December 11, 2009

Essay Writing and Attacking Standardized Tests

Calling all English teachers!!


Drop your red pen and the twinkie and crawl out of the abyss for a minute. I want to talk to you delusional yet idealistic people.

I, like you, am an English teacher. I, like you, giggle at dorky word plays. They are, indeed, very very punny.

And I, like you, have labored and cried lonely tears over wadded scraps of scribbled papers when it comes time to grade essays. You know what I'm talking about.  The moments where you sit and wonder if you were indeed the only person conscious during your lessons.

Which is why I want to share some great news... There is no hope so quit trying.

Just kidding. Did I surprise anyone? Just wanted to shake things up a bit there.

I stumbled upon a little something last year that gave me such glimmers of hope I could barely keep my coffee riddled self still.

I will unveil that "something" to you now. And "it" is actually a person. A her actually. Gretchen Bernabei.



(Photo courtesy of Discover Writing)
 Gretchen has a different approach to writing that works from 3rd grade up to... me. And I highly recommend it. Check out her website Trail of Breadcrumbs. She offers fun and relevant ways to make writing accessible to the most uninterested student, and ensures fun essay writing and enables your students to feel confident in attacking their standardized test.

Last week I went to a workshop in Dallas. I even packed Jacob's point and shoot and it took a whopping two pictures before stating it was "full", just like a lanky supermodel over lunch... Anywho. I'm pictureless.

But the conference was great as were all of the materials I had stumbled across. My students have been having a ball writing "Ba-da-bings" and coming up with essays they actually love and want to share.



The most helpful book of all has been Crunchtime. (Photo Courtesy of Heinemann).

As we sat in a room of hundreds of other English teachers- all tickled pink to be sitting among other adults on a "school day" and able to glance at our phones like normal carefree humans- Gretchen put up a transparency with my friend Jennifer's name on it!! (Jennifer now lives in California). What are the chances of that?!

Now seriously, go check this book out.

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