It is all because of writing

You know those teacher conversations? The ones that begin with “Gosh, I don’t know what’s gotten into so-and-so,” or maybe “His grades have really dropped.” I listen to teachers in the lounge commiserate about how to motivate our students. As high school teachers, we fight a battle, or maybe more accurately, wage a war, against hormones and extracurricular sports; against […]

Assessment and/or Learning in Transition

In answer to Bob’s initial questions (In our current models of writing assessment, both high school and postsecondary, do we measure achievement, or learning? Is there a way to measure both?), I’d say we primarily measure achievement in the form of a finished document.  We break these down and assess them categorically, and assign a grade based on how well […]

Great Teacher Dream

  I want to comment on something that used to obsess me when I was a younger teacher.  I wanted to be a great teacher.  Yep, nothing less. Now that I have almost 20 years behind me, I see that great teachers cannot exist in our time. My great teachers smoked in front of the class and talked in oblique […]

How Mouse Soup Helps Me Grade Papers

“A mouse sat under a tree.  He was reading a book.” – Arnold Lobel As teachers of writing, we read lots of papers.  Lots, and lots, and lots of papers. Usually I start off very enthusiastic about the whole thing, excited to see how far they have progressed since I last saw a draft or spoke with them about their […]

How many pages does it have to be?

How many pages does this have to be???? I teach three sections of ninth grade English at Lamar School in Meridian.  I love teaching freshmen; they are so unsure of this whole high school thing and are, for the most part, pretty eager to please.  Translation:  the perfect guinea pigs for me!  Our school, like most, stresses writing.  The students […]