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Once upon a time, in a suburban St. Louis County high school almost thirty years ago, there studied a girl who couldn’t seem to write an essay to save her life. She watched the papers come back. AP European History—D-. AP English—C. But owing to smaller class sizes and tenacious teachers who bled all over her paper with red ink, this girl began to see her mistakes. She tightened. She tweaked. She revised. She edited.  Continue reading...
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Recently I made a big gaffe in one of my columns. Despite the fact I read my columns over dozens of times, and then I have a peer edit, and then there's a Visual Thesaurus editor who reads and edits, I still misspelled the name of one of my favorite authors. (I also was chided for making up words, but as an author that's my creative prerogative and we can debate my taking that license another time.)  Continue reading...
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Literature is everywhere. Well, literary allusions are everywhere, that is.

Students of today live in a time where they have always known cable television, computers and cell phones. Movies come in the mail or via the Wii. Yet that doesn’t mean the classics of literature have faded away. They are around — often referenced in new forms or adapted completely.  Continue reading...
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Teacher/novelist Michele Dunaway writes, "as much as I preach individual choice in reading, I do believe there should be some literary works that everyone in middle and high school reads and experiences." Here Michele shares some of her favorite teaching touchstones.  Continue reading...
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Michele Dunaway, a teacher of English and journalism, writes: "In our haste to have students prep for standardized tests, English education has left behind a very important area: writing the letter."  Continue reading...
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(Read part one of "The Nitty-Gritty Essay" here.)

I'm not sure what the deal is, but people have a fixation with five-paragraph essays. It's as if five is some magical number that a good essay must have. However, that couldn't be further from the truth. Some essays simply aren't worth five paragraphs, and can suffice with three or even four paragraphs. Some need ten or more. For those writers who struggle with composition, it's what's in the paragraphs that counts, and how long the paragraphs are.  Continue reading...
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Okay, let's be honest. I'll go on record and say it. Some students are naturally more gifted at writing essays than others. Oftentimes these are the students to whom writing simply springs forth. It doesn't matter if it's narrative, persuasive, expository or descriptive, these students' paragraphs simply flow and their choice of words seems innate. These students naturally gravitate to the honors level classes, expanding their essays in ways that make teachers' eyes tear up with joy.  Continue reading...
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3 4 5 6 7 Displaying 29-35 of 44 Articles