As a high school English teacher, I faced a dilemma every February. Throughout the year, I assigned texts by African American writers, including Phillis Wheatley, Frederick Douglass, Langston Hughes, and Zora Neale Hurston. After all, their voices were central to any discussion of American literature. For Black History Month, however,
Tag: English language arts
In June, we launched our free, online lesson-building tool, Crio. Since then many teachers have created and shared their lessons. But for those yet to jump in, I’ll bet there are at least three questions you've asked yourself. So, let me answer them! Why should I create Crio lessons? Because with
The purpose of our innovative Writing Reviser tool is both significant and, I think, subtle—the tool aims to teach students how to write. No one would argue that this is easy. It isn't. We’ve all seen writing programs that take the “easy” path—marking student errors, subjecting students to endless “drill and kill”
When I’ve had the chance over the last few years to show Writing Reviser in classrooms and at conferences, I’ve been careful to point that its purpose is not punitive. Specifically, I mean that the tool does not simply search for and highlight mistakes that student writers inevitably make. Instead,
Good news! We’ve revised the Writing Reviser. We’re happy to announce a number of exciting new features we’ve recently added to the Writing Reviser menu to help students select words that are more vivid, accurate, and powerful. Give meaning to those empty expressions. A new feature in the Sentence Economy
We’ve revised and added features to Writing Reviser so that is is even more responsive to the needs of students! More specifically, we've bolstered the Writing Reviser menu to help students spot potentially problematic words and expressions, thus making their sentences clearer and more powerful. Tell the reader what “This” means.
Here’s good news! In the spirit that even good work can get better with revision, we’ve revised Writing Reviser. We think you'll be especially excited about a couple of new features to help students revise words and expressions in ways that will make their sentences more varied and powerful. Draw on
Every April we celebrate National Poetry Month, a time when verse-loving educators, media specialists, booksellers, and publishers introduce novel ways to promote poetry. Teachers plan special units on the Romantics, poetry lovers attend readings and symposiums, and we all expect to see releases of new and old titles. It’s a
Writing Reviser, the free Curriculum Pathways writing tool, allows student writers to focus on purpose and audience, essay structure, and expressiveness in their own drafts — rather than in some abstract textbook example in which they have no investment and (alas, too often) little interest. Available on the web and as a
Our Curriculum Pathways team has been hard at work to modernize existing resources and create new ones for you to use in your classroom this year. As always, please let us know if you cannot find a resource on a topic you're teaching. We'd love to add your suggestion to the
Working to reinforce the virtues extolled in our Writing Reviser, we’ve prepared a series of English language arts videos starring a lovable pit-bull named Muggs—aptly named after a dog owned by the famous American writer James Thurber. The synergy between the two tools has helped many students learn to write more forcefully,
The all-new online professional development offerings from Curriculum Pathways enable teachers to learn about new ideas and resources specific to their discipline areas and grade levels. Equally important, teachers focus on resources that model effective technology integration. This model fills a vital need identified by teachers, the National Schools Boards Association, the Center
The Byzantine particulars of documenting sources within a research paper and correctly formatting a final Works Cited page have frustrated students and teachers since the invention of papyrus. Worse, struggling to research the proper way to cite research sources steals valuable time from activities central to any writing class: refining the essay’s
Strings of choppy prepositional phrases often cripple student writing—especially when those phrases attempt to compensate for a weak verb, a tactic akin to filling up your radiator as a remedy for running out of gas. Consider this defilement of my first sentence: A common type of failing in writing by
A simple problem has long prevented students from revising their papers to correct mistakes with relative clauses: they can’t identify those clauses. Writing Reviser eliminates that problem. We highlight all the relative pronouns in an essay and present arrows pointing toward the word to which it relates. Students simply follow
Too often beginning writers revise their work without a clear sense of purpose. Sadly, that often results in a paper that becomes different rather than better, a process akin to someone blindly twisting and re-twisting a Rubik’s cube, uniformed by a larger strategy. The process can be painful to watch.
One of the easiest ways to lose a reader is to write a series of sentences with the exact same structure: “See Spot run. Watch him jump. Pet his head.” Compare that juvenile effect to one in which the student purposefully varies her sentence lengths: “Sitting in an expensive restaurant,
“Prefer active voice” may be the single most frequently dispensed injunction to improve writing. Strunk and White, George Orwell, and all student handbooks of the past 50 years extol the virtue of active verbs. But two problems often go unremarked: Students cannot reliably identify passive constructions in their own work.
Open the Statistics feature in the free Writing Reviser Google Doc Add-on, and you’ll see an elaborate but easy-to-read analysis of your entire essay. It’s the writerly equivalent of a blood test report, except that instead of listing your cholesterol level and lipid profile, we diagnose statistics crucial to the revision process.
Autonomy leads to engagement Research supports time-on-task as a proven strategy in developing reading skills. Studies show that students’ time spent engaged directly correlates to achievement levels. The more they are engaged, the more they learn. The key word is engaged. Simply allocating time to read during the school day
Students increasingly use Google Docs to complete essays, lab reports, blog posts, and other writing tasks. That’s why Curriculum Pathways has created free digital resources; they include a revision add-on and a punctuation tool—both of which help students who use Google Docs improve any type of writing. So if you’re attending
Winter is over, and it’s time to soak in the sunshine vitamin. Many activities usually done in the classroom can be modified and conducted outdoors. The benefits of outdoor learning are well documented. Research shows exposure to the natural world is important to children’s social, psychological, intellectual, and physical health. Equally
All learners have comfort zones. I find it enjoyable, for example, to grapple with the complexities and rhetorical puzzles that James Joyce offers up in his novel Ulysses. But we also know our discomfort zones— concepts or subject areas that make us nervous or unsettled. Give me anything written by
We called her the Diagram Queen. She was a small woman, probably no taller than five feet, but her students looked upon her as a giant. Each day, she would greet us with a smile and utter these simple instructions: “Students, take out a sheet of paper. Before we start
I don’t need to make the case that providing students with models of good writing can be a powerful tool for improving their work. That’s why I want to feature in this Buried Treasures post the Argument Writing section from inContext, our massive network of terms, definitions, and activities that
For English language arts, any discussion of Buried Treasures would be incomplete without a mention of the research wizard from the Writing Navigator series. The four products in this series guide students through the writing process (planning, drafting, revising, and publishing). But students who wish to support their ideas with quotations
In this Buried Treasures post, I want to spotlight a powerful little writing exercise you may not have discovered. It’s a sentence-modeling activity that appears in all nine titles of the English Poetry Series, but you can apply it to any writing task that requires text analysis. In the series,
If you are a regular reader of the blog posts on this site, you may recall that our curriculum specialists occasionally identify and describe some of their favorite SAS Curriculum Pathways resources. For example, 5 SAS Curriculum Pathways Hidden Gems highlights valuable—but often overlooked—lessons in math, English, science, social studies,
We all know the feeling. Call it "punctuation despair." The sense that you're about to do something dreadfully wrong. Sartre might have called it "l'inquiétude de la virgule incertaine" ("the disquiet of the uncertain comma"). Your writing assignment is due, and you’re still not sure whether the semicolon in your
The SAS Curriculum Pathways team suffered a loss recently, as writer and editor Tim McBride’s American Staffordshire Terrier (Pit bull), Muggs passed away at the age of 10. Now, many of us have pets and we don’t usually spend much time chronicling them here. But Muggs was different. Over the