What Being an Editor Taught Me About Writing — via Literary Hub

Regular readers of my blog know that I’m an aspiring writer, and I’ve been working on my book for a couple of years now between teaching and learning more about edtech.

Here’s a great blog post I came across that’s written by an editor-turned-writer. It presents some unique tips for writers, and I found it quite valuable. Here’s an interesting snippet:

Writing is Revision
This won’t come as news to anyone, but I can’t stress it enough. The first draft is important, because you are working out the ideas and the plot on the page, and getting that first draft finished is an accomplishment, but what really matters is how many times you are willing to revise that draft. In my mind, this is where the role of hard work—as opposed to God-given talent—comes in. Some people are preternaturally gifted and can dash off a beautiful paragraph with no effort, but they aren’t necessarily the ones who are willing to revise, and revise again, and revise again, until their computer desktop is so cluttered with different drafts that the background is no longer visible.

For more, read the complete article here at Literary Hub.

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Encourage Out-of-the-Box Thinking: #MyStudentMotivation Part 4

creativity

Teaching in a classroom often comes from prescribed curricula and textbook material. We teachers rely on lesson plans that help us ensure that all the required material is covered within the semester. Thankfully, we also are encouraged to tinker with our lesson plans to incorporate fun activities so that students really engage with the subject.

There is always scope for tweaking the assignments we give our students or even our in-class exercises to help them relate better to out-of-the-classroom subjects that they deal with in everyday life. The opportunities for these kinds of activities occur more so in language classes, especially ESL courses, where we are required to incorporate the teaching of culture along with the structure and vocabulary of a language.

As teachers, it is our responsibility to make use of these opportunities to get our students invest more of themselves in each class project so that their learning becomes more personal, and thus, more memorable to them. More importantly, this helps students think outside the box.

Here are a few methods that worked wonders with my students.

Beginning the class with a short activity

I often start my classes with a short activity that connects with the topic I am going to teach. This activity helps immensely in triggering students’ knowledge about the subject and also prepping them for the topic at hand. I try to make these activities especially fun and engaging so that my students are focused. Playing a song that is closely related to the story/novel we’re discussing in class and asking students to interpret an abstract image have worked wonders for me.

Challenge students’ accepted notions

The great thing about English classes is that they encourage student expression if done right. I try to coax my more rebellious students into contributing more meaningfully by sharing a bit of themselves. One of my most successful argumentative essay assignments was about the validity of hip-hop as poetry. I had the pleasure of reading and grading many passionate papers arguing both for and against this claim, and I got to learn more about hip-hop than I could ever imagine. The most rewarding result was that some of my struggling students participated actively and made sure their arguments were heard.

Give and set clear examples

As teachers, when we clearly let students know that we are open to new ideas in class, we automatically signal to them that they are encouraged, nay, expected to get creative as well. To give them an additional boost, I also set group projects whenever possible in which I give free rein to students to represent their topic/theme in a manner they see fit. The emphasis here is on creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. I also list some of the projects students from previous years have done to give my class clear, illustrative examples of what they can do. I also set ground rules and hand them detailed rubrics well in advance so that they don’t let their creativity get out of hand. One of the most memorable such projects in my class was an amusement park designed in depict Dante’s 9 circles of hell.

These are just some ideas but there are lots more. With the help of the internet and the expertise of other teachers, we can always do more to encourage out-of-the-box thinking from out students and help them relate their lessons more to their everyday life. What methods have worked best for you? Share them in the comments below.

Teachers “Without a Life” Trying to Teach About Life — Addie Williams

A friend and I met up to eat Mexican food the other day, because who doesn’t like stuffing fried tortilla chips topped with cheese dip in their mouth? She also is a teacher. She is on year seven of her teaching career, and I am on year two. She said something to me that has […]

via Teachers “Without a Life” Trying to Teach About Life — Addie Williams

Using a Scaffolded Approach to Help Students with Research Topics

Scaffolding-Topic-Selection-with-Research-Papers(Image sourced from Reading and Writing Haven)

My students have often felt stumped when I asked them to write a paper. They get stuck at the very initial phase of deciding what to write on. I’ve even had some of them spend the largest chunk of their time just trying to pick a topic, which took away from the time they could allocate to their information gathering, idea organization, and the actual drafting of the paper. I decided that I needed a more organized approach to this problem so I could help my students more effectively with their writing. This article by Melissa Kruse has been of great help!

How do you help students choose research topics? I used to approach every class the same way. It only took me one year to figure out that approach didn’t work. Scaffolding the topic selection process is important, but not all students need the same scaffolding. Here are some things to consider when beginning a research paper. These approaches have become my go-to’s over the years.

Via How to Help Teens Choose Research Topics: A Scaffolded Approach

How Urban Dictionary and Slang have impacted Modern English?

Change is the only constant in the world.

Over the period of time, the English language has undergone so many changes and it will continue to change in the future. The English language of Shakespearean era transformed into a simpler form in 20th century. You don’t hear words like thy, thou, thee etc. anymore. Continue reading “How Urban Dictionary and Slang have impacted Modern English?”

How to create a positive classroom atmosphere

What do you do when a class gets off on the wrong foot? Or a vein of negativity, underlying snickering or contentious comments characterize your take-away after a session with a group of students? I just ran a 3-day event with a classroom packed with 34 kids, ages 9-14. There are plenty of challenges to […]

via How Do You Change a Negative Classroom Atmosphere or Create a Positive One in the First Place? — Renee Lannan’s blog

10 things teachers didn’t face 10 years ago

A California high school teacher named Jeremy S. Adams listed 10 things that teachers face now that they didn’t have to face 10 years ago: #1: The Inability to Punish Students: This is a story in modern education that is big and is about to get much bigger. A hodge-podge of policies and euphemisms—restorative justice, […]

via 10 things teachers didn’t face 10 years ago — Phil Ebersole’s Blog