The Wall

As we moved closer to Veterans Day, I began to realize that very few of my seventh graders had any inkling of the importance of the holiday. We read a few articles and watched a few videos, but World War I, President Wilson, and armistice were foreign topics for these children of the new millennium. […]

On Writing A Book, Promise Kept

writing a book

Yes, you can write a book, or another. It really starts with desire, a strong sense of purpose and a lot of tenacity. I’m on the ‘another’ category and it’s feeling really grand to be completing the project, although every day I say I’m done and it’s never quite. But close enough tonight. I admit […]


At school, we have a new program that allows teachers to monitor students as they work online. One cool feature allows us to simply shut down a student if he is not on the assigned site for the day. It is fun watching their reactions to being instantly blocked. Another great feature allows me to […]

Writer to Writer


Micah was the last to leave my reading class this morning at the college. He is one of twenty high school juniors taking my class for dual credit. I had written an online compliment for one of his assignments, letting him know that his writing was fantastic and definitely superior to the work of the […]

Teaching Writing for the 21st Century


In 2001, when I was a junior at Brimmer and May in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts—an independent school where I now also teach—my academic writing benefited tremendously from one-on-one instruction. I learned to write concisely, think analytically, and consult credible sources to deepen my insights. It’s nearly impossible to overstate the role my mastery of academic […]

Beyond Pop Culture: Helping Students Dig Deeper with Their Writing

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What do Taylor Swift, The Hunger Games, and Snapchat have in common? The answer is: they’re all big in pop culture for teens and tweens. That makes them likely topics for papers, should you invite your students to write about what matters most to them. But are these topics going to require your students to […]

What Comes First, the Writing or the Blogging?


The Problem In a previous district, I got my hand slapped for encouraging third graders to blog (using Kidblog, which was free at the time). The given rationale behind the hand slapping was something to the effect of, “These kids have trouble writing, and you want them to blog?!?” So, what comes first, the writing […]

Can Students Learn to Write Well in the Age of Tweets and Texts?

kid texting

Harvard education specialist Tony Wagner recently identified effective written and oral communication skills as being among the seven key skills necessary for when students leave school. But how do we cultivate effective written communication skills? How do we foster enthusiasm for writing in the age of tweets and texts? Those are some of the questions […]

The Science Notebook-A Personal Preference

What’s in a Science Notebook? There were a few moments as a new science teacher where I was stunned at how much thought I put into something that students didn’t bat an eye at. One such instance was arranging desks (we can tackle this in another post) and another was deciding on what system I […]

Use these 10 educational online resources to write A+ essays


Have you ever made your best efforts to write a brilliant paper according to your professor’s instructions? That didn’t result well, did it? Don’t worry; all students have been in your shoes in one point or another. The difference between successful students and below-average achievers is that people of the first category never give up. […]