How Assertion Journals Can Inspire and Challenge Your Students

They're analytical. They're argumentative. They're intriguing. They're bite-sized. Assertion journals are hands-down my favorite way to teach and assess writing. Here's how they work: Students are given anĀ assertion, usually in the form of a pithy quotation. How much context you want to give your students is totally up to you. I just project the assertion … Continue reading How Assertion Journals Can Inspire and Challenge Your Students

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Trash It or Stash It?

Giggles in the back corner. Whispers in the middle. A shifty glance. Knowing nods in the front.  No, my students are not plotting to mutiny (not today, at least).  "TRASH IT!" They chorus. A sticky note gets crumpled and tossed in the recycling bin on my desk. A few students scribble frantically in their notes.  … Continue reading Trash It or Stash It?

Get Out of the Kiddie Pool!

This was the mantra repeated by a presenter at one of the first AP conferences I attended. We were examining methods to break students out of shallow analysis. The past few years of teaching AP Lang have convinced me that teaching students to write really comes down to three things: thesis statements, organization, and support. … Continue reading Get Out of the Kiddie Pool!

How to Teach Analysis Like a Boss

In my last post, I made a case against the five paragraph essay as an appropriate analytical structure for high school students. The closed thesis, redundancy, and built-in limitations to critical thinking ultimately hold students back from their best work. If not the five-paragraph essay, then what? I'm going to take you on a tour … Continue reading How to Teach Analysis Like a Boss