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You Can Teach Writing

By: Linda Aragoni | May 04, 2018

A few decades ago, after covering a city council meeting the evening before, when I reported to work on day two of my second reporting job, the managing editor asked me what news came out of the meeting.

I told him the important story was about a major waterline project being considered that would take years and cost millions, but the story readers would be interested in was that a traffic light was going to be installed at a certain busy intersection.

By: Linda Aragoni | April 27, 2018

Man in forest looking up at treetops out of sight.

What gives the tree its shape and color is its roots that ground and nourish it unseen.

Category: Language & literacy 

Tags: writing 

By: Linda Aragoni | April 20, 2018

icon of basketball player. text asks teachers if they keep students from practicing badly.

As with any skill — from baking to basketball — even if someone practices diligently, that person's skills won't improve if they practice incorrectly. Part of writing teachers' duties is to make sure students practice writing correctly.

By: Linda Aragoni | April 05, 2018

Last week I wrote about why teachers, particularly English teachers, professional development depends on their reading around their field instead of just in their field.

I practice what I preach.

By: Linda Aragoni | April 04, 2018

If you're like most teachers, much of your reading is done to keep up in your field.

For ELA teachers, that typically means reading books about schools, about best practices in education, about new developments in teaching English and communications, and, of course, reading literature, particularly new fiction and your favorite classics.

By: Linda Aragoni | March 30, 2018

To give yourself an even chance of teaching writing to teens and adults, you need to phrase your goal in terms your students will not only understand but also will embrace as their goal.

It doesn't matter what the jargon is within your school or with the broader education community: If the way you describe why students must learn to write doesn't tap into something your students want for themselves, you're chances of teaching those students to write is pretty slim.

Category: Teaching writing 

Tags:

By: Linda Aragoni | March 23, 2018

In my last blog post, I said talked about the need to believe that every one of your students, whether teens or adults, can and will learn to write competently in your class. 

One of the ways you can make it easier to get all your students writing competently before your course is over is to help them set realistic expectations at the very beginning of the course.

By: Linda Aragoni | March 16, 2018

Carol Dweck showed that a growth mindset can be taught and that it matters.

If you teach teens and adults, that doesn't mean you can tell students they can learn to write competently and think you've done your bit toward promoting a growth mindset.

By: Linda Aragoni | March 09, 2018

The "five paragraph essay" is rarely presented as an essay outside of schools and even less rarely has just five paragraphs, yet even in 2018 it flourishes unnoticed as the organizational skeleton for most expository nonfiction that's not presented as a narrative.

Consider this: Revealing a skeleton ought to require a serious surgical operation. When you can see a skeleton beneath someone's skin, that means the person has a serious deficiency. That body is undernourished.

By: Linda Aragoni | March 02, 2018

Give explicit directions  so students can tell whether they did or did not meet your standard. Vague directions and hints are both unfair and counterproductive.

If material is essential for students to know, present it at least once from each primary learning mode. It's not  fair to expect all students to learn well the way you do.

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