Category: Writing

Transferring Great Ideas to Writing – Part 1

“My students have great thoughts and ideas in discussions but then they don’t successfully transfer that to their writing. It just ends up being a summary.”

I recently overheard this lament from a teacher, and it was immediately echoed and affirmed by his colleagues in the room. They had observed the same thing from their students.

I immediately had a couple thoughts and a question. I’ll share my thoughts today and save my question for next week:

My thoughts:

First, how GREAT that students’ […]

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Writing the Wave — Surfing and Literacy

It turns out that teaching reading and writing and teaching surfing aren’t so different.

A few months ago when I took my first surfing lesson, I couldn’t help but notice some of the parallels to the teaching as apprenticeship approach we advocate at Inquiry By Design.

The first thing that struck me about my instructor, Juan, was how immersed he was in the surfing world. This wasn’t just a job. Juan lived and breathed surfing. In fact, he had already […]

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Student Work Studies: What Educators are Saying

During my many years as a classroom teacher I taught in primary through secondary grades and in public, private, and charter schools, and regardless of the type of school or grade level I was teaching a common pattern reoccurred. At the beginning of each school year I would attend a half day, or if lucky, one whole day of training in whatever new initiative, strategy or trend was “hot” in education, and then I would be handed a stack of […]

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The Main Idea About Finding the Main Idea

Yes, but how do you really separate “main idea” from “theme” or “author’s message” or even “moral”? We use so many different terms, and we don’t all mean the same things when we say them.


This comment came from a fourth grade teacher, after she and 40 of her colleagues had spent the morning working through a cycle of close reading tasks with a short, grade four, nonfiction text, in an effort to weed out the main idea.

We had completed multiple […]

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Writing and Working Out

I started doing both at the same time. I was working with a colleague and friend from a nearby university on an article submission. I hadn’t written much (at least of any length) since the completion of my dissertation. I was worn out. Tired. Done.

Then, an opportunity to collaborate with a friend came along and I couldn’t pass it up—either professionally or personally. It was time to write. The topic was based on my dissertation, making it distinctively difficult to […]

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