For Teachers

One Book. Three Types of Nonfiction: A Lesson For Students on How and Why to Use Different Types of Nonfiction in Their Writing

My picture book biography, Monet Paints a Day, (Charlesbridge, 2011),was written using three different kinds of nonfiction.  This was done because I had so much interesting information to present but wasn’t sure what information to leave in and what to leave out. In short, I faced the decision every writer faces as they move into …

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Teaching Students How to Revise: A First Step

Throughout my years as a writing teacher, I consistently saw that many students didn’t know how to effectively revise.  “My sentences are complete, and I’ve corrected my spelling. I’m done,” they would tell me. But they weren’t.  And even if they had beautiful language, a well-organized beginning, middle and end, and grammatically correct paragraphs, their …

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Four Essential Attributes Every Writer Needs (And Teachers Too!)

Obviously, as a writer, it is important to continually work at understanding your craft and improving your skills. However, to my mind, just as important to literary success is purposefully developing the irreplaceable attributes of a writer’s mindset; patience, perserverance, the ability to reflect, and most important of all, self-forgiveness. Patience: We all know that …

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What Teachers Can Learn About Motivation from NFL Coach Gary Kubiak

I am not a football fan, but when I taught middle school, I pretended to be one, so I’d have something to talk about to some of the boys in my class.  I will admit though, to discovering that I really liked the motivational stories of players’ grit and determination.  As I read about the …

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Optimism and an “I Believe in You” Attitude Are Powerful Teaching Tools

We’ve all heard the saying, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Now, substitute the word teacher for mama. And then, substitute the words optimistic and supportive for the first happy in the quote. You now have a new, albeit, less memorable saying: If the teacher isn’t optimistic and supportive of student success, then the …

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