Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Watching Them Fly

Miss Whitcomb and I are beginning to push our Pre-AP birdies out of their comfortable nest this week.  This is going to be hard.  We need to not swoop in and save them.  We need to let them stretch their wings and falter a bit.  That's when the true learning and growing happens.

When they ask for help, we need to ask questions, not provide answers.

They will be stronger in the long run!

(Thanks for listening to my pep talk to myself!)

Happy learning,

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Never A Dull Moment!

It goes without saying, there is never a dull moment when teaching middle school!  However, it is possible to fall into a rut of "this is the way we've always done xyz."  That is dull... for everyone involved.

I do appreciate routine and roughly knowing where the boat is headed and the approximate route we'll take to arrive at the destination.  This year, though, I'm doing a better job of "mixing it up" a bit!

As the last post referenced, we tried a new project in Pre-AP.  

  • Was it flawless?  Not even close!
  • Did we all learn from the experience?  YES!  
  • Will I do it again next year?  With some tweaks, YES!
It was great for the students to apply informative writing in a new style -- -- as a journalist.  They also had to find and explain an editorial comic.  They LOVED this (and so did I!)!  Great stuff!

Now, we're mixing things up again...

  • Pre-AP reading & writing are going to be woven together this quarter for memoir reading & argumentative writing.  Super excited to see this play out!
  • March is going to be consumed with Slice of Life writing.
Remember, never a dull moment!  :)

Happy learning!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Giving It A "Go"

"Growth Mindset" is a popular phrase these days.  

It's the idea of, "Are you willing to try something new even if it might fail?"  Also, "How do you look at failure?  Is it defining?  Is it a learning opportunity?"

In many parts of my life, I do have a growth mindset.  This is certainly true in my professional life.  Today, my Pre-AP classes are jumping into an entirely new to me project.  I'm excited.  Will it be flawless?  Nope.  Will we all learn something?  That's certainly the goal!

Hope you're learning and growing today too!


Tuesday, November 13, 2018

"Present Over Perfect"

I'm currently reading "Present Over Perfect" by Shauna Niequist.  This is a collection of essays about being who you truly are instead of who you present yourself to be.

Last night I read the title essay.  Seems fitting as I sit down to blog this morning where.... again.... I've missed weeks.

That's OK!  It's better to take a stab at this than to give up because of not being perfect.

This has been a year of change, and that is always difficult.  Gonna keep fighting the good fight & hanging in there!  Hope you'll do the same!

Happy learning,

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Invaluable Resource

Whoops... missed the 23rd, but I'm here today!  Yeah!!!

A resource I could not teach writing without is Laura Robb's Smart Writing handbooks.  I have a boxed set of these in a paper form.  However, much of what's in the books is available here.  If you're new to teaching writing, treat yourself to the boxed set.  It is worth every single penny!

By the way, I was not paid for this!  I just love it so much!

Happy learning,

Friday, October 12, 2018

Still Here...

I have let meetings and busyness get in the way of blogging.  That is not good.  Here's to a recommitment to my Tuesday blogging.

What IS faithfully happening are my daily #ShareThePositive tweets.  You can find me on Twitter @HooferHeniusHR.  

Since I've blogged last, students have finished personal narratives.  We've written to pen pals a few times.  Yesterday we followed the Pike Road to Research to start building background information for informative essays.

Learning and growing is a process.  I'm growing in my abilities to write and reflect regularly.  

See you again on the 23rd!

Happy learning,

Monday, September 17, 2018

Authenticity Breeds Excitement

A frustration I've had for a long time with teaching writing is that my students do not write to an authentic audience.  While I am a reader, in their eyes, I am "just" a teacher who has to read their writing.  

Real-world writing almost always involves an authentic audience.  There is a small percentage of the population which writes only for their own personal enjoyment.  However, the vast majority of people only write when there is a reason and a person on the other end of the message.

I knew I needed to bring that to writing class, but I just didn't know how.

I am a part of an excellent PLC on Facebook called 2ndaryELA.  This is a massively large group of English teachers from around the world.  Over the summer, someone posted about wanting electronic pen pals.  I knew this might solve the authenticity problem I was experiencing, but I wanted a paper-and-pencil relationship.  I posted in the comments that I was looking for "old fashioned" pen pals, and I left it at that.  

Mrs. Burrow from Texas was also looking for paper-and-pencil pen pals, and a match was made!

We have written to our new friends twice, and we have received mail once.  

"Mail Call!" day was ELECTRIC in my classroom!  A student said, "I didn't know an envelope could make me so happy."  

Putting myself out there and being a bit vulnerable has made a huge difference for my students!

Happy learning,