English Teacher Party: A Look into the Real Life of an English Teacher

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Writer’s Notebook Strategies October 19, 2010

Each day I try to give my students a new writing strategy with their writers notebook. Aimee Buckner’s book Notebook Know How has several strategies and ways to incorporate writer’s notebooks into your classroom.   I also use Roberta Allen’s book The Playful Way to Serious Writing. I have decided though that any mini-writing lesson can be a strategy. I have branched out on my own and have come up with a few strategies on my own.

I do grade my students’ notebooks. 9 weeks have come and gone. Last week I graded my 6th and 7th graders’ writer’s notebooks. I was impressed with how many students used the writing strategies taught in class with their own entries. My classes are to write 3 home entries a week in their notebooks. At the end of the quarter, I have my students count all of their class entries and then all of their home entries. I like to separate the two so I can tell who is writing at home.

This week my 7th graders are working on writing of choice so I wanted them to have another poetry type idea, so today I read them several examples of odes. I got the idea from Georgia Heard’s book Writing Toward Home. I would like to share with you the ode I wrote today with my students.

Picture came from Babycenter.com


Ode to My Hair

Oh, how

I love thee

Your wispy strands

Glistening in the sun

You are a fashion


Without you

I would be



Andi N.


STAR: a way to revise June 22, 2010

This week I am teaching at a summer writing camp in Martin, TN, which is affiliated with the West Tennessee Writing Project. The students have been writing stories using the Harris Burdick poster series. One of my co-workers had the students answer questions to create a round and dynamic character. After creating their character,  the students were to choose a plot, which was a poster from the Harris Burdick series. We had the students write their story using the character questions and poster.

Today, for my mini-lesson on revision, I used Kelley Gallagher’s idea on revision. He uses the acronym STAR. Below is the meaning of star:


Take things out



As a group we brainstormed ways to use STAR in our writing. After brainstorming and discussing how to implement star, I brought in Nancie Atwell’s revision idea of spider legs. The main concept is to add “legs” (revisions) to your writing. We made a spider head and pasted it to the top of the writing. I modeled to my students where I would place each “leg” in my writing. Soon the students were revising. This was a good opportunity to share our revisions too.


Great Finds December 31, 2007

For Christmas I recieved 3 great books to help me teach writing craft, teach the context of writing with grammar, and revision. I love books and I think these titles would be beneficial to any teacher who teaches English and writing.

Writing Whizardry: 60 Mini-lessons to Teach Elaboration and Writer’s Craft by Maity Schrecengost

whizardryThis book is my favorite out of the three. It presents the lesson with examples and non-examples of elaboration or craft then gives practice. After practicing there is applying the knowlege learned. I highly recommend this book if you want help with teaching elaboration and craft.

Writiwriting workshpng Workshop Survival Kit 2nd Edition by Gary Robert Muschla

 This book is packed with anything you need to know on creating a writing workshop to managing your writing workshop. It also includes 100 mini-lessons that focus on the types of writing, writing techniques, and the mechanics of writing.



Hot Fudge Monday:Tasty Ways to Teach Parts of Speech… by Randy Larson


This book is an unique way to teaching the parts of speech with the context of writing. This is an easy way to start teaching grammar in the context of writing. The book includes reproducibles that are not like worksheets you get with your grammar textbook. After practicing the skill, students apply the lesson with writing.


I can’t wait to start the new year off with my new great finds. I hope these books help you too!