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Showing posts from November, 2015

Ten Quotes Worth Considering

I saw Kelly Gallagher (@KellyGToGo) tweet out his top ten quotes from the National Council of Teachers of English's Fall Convention, so I thought I would do something similar. Here are ten golden lines that I know I will be thinking about in the months ahead:

"Our voices are more powerful when we're together." - Beth Shaum (@BethShaum) "We engage in the fantasy that there will be an audience someday."  -Brian Sweeney "Evaluation stops the learning. It sorts kids." -Penny Kittle (@PennyKittle) "School is a place where young people go to watch old people work." -Jeff Wilhelm (@ReadDRjwilhelm) "We need to change the language that we use to identify our readers." -Kwame Alexander (@kwamealexander) "They're out babies and we love them." -Ernest Morrell (@ernestmorrell) "Teach like our lives depend on it because too often their lives will." -David E. Kirkland (@davidekirkland) "Just because we invite and …

Sometimes You Just have to Stop What You're Doing

Last week, things broke down with one of my classes. Students are required to bring a writing prompt to class three times during the semester, and a prompt quickly segued into a discussion that stressed our classroom's sense of community. (I think I blogged earlier about this class and the Thanksgiving feast-like arrangement of desks on the first day of school and the insistence that everyone must sit together because "we're family.") It was a prompt that I thought was "safe" but could lead to uncomfortable conversations, which is when we learn the most.

It was then that I remembered a line a professor shared during office hours in college: "When a conversation devolves into that of good versus evil, all room for negotiation has gone out the window." And that's what happened.

When students talk in front of their peers, they take incredible risks. Students analyze the discourse of the other students in the room, even when they think they don…