Good Read: Teaching Argument Writing by George Hillocks, Jr.

Although I try to avoid thinking about school during most of my summer vacation (with the exception of a few days of training and curriculum writing), I usually make a goal of reading at least one book focused on pedagogy or instruction.  So, when I came across this list of “Underappreciated Books for ELA Teachers” by Kelly Gallagher and saw Teaching Argument Writing by George Hillocks, Jr, I decided to give it a try.  And I am so glad I did!  It is definitely one of the best books I have read on writing instruction.  I loved the balance between theory and practice that made it both instructive and engaging. Continue reading “Good Read: Teaching Argument Writing by George Hillocks, Jr.”

Lessons Learned by a First Year Teacher

As goes the cliché, my first year of teaching was rough.  At the time, it was only my campus’ second year of being open, so there were a lot of processes that were not yet put into place.  The district did not have an ESL curriculum, and I was (and still am) the only ESL teacher on campus.  It was the school’s first year to have juniors, so we were starting from scratch teaching American literature.  On top of all of that, I was adjusting to my first full-time job and the stress that it brings.  At times, I didn’t feel like I had the energy to make it through the year.  Nevertheless, I made it through, and I have completed two more since then.  It was hard to imagine at the time, but things really do get easier.  There are still so many challenges, but I now have resources and support to help me face them.  Here is a reflection I wrote at the end of my first year about a few of the lessons I learned that extend far beyond just the classroom: Continue reading “Lessons Learned by a First Year Teacher”

Beginning the Year with Suitcase Introductions

All teachers understand the importance of the first day of school.  It is not only the day when you set the standards and begin to develop the classroom atmosphere, but also when you get to know your students and make your first impression.  The challenge is finding something that is engaging without being cheesy. Continue reading “Beginning the Year with Suitcase Introductions”

My Classroom

One of the reasons I love my classroom is that it looks so different every hour, because I teach American Literature and English as a Second Language. One period I may have a class of 30 juniors analyzing complex literature, and the next, I may have only six students who speak very little English working on speaking in complete sentences.  I love the diversity this schedule brings with the types of students I work with and the type of work we do. Continue reading “My Classroom”