celebrate these writers and their craft. We ask ourselves questions that help us read like writers: What can I take away from this? What can I learn? What can I steal? Because my AP Lang students read Austin Kleon’s Steal Like an Artist for summer reading, we remind ourselves to embrace being artistic thieves. We look at the ways in which these essays explain, define, and describe; how they use anecdotes and allusions; how they feature both insight and curiosity; how they zoom in and zoom out. Read more
By Andrea Bensusan
I recently rediscovered one of the great joys of teaching – the writing conference. A grade level change to 4th – after 16 years in 6th – hurled me for the first time into the world of “teacher of everything.” Increased specialization at my 5/6 building had me teaching only Social Studies, and now I found myself in a self-contained classroom. It was a strange feeling being a veteran and a rookie at the same time. Every day has brought challenges and joys, and the return to a role as teacher of writing has been one of those joys. Read more
"Managing 20+ 4th graders during Writer’s Workshop was nightmarish at best. Everyone wanted my attention NOW! I never felt I spent enough time with any student, some students never seemed to conference with me, and when given “editor’s checklists,” they always checked everything as great, when it most certainly was not."
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